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Blackjack

Variations of this popular game can be found all over the world.

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)

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

The best strategy is to set a budget before you play.

  • 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.

Blackjack: A winning hand containing an Ace and a 10-value card, totaling 21

Bust/Break: A hand that totals over 21, resulting in an automatic loss

Hit: The decision to be dealt another card

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, the player wins the insurance bet

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.