Blackjack Table Copyright © 2006 Sun City Casino, Inc.

Blackjack Rules

Blackjack hands are scored by their point total. The hand with the highest total wins as long as it doesn't exceed 21. A hand with a higher total than 21 is said to "bust". Cards 2 through 10 are worth their face value, and face cards (jack, queen, king) are also worth 10. An ace's value is 11 unless this would cause the player to bust, in which case it is worth 1. A hand in which an ace's value is counted as 11 is called a soft hand, because it cannot be busted if the player draws another card.

The goal of each player is to beat the dealer by having the higher, unbusted hand. Note that if the player busts he loses, even if the dealer also busts. If both the player and the dealer have the same point value, it is called a "push", and neither player nor dealer wins the hand. Each player has an independent game with the dealer, so it is possible for the dealer to lose to one player, but still beat the other players in the same round.

A two-card hand of 21 (an ace plus a ten-value card) is called a "blackjack" or a "natural", and is an automatic winner. A player with a natural is usually paid 3:2 on his bet. The play goes as follows:

  • If the dealer's upcard is an ace, the player is offered the option of taking "insurance" before the dealer checks his "hole card".
  • If the dealer has blackjack and the player doesn't, the player automatically loses.
  • If the player has blackjack and the dealer doesn't, the player automatically wins.
  • If both the player and dealer have blackjack it's a push.
  • If neither one has blackjack, each player plays out his hand, one at a time.

When all the players have finished the dealer plays his hand. The player's options for playing his hand are:

  • Hit: Take another card.
  • Stand: Take no more cards.
  • Double down: Double the wager, take exactly one more card, and then stand.
  • Split: Double the wager and have each card be the first card in a new hand. This option is available only when both cards have the same value. Sometimes two face cards will be considered acceptable for splitting, as each is 10 points. When splitting two aces, only one additional card is given for each hand.
  • Surrender: Forfeit half the bet and give up the hand. Surrender was common during the early- and mid-20th century, but is no longer offered at most casinos.

The player's turn is over after deciding to stand, doubling down to take a single card, or busting. If the player busts, he loses the bet even if the dealer goes on to bust.

The player who wishes to take "insurance" can bet an amount up to half his original bet. The insurance bet is placed separately on a special portion of the table, which usually carries the words "Insurance Pays 2:1". The player who is taking insurance is betting that the dealer's "hole card" is a 10-value card, i.e. a 10, a jack, a queen or a king. Because the dealer's upcard is an ace, this means that the player who takes insurance is essentially betting that the dealer was dealt a natural, i.e. a two-card 21 (a blackjack), and this bet by the player pays off 2:1 if it wins.

After all the players have finished making their decisions, the dealer then reveals his or her hidden "hole" card and plays the hand. House rules say that the dealer must hit until he has at least 17, regardless of what the players have. In most casinos a dealer must also hit a soft 17 (such as an ace and a 6). The felt of the table will indicate whether or not the house hits or stands on a soft 17. If the dealer busts, all remaining players win. Bets are normally paid out at the odds of 1:1.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Blackjack".


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