Simplified Blackjack 101

Blackjack is also called twenty-one. The object of the game is to beat the dealer. For single and double deck games, the dealer holds and deals the cards manually, while in multi-deck games the cards are dealt out of a tray that is called a shoe. Blackjack is played on a semi-circle table and a separate circle or square is assigned to each player. Players for a particular game of blackjack must buy chips from the dealer before sitting down.

In playing blackjack, assuming it is a multi-deck game and the cards are being dealt from a shoe, each player is dealt with two cards face up. The dealer gets one card face up and one card face down (hole). The dealer will ask each player to make their decision after the cards are dealt. The player to the left of the dealer acts first, also called first base. The position of the last person to act is called third base.

Hand signals are used to make the player’s decisions known. If a player wants to draw another card, it is called a hit. The signal for a hit is to tap the table or make a beckoning motion. Once the player is satisfied with either his first two cards or after hitting, he can signal the dealer by waving his hand over the top of his cards. This is called standing.

In order to get a blackjack, the player or the dealer should have dealt an ace and a ten card; this is equivalent to twenty one. If the player gets the blackjack he will be paid 3 to 2 for his bet provided that the dealer does not have one at the same time. If both the dealer and player get a blackjack, it is a push. If only the dealer has a blackjack, all the players lose.

Doubling down allows the player to double his bet after receiving his first two cards. To signal, the player puts additional bet next to his original bet. Splitting is separating a dealt pair, and the player must make additional bet equal to his starting bet. Splitting is done by placing the second bet next to the first bet in the betting circle. The player can play each hand one at a time and the dealer will give a second card to go with the first split card. The option is to hit or stand. The next split card is played in the same process.

The dealer will offer insurance when his up card is an ace. Insurance is a side bet to wage half of a player’s original bet. In some casinos, players are allowed to surrender his hand and give up half of his bet on his first two cards after the dealer checks for a blackjack. Surrender is to the player’s advantage that is why only some casinos offer it.