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Blackjack

The goal of blackjack is to create a hand with a higher total than the dealer’s, without going over 21.

Goal

Don’t play a myth. Play the dealer.

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

Rules

Play for fun, not to make money.

  • The game begins when each player places their bets 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
  • You can decide to stand, hit, double down or split. In some games you have the option to surrender
  • Aces are either 1 or 11. Jacks, Queens and Kings are worth 10
  • 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.

Etiquette

You can spend hours at a blackjack table. But setting a time limit can keep you fresh.

  • Never touch the chips once the cards are in play
  • Use hand signals to let the dealer know what you want to do

Odds

An element of skill comes into play in blackjack, but making the statistically correct play does not ensure a winning outcome. You still can’t control which cards are dealt on any given hand.

  • 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

Terminology

Know the game. Play on your terms.

Hit or Draw: The decision to be dealt another card. Signal this by tapping on the table.
Stand: The decision to not be dealt another card. Signal this by waving your hand over your cards.
Double Down: To double your original bet and commit to standing after taking only one more card.
Signal this by adding a separate bet to the original wager.
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. Signal this by making a ‘V’ sign with your index and middle fingers.
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 first card is an Ace, you have the option to buy insurance. This is a side bet, up to half of the original bet, that pays 2 to 1. If the dealer’s hole card is revealed to be a 10-value,you win the insurance bet.