object of blackjack is simple; beat the dealer's hand by obtaining cards
that accumulate to 21 or less. Aces can be counted as either 1 or 11, face cards (king,
queen, jack) count as 10 and all other cards are given the value of their
card, for example a seven is counted as 7.
a given hand, if you beat the dealer's hand, you are paid the value of your
bet. If you go over, you automatically lose your bet, no matter what
the dealer does. That my friend is where the house gains its advantage. The
house's advantage is reduced by the fact that they usually pay 3 to 2 (one
and a half times the bet or $3 for every $2 dollars bet) for a blackjack. You
are paid the BJ bonus if your first two cards are an Ace and one of
the ten value cards (ten, jack, queen or king). Ties, called pushes,
are usually not won by either the player or the house.
dealer must draw cards until a total of 17 or higher is reached. A
variation of this rule is that soft 17 can be hit by the dealer in some casinos. Either
way, the dealer's play is fixed beforehand by the house rules, which means
that the dealer cannot decide at the time of play whether to hit or stand
on a soft 17.
receiving his first two cards, the player has the option of doubling
down, which is doubling the bet, but then receiving only one additional
card. The player usually expresses the desire to double down
by placing chips of equal value behind his original bet.
the player's first two cards are of equal value (e.g. 8,8 or K,K),
the player has the option of splitting, which consist of placing
a bet of equal value to the original bet and playing the cards as
separate hands. The player can then draw additional cards in
order to beat the dealer on each separate hand. Some rules
allow you to re-split if your second card for a hand is the same
value as your original split cards. Some rules also allow you
to double down after a split but most rules allow you to draw only
one card when splitting aces.
is a side bet, which is available whenever the dealer has an ace
showing. The player can bet up to one half of his original
bet and receive payment of 2 to 1 if the dealer has a blackjack.
Some casinos allow
you to give up half your bet and not play out the hand. The
player simply says surrender when it is time to play his hand. If
a casino offers surrender then it is usually late surrender (after
the dealer checks for BJ).
early surrender rule, a slight difference, allows you to surrender
half your bet before the dealer checks for BJ.