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Love Blackjack

I have a profound love for the game of Black Jack. It’s been my intention to develop a resource to teach others all about the game of 21. Following is a little tutorial that is targeted to absolute beginners. It only covers the very basic rules of blackjack. For advanced blackjack tips and guides visit our many articles in the categories you see to the right.

Blackjack is played with one or more decks of blackjack cards. A deck consists of number cards 2 to 10, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace. The value of a King, Queen, or Jack (face cards) is 10. The Ace’s value is either 1 or 11 (whatever fits better). The value of a number card is the number shown (value of 2 is 2).

The goal in Blackjack is to beat the dealer (the bank). The player is initially given 2 cards. He then has the choice to draw additional cards, one at a time, as long as the added value of all cards do not exceed 21. If the value of all cards in the player’s hand exceeds 21 the player loses the hand, or in blackjack terms the player busts.

The player’s cards are shown openly on the table. The dealer only shows his first card to the player(s).

When the player stops drawing additional cards, it’s the dealers turn. The dealer also tries to get as close to 21 as possible without going over. However, the dealer always bases his decision on whether to draw or stand (not take anymore cards) on given guidelines. For example a common guideline is that the dealer always draws when his cards value 16 or less, but always stands on 17 or higher. The guidelines are also a basic recommendation for players in most cases, but for more information, please visit our advanced guides.

When the player busts, in most blackjack variants the dealer already wins and doesn’t have to draw anymore. When the player does not bust, the dealer gets to go as just described, and of course there is also the chance that the dealer will go over 21. In this case the player wins.

When both the player and the dealer stay below 21, cards are compared. Whoever gets closer to the 21 mark wins the hand. On equal hands the game is a tie and bets are returned.

This tutorial is targeted to absolute beginners. It only covers the very basic rules of blackjack. For advanced blackjack tips and guides visit one of our other categories.

Blackjack is played with one or more decks of blackjack cards. A deck consists of number cards 2 to 10, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace. The value of a King, Queen, or Jack (face cards) is 10. The Ace’s value is either 1 or 11 (whatever fits better). The value of a number card is the number shown (value of 2 is 2).

The goal in Blackjack is to beat the dealer (the bank). The player is initially given 2 cards. He then has the choice to draw additional cards, one at a time, as long as the added value of all cards do not exceed 21. If the value of all cards in the player’s hand exceeds 21 the player loses the hand, or in blackjack terms the player busts.

The player’s cards are shown openly on the table. The dealer only shows his first card to the player(s).

When the player stops drawing additional cards, it’s the dealers turn. The dealer also tries to get as close to 21 as possible without going over. However, the dealer always bases his decision on whether to draw or stand (not take anymore cards) on given guidelines. For example a common guideline is that the dealer always draws when his cards value 16 or less, but always stands on 17 or higher. The guidelines are also a basic recommendation for players in most cases, but for more information, please visit our advanced guides.

When the player busts, in most blackjack variants the dealer already wins and doesn’t have to draw anymore. When the player does not bust, the dealer gets to go as just described, and of course there is also the chance that the dealer will go over 21. In this case the player wins.

When both the player and the dealer stay below 21, cards are compared. Whoever gets closer to the 21 mark wins the hand. On equal hands the game is a tie and bets are returned.

The Ace

As mentioned before the Ace has a special value and can count for a 1 or an 11. Let me explain this in an example. You are initially dealt a 6 and an Ace. This would give you a hand of either 7 or 17. It’s your choice. Even if it may not be the wisest move in this case, you could safely draw an additional card. If the card you draw is 4 or lower, you keep counting the Ace with a value of 11. You are pretty close to 21. If you however draw 5 or higher you would exceed 21, so you just start counting the Ace for a 1.

Blackjack

A player has a Blackjack if he is dealt 21, which is an Ace in combination with a face card or a 10. Blackjack beats the card value 21 consisting of more than 2 cards. It is the highest possible hand and cannot be beaten (it can only be tied by another blackjack). A blackjack beats three 7’s.

Bets

Blackjack is a casino game and is usually played for money. The payout is 1:1, meaning a $5 bet wins $5 (you get $10 back). Most casinos pay 3:2 for a blackjack, so you would win $7.50 on a $5 bet ($12.50 back).

Double Down

Depending on the blackjack version you are playing, you are usually offered to double down after your initial 2 cards have been dealt to you. Doubling Down means that you double your bet, and only given 1 additional card. The most common hand players are doubling down on is a hand of 11 (because no risk to go over, likely to get a 10).

Insurance

It was mentioned before that the dealer shows his first card. If this card is an Ace you could assume that his 2nd card is likely to be a 10 or face card, so the dealer would have a blackjack. In this case insurance might be offered to the player. If insurance is taken the players pays an additional 50% of his bet. If the dealer indeed has a blackjack, the player gets his money back (no win, no lose). In the case that the dealer has no blackjack, the 50% insurance money is lost and the game proceeds as usual. The player can lose insurance, but still win the hand.

Split

When you are dealt 2 cards of the same value (e.g. two 3’s) you can spit them into two separate hands. Each card (each 3) will be dealt another card to start with and you are kind of playing 2 separate games at the same time. When you decide to split, it also means you are adding another bet to the game for the second hand.

I believe this should cover the basics and you should be able to play a few hands by now. I strongly recommend you to play some, as playing is often the fastest and most enjoyable way of learning. A great way to start is our free Online Blackjack Game. If you feel that after reading this tutorial and playing a little, you are still unsure of the rules, please don’t hesitate to email us with your questions.

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