Blackjack Rules

You need not specify which value the Ace has. A player may hit as many times as they like providing their hand total does not go over There are several variations on team play designed to be employed in different situations and to different effects. Most of these games have not been adapted for casino play. As mentioned in the previous section discussion on pair splitting, there are several common restrictions on splitting Aces. Blackjack , also known as twenty-one , is a comparing card game between usually several players and a dealer, where each player in turn competes against the dealer, but players do not play against each other. If you are a poker player, this can take some effort to break old habits!

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The objective is to get a hand total of closer to 21 than the dealer without going over 21 busting. At the start of a Blackjack game, the players and the dealer receive two cards each.

The players' cards are normally dealt face up, while the dealer has one face down called the hole card and one face up. The best possible Blackjack hand is an opening deal of an ace with any ten-point card. The house advantage of this game is derived from several rules that favour the dealer.

The most significant of these is that the player must act before the dealer, allowing the player to bust and lose their bet before the dealer plays. Players should be aware that there is another card game called Black Jack in the UK which is an entirely different card game, effectively the same as Crazy Eights.

Gambling can be dangerously addictive. You can find information and advice on our Responsible Gambling page. It gives advice to UK players on the differences between the many different versions of Blackjack and where each of them can be played.

Blackjack is played with a standard international deck of cards with the Jokers removed, leaving 52 cards. Originally the game was played with a single deck. However, as a counter measure to card counting , casinos introduced multi-deck games, based on the false assumption that if there were more cards in play it would be harder for the card counter to keep track of them all.

As a result, Blackjack is now usually offered in either single deck, double deck, 4 deck, 6 deck or 8 deck variants. It should be noted that there are exceptions in online casinos where far larger numbers of decks can be used than would be practical to manage offline. After the dealer has shuffled a player will be selected at random and asked to take the cut card — a coloured plastic card matching the playing cards in size — and place it at a random position within stack of cards.

The dealer will then move the cards above the cut card to the back of the stack. This technique is intended to demonstrate to the players that the dealer cannot have rigged the deck. The cut card is then reinserted into the stack of cards by the dealer at a pre-defined position and when this card is reached this indicates the final deal of the game before the cards are shuffled. Where multiple decks are used, after the shuffle the cards will be placed into a dispenser called a shoe.

This piece of equipment has two purposes: In fact hole carding is not illegal in the vast majority of jurisdictions. If the dealer is poorly trained or sloppy enough to fail to protect their down card from being seen by a player at the table this is not the player's fault and the player is not obliged to look away to prevent themselves seeing the down card.

If however the player uses any form of device, for instance a metal lighter to observe the reflection in, or an accomplice off table signals the information to them, this is cheating. Hole carding is only legal where the player can see the card naturally from one of the player positions at the table. When playing Blackjack the numeral cards 2 to 10 have their face values, Jacks, Queens and Kings are valued at 10, and Aces can have a value of either 1 or The Ace is always valued at 11 unless that would result in the hand going over 21, in which case it is valued as 1.

A starting hand of a 10 valued card and an Ace is called a Blackjack or natural and beats all hands other than another Blackjack. If both the player and dealer have Blackjack, the result is a push tie: Each player sitting at the table places their desired bet in the betting circle directly in front of them. In most casinos if there are untaken betting circles, the players sitting at the table can choose to play more than one hand at a time.

The minimum and maximum bet size varies from casino to casino, generally with a ratio of 40 to between them. Once the bets are placed the dealer will move their hand across the table from their left to their right signalling that no further bets can be placed. The dealer then deals cards one at a time clockwise around the table, from the dealer's left to the dealer's right: In many places the dealer's first card is initially dealt face down. The dealer's second card is used to flip the first card face up and then slid underneath the first card.

The exact dealing protocol varies from place to place as determined by the casino management. If the dealer has a 10 or an Ace face up players are offered the option to place an Insurance bet.

If a player chooses to take insurance they place an additional bet equal to half of their original bet. This insurance bet wins if the dealer has Blackjack. The dealer now checks their down card to see if they have Blackjack.

If they have Blackjack they expose their down card. The round is concluded and all players lose their original bet unless they also have Blackjack. If a player and the dealer each have Blackjack the result is a push and the player's bet is returned. Any insurance bets are paid out at 2: If the dealer does not have Blackjack any insurance bets are lost and any players who have Blackjack are paid. It is then the turn of the remaining players to take their actions.

Starting with the player sitting furthest to dealer's left they have the following options:. The player can take this action after any of the other player actions as long as their hand total is not more than The hand signal to Stand is waving a flat hand over the cards.

