The Basic Rules of Blackjack

16 December 2011
Blackjack is a hugely popular card game, largely due to the simplicity of its objective. The aim is for the player to hold a hand of cards total as close to 21 points as possible, without going over this limit. If the player holds cards that add up to more than 21, they are said to go "bust". Hence why Blackjack is sometimes known as "Twenty-One or Bust" or simply "Twenty-One".

The cards hold the following values:
Aces: 11 points or 1 point depending on the best count for the hand.
Face Cards (i.e. King, Queen, Jack): 10 points each.
Other Cards: their numbered values.
The person, whose total is closest to 21 points, but not over, wins the game. This person can be the player OR the dealer.
If both the dealer and the player achieve the same number of points, this results in a "push" or a tie.
Rules for The Dealer.

The Dealer will deal 2 cards to the player, and one card to himself. The Dealer will draw a second card, but this will remain face down until all other hands have been dealt.

Most Houses will operate with one of the following rules in regard to the Dealer's hand:
a) "Dealer stands on all 17's". This means that the dealer will have to keep dealing himself cards until his total either reaches 17 or over, or he goes bust. That is to say, if he reaches 16, he will have to keep taking "hits" but if he gets to 17 or over, he will have to stand.
b) "Dealer hits on soft 17". This means that if the Dealer's hand contains an Ace card, then he will continue to take "hits" until he reaches either a "soft" 18 or higher. The Dealer will only stand on a "soft" 18 or higher or a "hard" 17 (i.e. a hand of 17 with no ace cards).
The dealer will only draw any additional cards once the player has decided to stand.
Rules for the Player.
After the player has placed a bet, and has been dealt 2 cards, the player can make the following choices:
a) Stand: this is where the player keeps the cards dealt, and does not request any further cards from the dealer.
b) Hit: The player is accepts another card from the dealer. The player can continue to take "hits" until the hand goes bust, or until he chooses to stand.

Once the player takes the decision to stand, the dealer will then turn over his second card. The Dealer will continue to take hits or will stand until he reaches either a total of 17, or a soft 18 depending on which rules the house is playing by. (See notes above).

Blackjack. (also known as a "natural")
To get a "Blackjack" the first 2 cards must total 21. This means that the hand must consist of a face card and an Ace and the payout on the bet will be higher. If the first two cards comprise of an Ace and a number ten valued card, for example, the ten of hearts, the hand does not count as "Blackjack". This means that the win is classified as a total of 21, and the payout will be as per normal.

Surrender is an option for the player, but it is not widely available on all Blackjack games.
There are 2 types of Surrender - Early and Late. A Surrender is one where the player is able to fold his hand (i.e. withdraw from the game) at the cost of half of his stake.

An Early Surrender is when the House/Dealer will allow the player to surrender BEFORE the dealer has turned over his second card. Very few places offer this as an opportunity. More common is the Late Surrender. This is where the dealer will allow players to surrender, once again at the cost of half of their stake, but only AFTER the dealer has checked his second card for a Blackjack. If there is no Blackjack score for the dealer's hand, the players can then be given the choice to withdraw from the game.


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