Blackjack is one of the most popular casino table games and is played at almost all casinos. Many people are interested in playing casino games, however, they not familiar with the terms and rules. Hence the terminology for the American version of Blackjack are first described. The rules are similar for both online and offline casinos. The number of players for a game of casino will vary and typically there are two to seven players.
Deck: is a set of cards with 52 different cards. Typically, a game of blackjack is played with one to 8 decks
Dealer: is a person to hands out the cards to the players
Card value: the value of each card from 2-10 depends on the numerical or face value of the card. The king, queen and jack have a value of 10 and the ace can have a value of 1 or 11, it depends on the player
Blackjack: When a player has made exactly 21 after two cards have been dealt he has scored a blackjack. It means that the player has an ace, and king, jack, 10 or queen for a total score of 21
Goal while playing blackjack
The aim of the players for blackjack is to have a score higher than the dealer, while ensuring that the score is less than 21. If the score is above 21, the player is bust and loses the game. It should be noted that the player is not competing against other players at blackjack, he is only comparing his score with the dealer for the game. The dealer is representing the casino.
The dealer who is representing the house has limited options in blackjack. They can only keep taking cards till they reach the score of 17 or higher, after which they should stop taking cards
Choosing a table
While choosing a table at a casino it should have the sign, pays Blackjack in the ratio 3:2, avoid other tables, since there are other casino games also
There are two different dealing styles for Blackjack games:
Shoe games: The dealer is distributing cards to all the players from the dealing shoe, and typically the six to eight decks of cards are used. The cards are dealt face up. This is the preferred option for new players, since they can discuss their cards with other players and the dealer, get their queries resolved.
Hand-held games: The cards are held by the dealer in his hand and distributed to the players at the blackjack table. The cards are dealt face down. In these games only one or two decks of cards are used by the dealer, and this greatly improves the probability that the player will win, since the house odds are lower. Most experienced players are preferring hand held games since they have a greater chance of winning.
The procedure for playing Blackjack and the Blackjack Rules are described below
- initially the players will place their bets, specifying the amount that they are betting. The minimum and maximum bet amount varies from casino to casino, and typically the maximum bet amount is at least 40 times more than the smallest bet which can be played.
- Cards are dealt in the first round by the dealer to the players, who retains one card, in the clockwise direction from the right to the left.
- In a shoe game, the cards are dealt face up, while in other blackjack games, the cards are dealt face down
- Since the players are competing against the dealer, it is not important to keep the cards of each player secret
- In the second round, the cards are again dealt to the players, with the dealer again retaining one card
- After the cards have been dealt, the players can choose between the various options which are defined using blackjack rules
- After all the players have made their choice, the dealer can then act
- If all the players are bust, the dealer will automatically win
The various options available to the players after being dealt the cards by the dealer are as follows:
- Hit: a player can request additional cards, till the total score of the cards he holds is less than 21
- Stand: a player is satisfied with the hand that he has been dealt, and who does not want any additional cards can take a stand
- Split: If a player receives two cards of exactly the same value, he can split his hand, to receive more cards for each hand.
- Double down: a player can double his bet and receive exactly one more card. After he receives three cards, he cannot get any more cards
- Surrender option: is not available for all the games. The player can exit, by taking half the amount that he has bet for the game.
There are five different result options for blackjack:
- Win: player can win by having a score which is less than 21 and also higher than that of the dealer.
- Lose: player will lose if his score is lower than that of the dealer
- Bust: player loses if his score is more than 21
- Push: if the score of the dealer and player are the same. i.e. tied, the player gets the amount bet back.
If the dealer will bust, all the non-busted players are winners.
The payout varies in different cases depending on the result
- After the cards have been dealt, if the dealer, player have the same score, a push, the amount of the player is returned back
- If the player has a winning hand, he is paid in the ratio 1:1, if he has bet $10, he will receive his original bet amount and an additional $10 for a total of $20
- If the player has a Blackjack, a score of 21, he will be paid in the ratio of 3:2, he will get his original bet amount and 1.5 times the original amount. So if the initial bet amount was $10, he will receive a total of $25 including $15 as the winning amount.
It should be noted that some casinos are now offering a reduced payout for Blackjack of 6:5 instead of 3:2, improving the house edge. These casinos should be avoided to the extent possible.