Hit — If the player wishes to take another card they signal to the dealer to by scratching the felt beside their hand or pointing to their hand.

A single card is then played face up onto their hand. If the hand total is less than 21 the player can choose to Hit again or Stand. If the total is 21 the hand automatically stands. Double Down — If the player considers they have a favourable hand, generally a total of 9, 10 or 11, they can choose to 'Double Down'.

To do this they place a second wager equal to their first beside their first wager. A player who doubles down receives exactly one more card face up and is then forced to stand regardless of the total. This option is only available on the player's two-card starting hand. Some casinos will restrict which starting hand totals can be doubled. Where the player chooses to do this the cards are separated and an additional card is dealt to complete each hand. If either hand receives a second card of matching rank the player may be offered the option to split again, though this depends on the rules in the casino.

Generally the player is allowed a maximum of 4 hands after which no further splits are allowed. The split hands are played one at a time in the order in which they were dealt, from the dealer's left to the delaer's right.

The player has all the usual options: A player who splits Aces is usually only allowed to receive a single additional card on each hand. Normally players are allowed to split two non-matching value cards, for example a King and a Jack. If Aces are split and the player draws a Ten or if Tens are split and the player draws an Ace, the resulting hand does not count as a Blackjack but only as an ordinary In this case the player's two-card 21 will push tie with dealer's 21 in three or more cards.

Surrender — Most casinos allow a player to surrender, taking back half their bet and giving up their hand. Surrender must be the player's first and only action on the hand. In the most usual version, known as Late Surrender, it is after the dealer has checked the hole card and does not have a Blackjack. After all players have completed their actions the dealer plays their hand according to fixed rules.

First they will reveal their down card. The dealer will then continue to take cards until they have a total of 17 or higher. This rule will be clearly printed on the felt of the table. If the dealer busts all non-busted player hands are automatically winners. If a player wins a hand they are paid out at 1: If the player has Blackjack they are paid at 3: This effectively results in a push overall for the hand.

In some casinos the players' initial two-card hands are dealt face down. All additional cards dealy to the player are given face up.

The initial cards are revealed by the player if the hand goes bust, or if the player wishes to split a pair. Otherwise the dealer reveals the cards at the end of the round when it is time to settle the bets.

This style of game is rare nowadays: Dealer's second card is dealt after all players have acted, and the dealer checks for Blackjack at this point. Player Blackjacks are paid at the end of the round if the dealer does not have Blackjack. If the dealer has Blackjack the rules regarding Doubled and Split hands vary from casino to casino.

Some casinos will take both bets while others will only take the initial bet and return the other. It should be noted that some casinos have started to offer a reduced payout on Blackjack, most commonly 6: This is very bad for the player, increasing the House Edge significantly.

Any game offering a reduced payout on Blackjack should be avoided by players. The maximum number of hands that can be created by splitting depends on the rules in the casino: When splitting 10 value cards, not all casinos will allow players to split non-matching 10 cards.

A soft hand is any hand where an Ace can be counted as either 1 or 11 without going over The name reflects the fact that the hand can't break if you draw another card.

We no longer have the option to count the Ace as 11, because that would go over This hand is now a hard 17, despite having an Ace in it. Once all the bets are placed, the dealer will deal the cards to the players. He will make two passes around the table starting at his left your right so that the players and the dealer all have two cards each.

The dealer will flip one of his cards over, exposing its value as the "dealer upcard". In games dealt from a shoe, the players' cards will be face-up, and players are not allowed to touch the cards.

If you are just beginning, this is the best kind of game, because you don't have to worry about handling the cards. Hand-held games are slightly different. In these games, the players' cards are dealt face down, and players pick up the cards. When handling the cards in a hand-held game, here are a few important things to remember. Once the initial hands are dealt, play proceeds around the table starting at the first seat to the dealer's left, also called "first base".

Each player in turn indicates to the dealer how he wishes to play the hand. All of those choices are explained in the next part of this series. After all of the players have finished their hands, the dealer will complete his hand, and then pay the winning bets and collect the losing bets. The dealer will first flip over the "hole card" to reveal his two-card starting hand. The dealer is then required to play his hand in a very specific way, with no choices allowed.

He must draw cards until he has a total of 17 or more. The dealer has no choice in how to play the hand. He must continue taking cards until his total is at least A slight variation of this rule is discussed below. After flipping over the hole card, the dealer's hand was Ace, 5. That makes a hand value of 16, so he must draw another card.

