The Basics of Blackjack

The Basics of Blackjack

First starting out in France in the 1700’s, blackjack has come along way and is, perhaps, the most popular game of chance. With the advancement of technology, however, blackjack is not only popular in casinos, but online blackjack is one of the most popular forms of online entertainment. The individual that does not play blackjack is often the individual who simply does not know how to play. The fact is blackjack is one of the simplest games to play.

The goal of blackjack is to get the total points of 21 in the hand of cards you are dealt. The most important blackjack rule is to not go over 21 points. If this happens, you bust, or in other words, lose the hand. You must also remember that in this game, unlike many other games, your opponent is not the other players sitting at the table. Your opponent is the dealer and only the dealer.

Play begins with all of the players receiving two cards, both face down. The dealer, of course, deals in clockwise. The dealer then will receive two cards; however, one of the dealers will be dealt face-up. This is called the up card. This blackjack rule will vary according to the amount of decks being used, as well as vary from casino to casino. All of the face cards (Kings, Queens, and Jacks) are worth 10 points, the Ace is worth 1 or 11 points (whichever works best for the player), and all of the remaining cards are worth their face value in points.

In this original hand, if a player receives the first two cards and they are an Ace and either a 10 or a face card, the player automatically wins and the payout is 3 -2. This is called a natural or blackjack. If the dealer has the same hand as the player, however, there is a standoff. If only the dealer gets blackjack, he or she wins all of the player’s bets as is.

The following are some blackjack terms you should know when playing the game. Again, it is important to remember that a blackjack rules can vary from casino to casino.

Choosing To Hit or Stand

If you want to get a higher total, you will want to take another card from the dealer. The correct terminology is to hit or draw another card. For example, if you were to receive an original hand of a 4 and a 5, you would have a total of 9. You would want to “hit” the hand and even if you received a face card, you would not go over 21, otherwise called bust.

If on the other hand, both cards you receive are face cards, totally 20, you’ll want to “stand” or in other words, not take anymore cards and stick to your original hand. If you take a hit and you bust, your bet is lost.

The dealer, when choosing to hit or stand, has to draw when his cards total is less than 16. The dealer has to stand when he has 17, or more. However, this blackjack rule varies, as in some casinos, the dealer has to draw on a soft 17.

Splitting Pairs

When a players first two cards are a pair, the player has the choice to split them up and have two separate hands. The player will bet the same on each hand and play each separately. If the player has a pair of Aces, after they split the hand, if they get a 10 or face card, it only counts as 21 points, not as blackjack.

Double Down

With double down, a player has the choice to double his bet on the original hand and take only one more card to improve the original hand.


When the dealer’s up car dealt is an Ace, the player has the option to take insurance. This is a bet that is only half of the original bet the player placed. If the dealer gets a blackjack (by having a face card or 10 facing down), the player would win the game with a 2-1 payout. If it is not blackjack, the dealer wins.


While this blackjack rule is not permitted everywhere, the player, when the original hand is dealt, may choose to give up the hand and instead of losing the whole bet, the player would only lose the half of it.

Hard Hand

A hard hand is considered a hand without an Ace in it. For example, if you have a hand of a 10 and a 9, your hand is considered to be a hard 19.

Soft Hand

A soft hand, on the other hand, is a hand with an Ace. If you have a hand with an Ace and a 9, it is considered to be a soft hand. If you were to draw a 10 in your next card, you still would not go bust. However, your hand would then be considered a hard 20.

When you visit a casino, you’ll often find there are many blackjack tables to join. The game of blackjack, due to its popularity, is often the most sought after game, so you’ll find more tables of blackjack then any other game in the casino. To help you choose a table to join, you’ll often find a sign that states the minimum bet at the table, as well as any variations of a blackjack rule.

Blackjack Online

When playing blackjack online, the major difference is that you are playing against a virtual dealer. The rules are generally the same as casino blackjack and the cards are dealt using a Random Number Generator to make sure the hands are dealt at random.