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Blackjack Rules

Basic Blackjack Rules.
The online black jack game is played with 1 to 8 shuffled decks of standard playing cards. Each card has a value, kings, queens and jacks, (face cards) are counted as ten, aces can be valued as one or eleven, every other card, (2-10), is taken at face value.

Overview of game play.
All players must make their bets before commencement of dealing. The dealer then starts with the player to their left and deals each player one card, face up, finishing with themselves.

Everyone is then dealt a second card face-up. Dealers then either deal themselves another card face down, (or, especially in European casinos, they wait until all players have completed their play and then give themselves another face up card and play their hand.)

The dealer now starts with the player to their left.  A player’s turn involves taking more cards, if required, until they are happy with their total or they bust, (get more than 21). Once every player has finished the dealers play their hand adhering to the rules as displayed on the table. Basically this means that that keep taking cards until their hand totals 17 or more.a-typical-blackjack-table

The online table.
Most online blackjack tables are similar in layout to the one pictured. You click on the chips to place your bet or drag them off to reduce your bet. The split, double, stand, hit and deal buttons will be lit when the option is available.

Warning: some tables change the deal button into the hit button once the deal is made so be careful when you make your selection.

If the dealer’s visible card is an ace insurance will be offered where available.

The total of your cards and the dealer’s will be shown as the cards are dealt, and win, lose or push are shown at the end of the hand. To play the next hand make sure your bet amount is correct then press deal again and continue.

Soft and hard hands.
As mentioned previously, an Ace may be counted as 1 or 11. A hand where the ace may be counted as 1 or 11 is know as a soft hand. For example ace/7 may be valued at 8 or 18. A hand where the ace may only be counted as 1 without busting is a hard hand. An example is 7/5/ace, value 13 or 23 and bust.

Object of the blackjack game.
The object of the game is to get a card point total closer to 21 than the dealer, without busting. Two points worth emphasing here: you must beat the dealer, it doesn’t matter how small the total of your cards as long as you beat them. Although you may be playing in a multi player game each player only has to beat the dealer’s total and their fortunes have nothing to do with you winning or losing.

The player’s choices.
When the players turn arrives they can choose between standing, hitting, splitting or doubling down or surrender.

  • Standing – If a player is happy with their total they take no more cards and wait for the dealer’s turn to play their hand.
  • Hitting – The player wants another card to be dealt to try and improve their total.
  • Doubling Down – The player doubles their bet and takes one more card. An example of when this action may be beneficial is if the player has a hand totalling 9, 10 or 11 and the dealer has a poor card, 2-6. The reasoning being that they have a good chance that they recieve a ten value card.
  • Splitting – If the player has two cards of the same value they may Split the cards and play them as two separate hands, this requires making an extra equal bet on the second hand. If they decide to hit they may also be allowed to double down if advatageous.
  • Surrender – Not offered in all casinos, surrender allows you to give up your hand and lose half your stake. There are two types of surrender the first and least common is allowing surrender before the dealer has checked for blackjack, this is the most advantageous to the player. The second option allows surrender after the dealer’s checked for black  jack.
  • Insurance – There is also this further option, offered by most casinos, insurance allows you to place a bet, equal to your original stake, which pays out 2 to 1 if the dealer has blackjack. You still play your hand and win or lose your original stake, but the best you can do is come out even. This is generally considered to be a separate bet and is not used in the basic strategy.

The decision that the player makes is determined by the value of the player’s hand and the dealer’s face up card. Full details in the Blackjack Basic Strategy section.

Betting
Each player must make their bet before the first card is dealt.
If the player beats the dealer they win 1 to 1 and if they have Blackjack they win 3 to 2. If the player’s hand equals the dealer’s then their stake is returned, this is called a “push”. If the player splits or doubles down they must bet an equal stake to the first bet.

The dealer’s hand
Once all of the players are finished the dealer will play their hand. The main difference between how dealers and players play their hands is that dealers can not make any decisions for themselves, they are governed by the rules of the table. These rules usually state that if they have 16 or less they must take another card and if they have 17 or greater they must stand. Some online casinos make the dealer hit a soft 17 (ace/6).

One advantage to the player is that the dealer cannot split a pair or double down on a 10 or 11, and only gets paid 1 to 1 for a black jack. If the dealer busts then all players that have not bust themselves win.

Once the dealer has reached 17 or above they will pay winning bets and collect bets from losers, or in the case of a tie there is a push where the dealer simply returns the player’s stake. The next hand is then dealt.