He drew a 7, making the hand value 13 the Ace can no longer be counted as With a total of 13, he must hit again. He drew a 6, making the hand total Since that is "17 or more", the dealer stops with a final total of If you draw a card that makes your hand total go over 21, your hand is a bust.

That is an automatic loser. The dealer will immediately collect your bet, and discard your hand. Assuming you did not bust, the dealer will play out his hand at the end. If he busts by going over 21, all the remaining players win their bets. If his total is higher than yours, you lose the bet, and he will collect your bet and put the chips in his tray. If your total is higher than his, you win the bet, and he will pay the entire amount you have bet. After he pays you, you'll have your initial bet plus the amount you won in the circle.

So, what happens if you and the dealer tie, with the same exact total? A tie is called a "push", and you do not win or lose your bet. Your chips stay in the betting circle where you can leave them for the next hand if you want, or you can add to or remove from them as you wish before the next hand.

A blackjack, or natural, is a total of 21 in your first two cards. A blackjack is therefore an Ace and any ten-valued card, with the additional requirement that these be your first two cards. If you split a pair of Aces for example, and then draw a ten-valued card on one of the Aces, this is not a blackjack, but rather a total of The distinction is important, because a winning blackjack pays the player at 3 to 2.

A player blackjack beats any dealer total other than blackjack, including a dealer's three or more card If both a player and the dealer have blackjack, the hand is a tie or push.

The dealer will usually pay your winning blackjack bet immediately when it is your turn to play. In the face down games, this means that you should show the blackjack to the dealer at that time. Some casinos may postpone paying the blackjack until after the hand is over if the dealer has a 10 card up and has not checked for a dealer blackjack. Other casinos check under both 10 and Ace dealer upcards, and would therefore pay the blackjack immediately. Regardless, when you are dealt a blackjack, turn the cards face up, and smile.

It only happens about once every 21 hands, but it accounts for a lot of the fun of the game. The most common decision a player must make during the game is whether to draw another card to the hand "hit" , or stop at the current total "stand". You will be required to make hand signals rather than just announcing "hit" or "stand" to the dealer. This is to eliminate any confusion or ambiguity in what you choose, and also for the benefit of the ever-present surveillance cameras.

If you go over 21, or "bust", the dealer will collect your bet and remove your cards from the table immediately. In the face-up shoe game, you indicate that you want another card by tapping the table behind your cards with a finger. When you decide to stand, just wave your hand in a horizontal motion over your cards.

In the face-down game, things are a little different. You will hold the first two cards with one hand. To let the dealer know that you want to draw another card to your hand, scratch the table with the bottom of your cards lightly.

Watch another player at first to see how this works. The dealer will deal your additional cards on the table in front of your bet. Leave those cards on the table, but mentally add them to your total hand value. If you go over 21, just toss the two cards in your hand face up on the table.

The dealer will collect your bet and discard your hand. When you decide to stand, tuck the two cards you are holding face-down under the chips in your betting circle. This can be a bit tricky the first few times. Don't pick up the bet to place the cards underneath. Remember, once the cards are dealt, you can't touch the chips in the circle. Simply slide the corner of the cards under the chips.

Describing these moves makes them sound complicated. Just pay attention to what other players are doing and you will fit right in. Much of the excitement and profit in blackjack comes from hands where you are able to "double down". This option is available only with a two card hand, before another card has been drawn. Doubling down allows you to double your bet and receive one and only one additional card to your hand.

A good example of a doubling opportunity is when you hold a total of 11, like a 6,5 against a dealer's upcard of 5. In this case, you have a good chance of winning the hand by drawing one additional card, so you should increase your bet in this advantageous situation by doubling down. If you are playing in a hand-held game, just toss your original two cards face-up on the table in front of your bet.

In either type of game, add an additional bet to the betting circle. Place the additional bet adjacent to the original bet, not on top of it. The dealer will deal one additional card to the hand. In a shoe game, he will probably deal the card sideways to indicate that this was a double-down.

In a hand-held game, the card will be tucked face-down under your bet to be revealed after the hand is over. Depending on what the dealer makes on his hand, it can be an exciting wait to see that card revealed at the end! You are allowed to double down for any amount up to your original bet amount, so you could actually double down for less if you wanted.

That's a bad move though. Remember that you do give up something for being allowed to increase your bet: If the correct play is to double down, you should always double for the full amount if possible. And just when should you double down, you ask? For that information, just use our Blackjack Basic Strategy Engine.

