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Blackjack Rules

This page should get you started right, and let you check up on any blackjack rules you not be aware of. If you can't find what you're looking for, just email us and we will provide an answer.

Generally stated, each blackjack player competes only against the dealer (i.e. the bank/casino), not against other players. Your goal as the player is to draw cards until your hand adds up to 21, or comes as close as possible without exceeding 21. Actually your goal is to beat the dealer, and your best hope of doing so is to get as close to 21 as you can without going over. If your first two cards total 21, you have blackjack. If the dealer gets closer to 21 than you without going over themselves, they win. The dealer follows a strict set of blackjack rules written just for them, and knowing what the dealer must do at the table is as important as knowing what you yourself can do.

Before any cards are dealt, the player must wager. You may do so by placing a bet in the designated space in front of your table position. The dealer then deals two cards to each of the players at the table, and two to himself (one of the dealer's cards is dealt face up and one is dealt facing down). Face cards (kings, queens and jacks) count as 10, an ace counts as one or 11 (as the player chooses, whichever is more advantageous) and all other cards are counted at their face value.

After all the bets are placed on the table, the dealer puts two cards in front of each player, one at a time, from left to right. In some casinos, players get both cards face down. If this is the case, be sure to only handle your cards with one hand! In Atlantic City and most everywhere else, blackjack rules usually state the player's cards are dealt face up. If the cards are dealt face up, don't touch them! Check out our blackjack table guide for tips to not look foolish. The dealer receives one card face down and one card face up.

Since a casino can be very noisy, hand signals are usually the preferred method of signaling hit, stand, etc. There are no hard and steadfast rules to hand signals, but there are norms. If the cards are dealt face down and you want a hit, lightly and gently (as to not hurt the cards) draw the corner of the cards across the felt two times. If the cards were dealt face up, point at them while saying hit, or scratch the table with your finger. You may also want to nod your head in approval at the same time.

If the dealer's hand totals 16 or less, they have to take a card. If the dealer's hand is 17 or more, they have to stand. Sometimes a casino lets the dealer hit on a soft seventeen, adding to the casino edge.

Should a player get a Natural Blackjack (first 2 cards are an Ace and a ten) standard blackjack rules pay back at 3 to 2, or 1.5 to 1. This means if you bet $25.00 the payoff on a natural is $37.50.

Doubling down is your option to double your bet after recieving your first two cards. Some casinos only allow doubling on a total of 9, 10, or 11 although some casinos allow doubling down on any 2-card hand. If your first two cards provide you with the appropriate total and your cards were dealt face down, turn them over and put place the same amount as your original bet down beside your other chips.

For face up play just place an equal amount of chips next to your original bet and say double. The dealer will give you one more card only, and will move on to the next hand.

If you have a pair that you want to split them, tell the dealer and they will place your two cards a few inches apart. The original bet will go with one card and you will have to place an equal amount of chips down beside the new hand. You are now playing two hands, each as though they were independent, normal blackjack hands following standard rules. If you were splitting aces however, you only get one more card on each hand after the split. If you manage to split aces and draw a ten, it is not considered a natural Blackjack, so you don't get paid 3 to 2.



 
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