These days you cannot walk through a casino without passing many blackjack tables. This simple game has been popular since its introduction, with its simple rules and easy gameplay. The game is played with anywhere from one to eight different ordinary 52 card playing decks.

After reading through this you should take a look at our blackjack strategy section to get some more in-depth blackjack tips.

What is Blackjack?

Blackjack is one of the most popular card games because it is one you have the best chance of winning against the dealer. Blackjack is also known as 21 because the goal is to get 21.

When playing blackjack, the face cards count at 10 points. The numbered cards are just as the numbers on the card. An ace can be one point or eleven points, depending on how you choose to use the card. The goal is to get as close to 21 as possible without going over. If you go over 21 you bust and you are out of the game.

When the game of blackjack begins, you will be given two cards. One card will be face down and the other card will be face up for you and the dealer to see. You will peek at your face down card and add the face-up card and the face-down card together. All players hope for an ace and a king, which is 21.

When playing blackjack, you are playing against the dealer, not the other players at the table. All players are playing against the dealer. Whoever gets closer to 21 wins the hand. When the first two cards are dealt to you, on facing down and one facing up, you will evaluate your hand.

You will need to determine if your hand is closer to 21 than the dealers. If you are dealt a low number then you may want another card. You can ask the dealer to give you another card to put you closer to 21. The dealer will give you as many cards as you like. However, you must remember you cannot go over 21 or you bust and lose the hand.

When playing blackjack, it is best to evaluate the dealers facing card and try to determine if he or she is closer than 21 than you. You won’t know what the dealer has on the facing down card until you both are ready to call the hand. When you are both done receiving extra cards, you will flip over the facing down card and sum the total of the cards. Whoever is closer to 21 wins the hand.

When you are determining your hand and if you want additional cards, it is best to play with a strategy. If the dealer’s face-up card is an ace, chances are good he or she has a face card underneath giving a hand of 21. This means you may want to take the risk and ask for additional cards until you either bust or get as close to 21 as possible.

If the dealer has a numbered card facing up and his or her hand appears to be less than what you have, you may want to hold onto your hand and not ask for additional cards.

You don’t need a score of 21 to win in blackjack. You are just trying to beat the dealer by getting closer than 21 than him or her. This means that you don’t have to take additional cards if you don’t want to. If you have a hand of 18, it is too risky to ask for an additional card, especially if the dealer appears to have something less than you do.

Remember that the aces can be used as one or eleven when counting your hand. Two face cards and an ace or one face card and an ace will be a winning combination of 21. If you tie the dealer, then you don’t lose your money and you don’t win any money either. The hand is redealt.

The Goal of Blackjack

The goal of the game of blackjack is to total your cards as close to 21 as you can, without exceeding it. Betting is done against the dealer instead of others at the table. If you are closer to 21 than the dealer without going over, you win and vice versa. Going over the goal of 21 is known as busting, and the dealer wins. If the dealer busts, then you win, as long as you have 21 or less.

Players reach 21 by the value of their cards. Cards with 2-9 are face value, 10-K are worth 10, and Aces can be worth one or eleven (your choice). The ace card doesn’t have to be pre-decided between 1 or 11, you can use it however it fits your hand.

Blackjack Rounds

Each round of blackjack starts with the player’s initial bet placed in front of him or her. Two cards are dealt face up to each player and the dealer only shows one of their cards. The dealer will ask each player, from left to right, if they want another card (known as hitting) or would like to stay as they are. After each player makes their decisions, the dealer will play their hand. The dealer must hit until they reach a 17 or busts.

Blackjack Hands and Odds

The best hand a player could get is a blackjack, which consists of an ace and a 10 point card. If blackjack is dealt to a player, they are paid 3:2 on their bet. If the dealer has a 10 point card showing, it is possible he or she has a blackjack. The dealer will then check their down card immediately, if there is blackjack, all players lose their bets.

If the dealer has an Ace showing, the dealer will ask the player if they would like to insure their hand against a blackjack. This bet in blackjack pays 2 to 1 if the dealer has a blackjack. After each player makes their decision to insure or not, the dealer will check if a blackjack exists. If no blackjack, the players will continue as normal, hitting, or staying.

The Decisions in Blackjack

Basically, the only decision a player makes is to hit or stay, but two other options do exist. A player may “Double Down” by choosing to double the initial bet and take only one more card. This can only be done when you have 2 cards and can only get one card when you make this decision.

Generally, the most common hands that players choose to double down are when the initial cards equal 11 because getting any 10 point card will bring you to the goal of 21. A player may also choose to “split” their cards if they receive matching pairs as their first cards. When you split pairs, you basically play two separate hands and need to add the bet for the split hand.

There are many different ways a player can bring blackjack strategy into the game of blackjack, but the rules are simple and anyone can win big.  Read more about what blackjack is if you still need more information.