When you are dealt a pair of cards of the same rank, you are allowed to split the pair into two separate hands and play them independently. Let's say you are dealt a pair of eights for a total of sixteen. Sixteen is the worst possible player hand, since it is unlikely to win as is, but is very likely to bust if you draw to it.

Here's a great chance to improve a bad situation. If you are playing a hand-held game, toss the cards face-up in front of your bet just like a double down. Then, in either type of game, place a matching bet beside the original bet in the circle.

Note that you must bet the same amount on a split, unlike a double-down where you are allowed to double for less. The dealer will separate the two cards, and treat them as two independent hands. He will deal a second card on the first eight, and you will play that two-card hand to completion.

Many casinos will let you double-down on that two-card hand if you want. No matter what happens on your first hand, when you are done with it the dealer will deal a second card to your next hand and the process starts all over. If you get additional pairs in the first two cards of a hand, most casinos will allow you to resplit, making yet another hand. Typically a player is allowed to split up to 3 times, making 4 separate hands, with 4 separate bets.

If double after split is allowed, you could have up to 8 times your initial bet on the table! Note that you are allowed to split any valued cards, so you could split a Jack, Queen hand.

However, this is usually a bad play. You will make more money on the pat 20 than you will trying to make two good hands from it. I wrote a post about just that: Why Splitting Tens is a Bad Move. Another oddity comes when splitting Aces. Splitting Aces is a very strong player move so the casino limits you to drawing only one additional card on each Ace. Also, if you draw a ten-valued card on one of your split Aces, the hand is not considered a Blackjack, but is instead treated as a normal 21, and therefore does not collect a 3: With all these limitations, you may wonder whether it makes sense to split Aces.

The answer is a resounding YES. For accurate advice on what other pairs you should split, consult the Blackjack Basic Strategy Engine. If you want to win at Blackjack, you will eventually need to learn basic strategy from a basic strategy chart or play the interactive strategy trainer. However, there are some quick rules and tips that you can learn as a beginner to decrease the house edge and formulate a strategy.

Remember there are more 10 value cards 10, J, Q, K than any other cards in the deck—so when a 10 will get you close to 21 and you are against a card that is bad for the dealer, you should double. A player 9, 10, or 11 would always be a good double when a dealer is showing a 3, 4, 5, or 6.

This is because the 3, 4, 5, and 6 are starting cards that are more likely to make a dealer bust. The Ace is such a powerful card because pulling a 10 on a split will give you a Even though a 21 gained through a split is still only paid 1: Two fives total 10—which is a hand much better suited for doubling.

Insurance in blackjack is often misunderstood by players, and is a big money-maker for casinos. Naming this side-bet "insurance" was a brilliant marketing ploy, and some otherwise solid players will frequently make this bad bet to "insure" when they have a good hand. But actually, insurance is not always a bad bet. For players who can recognize when the remaining deck is rich in ten-valued cards, this can actually be a profitable side-bet.

Insurance is a proposition bet that is available only when the dealer's upcard is an Ace. When the dealer turns up an Ace, he will offer "Insurance" to the players. Insurance bets can be made by betting up to half your original bet amount in the insurance betting stripe in front of your bet.

The dealer will check to see if he has a value card underneath his Ace, and if he does have Blackjack, your winning Insurance bet will be paid at odds of 2: You will still lose your original bet unless you also have a Blackjack , so the net effect is that you break even assuming you bet the full half bet for insurance.

This is why the bet is described as "insurance", since it seems to protect your original bet against a dealer blackjack. Of course, if the dealer does not have blackjack, you'll lose the insurance bet, and still have to play the original bet out. Insurance is simply a side-bet offering 2: Not surprisingly, the casino has a substantial edge on this bet.

In a single deck game, there are 16 ten-valued cards. Assuming that you don't see any other cards, including your own, the tens compose 16 out of 51 remaining cards after the dealer's Ace was removed.

That creates a 5. It's even worse in six decks with a 7. Card counters can still beat the insurance bet, by only making the bet when they know that more than one-third of the remaining cards are tens. Unless you are card counter and know the deck is skewed sufficiently, just ignore the insurance bet. It doesn't matter whether you have a good hand or a bad hand. If you have a blackjack when the dealer turns up an Ace, he is likely to offer you "even money" instead of the insurance bet.

If you accept, the dealer will pay you the amount of your original bet and discard your hand of blackjack, before he even checks under his Ace to see if he has a blackjack as well. Many players think this sounds like a good deal, guaranteeing a profit even if the dealer has a blackjack. But that guaranteed profit comes at a price. Let me show you how it works:. So, casinos allow you to eliminate the insurance bet altogether, and simply declare that you want "even money" for your blackjack when the dealer has an Ace showing.

