Walk into any casino and you will see that the most crowded are the Blackjack tables. It is quite popular, probably because it is a game of chance and skill that is a great deal of fun—yet it is also reasonably straightforward to learn.
Blackjack is played with a 52-card deck, which is standard-sized. But, dealers keep between four and six of these in a rectangular container (the shoe) on the side of the Black jack table. This is so that the same one is not in continual use.
The Blackjack table is semi-circular. The dealer stands where the center of the circle would be, while up to five to seven players sit or stand around the curved part of the table. In front of each player is a square where they are to place their bets.
Most Blackjack tables have writing on them that state the house rules, such as “Dealer stands on 17. “ You will wise to read these before you sit down.
Unlike most card games, the suits of the spades, hearts, clubs, and diamonds hold no significance. What matters is the number value.
Aces are the only cards that can have two different values. These can be scored as either 11 or 1, depending upon which you choose.
Every other card is pretty straightforward as to the score it holds. Face cards (kings, queens, and jacks) are all scored as 10. Others (from 2’s to 10’s) are scored by the number on the card; for example, all 3’s are scored as 3, all 7’s are scored as 7, and so on.
Players aim to score higher than the dealer. But, they must do so without scoring over 21.
Possible Hand Endings
A player can get a ‘natural’ Black jack and automatically win the hand. This is when a player uses only 2 cards to reach the score of 21. This hand is an automatically winning hand—unless, of course, the dealer also has a ‘natural’ Blackjack. Larger payouts used to be given for this type of winning, but this is no longer the case.
-Can get a Blackjack (with 3 or more cards) and win the hand.
-Can win a hand if his score is higher than the dealer’s score—and if his score is not over 21.
-Can lose a hand if his score is lower than the dealer’s score.
-Can tie a hand—which is also called a ‘push’ hand—if his score is exactly the same as the dealer’s score.
Can ‘go bust’ by taking extra cards and ending up with a score over 21.
Players place their bets into the squares in front of them.
The dealer then gives each player two cards, face up. He then deals cards to himself. Rules are different in the United States and in Great Britain, however. In the United States, the dealer gets two cards; however, one card is face down. In Great Britain, the dealer gets only one card, face up.
One at a time, you are then given an opportunity to improve the hands they were dealt if they so choose. Players have two options. For one, they can ‘stand’ if they believe that their hand is good enough. This means that they do not want any more cards. To ‘stand,’ a player makes a waving motion, as if to wave away the dealer. The second option that players have to is to ask for more cards. Players do this by making a scratching movement, and they can do this as many times as they wish—unless they ‘go bust.’ When a player asking for cards believes his hand is good enough, he ‘stands.’
After all the players have finished, the dealer has a chance to improve his hand. They have strict rules he must follow, and they depend upon the specific casino or area. However, most casinos specify that a dealer must take another card if his score is 16 or less and that they must ‘stand’ if his score is 17 or greater.
After the dealer’s turn is finished, scoring is completed. Hand endings are determined as above. But, if the dealer ‘goes bust,’ any player who is remaining automatically wins.