Blackjack Unpacked


Know the game like an Ace.


Know the game like an Ace.


Create a hand with a higher total than the dealer’s without going over 21.


  • The game begins when each player places their chips in the box on the table in front of them.
  • Every player is dealt two cards, while the dealer is dealt one exposed card and one face-down “hole” card. If a player has Blackjack, he or she is immediately paid out at either 3 to 2 or 6 to 5, unless the dealer also has Blackjack.
  • You can decide to stand, hit, double down or split. In some games you have the option to surrender.
  • The dealer will expose his or her hole card.
  • The dealer hits to 17. Some variations allow the dealer to hit a “soft 17” (a 17 in which one of the cards is an Ace valued at 11).
  • Once the dealer stands or busts, players with hands better than the dealer’s win and are paid out at 1 to 1.


Blackjack: a two-card hand containing an Ace and a 10-value card, totaling 21.
Bust/Break: a hand totaling over 21, automatically resulting in a loss.
Soft hand: a hand with an Ace that can be valued at either 1 or 11. With a soft hand, you cannot break or bust if you hit or take a card.
Hit or Draw: to be dealt another card.
Stand: to not be dealt another card.
Double Down: to double your original bet and commit to standing after taking only one more card.
Split: If you’re dealt two cards of the same value, you can split your original hand into two separate hands. This requires an additional, equal bet. No blackjack payouts occur in hands that have been split.
Surrender: If you don’t like your first two cards, you can surrender. The dealer takes half of your original bet and your hand is discarded. You can’t surrender when the dealer has Blackjack.
Insurance: If the dealer’s exposed card is an Ace and a player has Blackjack, they will be offered the opportunity to take “Even Money” which will be paid 1-1. Player hands which are not Blackjack can take Insurance, which is a side bet and is up to half their original wager. When the dealer checks the hole card, if it is a 10 value then insurance is paid 2-1 and the original wager loses. If it is any other value, Insurance loses, and the hand is played as usual.


  • You can spend hours at a blackjack table. But setting a time limit can keep you fresh and give other patrons a chance to join the fun.
  • Never touch the chips once the cards are in play.
  • Use hand signals to let the dealer know what you want to do:
    • Tap on the table to signal a hit or draw.
    • Wave your hands over your cards to signal a stand.
    • Add a separate bet to the original wager to signal a double down.
    • Splits should be communicated verbally to the dealer.
Illustration of 2 cards


Contrary to popular belief, the goal of the game is not to get as close to 21 as possible, but rather to beat the dealer.

You compete against the dealer, not other players.

You win if the value of your hand is higher than the dealer’s without going over 21.

You win if a dealer busts (goes over 21).

A table limit is the minimum and maximum bet you can make.

Table limits are posted on all games. Pay attention to the limits when setting a budget.

A winning wager is paid 1 to 1.

Blackjacks are paid at 3 to 2 or 6 to 5. The odds will be listed on the table.

Even making the statistically correct play does not ensure a winning outcome. You still can’t control which cards are dealt on any given hand.

Disclaimer: This game guide is meant as an introduction. The official regulations for Massachusetts electronic gaming devices can be found at


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