The problem is that you are still making a bad bet on insurance, which costs you money. A player who does not count cards should simply never take the insurance bet, even the "even money" variety.

Some games offer the player a chance to fold their hand, and forfeit half of their bet. This surrender option must be done as the very first action the player takes on the hand. In other words, you can't draw a card and then decide to bail out! Even when surrender is available, it is rarely used by players. Often, the rules posted at the table won't mention it even if the casino allows it.

And many players just don't like the idea of surrendering a hand. But for a smart player, it is a useful option, and reduces the house advantage by about 0.

When surrender is available, make sure you know the correct strategy for using it. Most players who use the option surrender too many hands. If your game offers surrender, I recommend reading my complete explanation of blackjack surrender. In the most common variety known as "late" surrender , a player cannot surrender until after the dealer has checked for blackjack. If the dealer has blackjack, you will lose your entire bet with no chance of surrendering for half the cost. Generally, the dealer in blackjack must hit if he has a total of 16 or less, and stand if he has 17 or more.

Seventeen is a weak hand, so if the dealer is allowed to try to improve the soft 17 hands, it makes the game tougher. When a dealer is allowed to hit soft 17, it adds about 0. Almost all other areas used the better rule of standing on all 17s. Over the years, more and more casinos have switched to hitting soft 17, and there are now far more H17 games than S17 games. You can still find some games where the dealer stands on all 17s, even in casinos where some of the tables use the H17 rule.

After splitting a pair, many casinos will allow you to double-down on a two-card hand that arises as a result of the split. For example, if you split a pair of eights, and draw a 3 on the first hand, it is valuable to be able to double-down on the resulting hand of As mentioned in the previous section discussion on pair splitting, there are several common restrictions on splitting Aces.

You will receive only one card on each Ace after splitting. Some casinos will allow you to resplit if you draw another Ace, and some will not. That's true even if the casino allows resplits of all other pairs.

Many casinos in Europe, and some in other parts of the world, handle the dealer's second card differently. In these "European No Hole Card" games, the dealer only deals himself one card at the beginning of the round. After all the players have completed their hands, he deals his own second card and completes the hand. Contrast that with the normal US style of play. There, if the dealer has a ten or Ace card up, he checks the other card immediately to see if he has a blackjack. If he does, the hand is over.

This process of "peeking" under the hole card to check for blackjack means that players can only lose one bet per hand if the dealer has a blackjack. In a No-Hole-Card game, a player might split or double and have multiple bets at risk to a dealer blackjack, because the dealer cannot check ahead of time.

This changes the optimal strategy, and means that players should usually not split or double against a dealer ten or Ace upcard. An exception is splitting Aces against a dealer ten. Note that there are a few no-hole-card games where the rules specifically say that only one bet will be collected from a player if the dealer has a blackjack.

In those games, although there is no hole card, you can play the game as if there were. That means you should play it as a Peek game, even though there's not really a peek! It's all a bit confusing. When the No-Hole-Card rule is in use, and all bets are at risk to a dealer blackjack, it costs the player 0.

Use the "No-Peek" option at our Strategy Engine. Ok this one's an extremely rare variation which I doubt you will see in any casinos today but I thought I'd mention.

Similarly there is a rule variation whereby the player automatically wins when drawing 7 cards without busting which is called a "Seven Card Charlie". The most important item is the sign declaring betting limits. Both the minimum and the maximum allowable bets should be on a sign on the table-top.

Look around to find a table that suits your bet sizes. Make sure that the table you have selected is actually for blackjack, and not another of the many kinds of table games that casinos offer. Look on the table for the phrase " Blackjack pays 3 to 2 ". Avoid any games that say " Blackjack pays 6 to 5 " instead.

See 6 to 5 Blackjack? Beginners should start off playing the shoe games. The advantage in this style is that all of the players' cards are dealt face-up, so the dealer and other players can easily help you with playing questions and decisions. Once you become proficient at the game, you may want to switch to a game with fewer decks since that lowers the casino's advantage. The dealer will exchange the entire amount of cash for the equivalent in chips, and drop the cash into a box on the table.

Take a quick look at the chips to make sure you know the value of each color. If you have any questions, just ask the dealer. Part of his job is to help players learn the game. Once you are ready to place a bet, wait for the current hand to be completed, then push your bet into the betting circle. Your chips should be in one stack. If you are betting multiple denominations of chips, place the larger valued chips on the bottom of the stack, and the smaller value chips on top.

Rules of the Game