All about Blackjack

Everyone understands the basic rule of Blackjack , 21, pontoon etc ..namely that you “bust” with a card value of 21. It’s one of the first card games you come across as a kid (after snap of course), but as a Casino game it’s simple but interesting to play, but to play well requires both instinct and honed skills .

You play against the dealer with the idea being you get a higher value hand (win) or equal value hand (“push”), you lose if the dealers hand is higher in value than yours as long as he doesn’t bust. Many beginners make the basic mistake of trying to get as close to 21 as possible without thinking about the dealers hand, if you play like that your win percentage will go through the floor!

Cards are valued as follows; 
An Ace can be 1 or 11 and its value becomes whatever is best for your hand. Jack, Queen and King have a value of ten, and all other cards have their face value. There is no relevance given to suits.

The dealer deals two cards each, yours both face up, his one up and one down (the “hole card” is the card faced down). Depending on your cards you a call “hit” for another card(s) until your ready to “stand” which is stay with the card value you’ve got, the dealer will then normally stand at 17 or over. The dealer can make no decisions over his hand , he hits till 17 or busts.

If your first two cards total 21 then you’ve got a “natural” or a Blackjack i.e an Ace and a 10 value card. The dealer can only draw “push” with same first two cards.

As well as “hit and “stand” you can “surrender” but only before doing anything else which means you “fold” losing half your original stake. In most games you can only do this after the dealer has checked his cards for a BlackJack. You can’t surrender after any other action with your hand.

You can “double down” with your initial two card hand which means you double your bet and receive only one new card. This is done when you feel that you can beat the dealers hand with just one card.

If you get two cards of the same value you can “split” the cards and have two hands. If you have two 8’s you are unlikely to win, your better off splitting and playing both hands.

One last option you have if the dealer shows an Ace with his up card is to take his offer of “insurance” a side bet on whether his hole card is a ten, for half your original stake. It means that although you lose your initial stake if he has a blackjack you will break even. If he hasn’t got a blackjack you lose your insurance stake and possibly your original bet. If you check the odds out it ain’t that good a move.

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