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Blackjack

Blackjack is one of the more simple games in a casino. While players can win a lot of money playing the game, the rules are fairly basic. There are some variations that will be found in different casinos, but the basic rules will remain the same. The object of the game is for the player to achieve a hand that totals greater than the hand of the dealer without going over 21. When playing, the dealer is the only opponent. Players will not be playing against each other at the table.

There are a few discussions that players will have to make during play. While these decisions can be made based on a particular strategy, players are free to make any decisions they wish in regards to their hands. The first thing to do is consider the cards the player is holding and the card that is shown by the dealer. If the player goes over 21, they will bust and will lose the game.

When the game begins, one card is dealt to all players face up and the dealer will receive a card face down. This is referred to as the “hole” card. A second card is dealt to players, also face up and the dealer will receive a face up card as well. Play will begin with the player to the left of the dealer. Each player will have a chance to decide on drawing additional cards or playing what they have in their hand.blackjack

Once all players have made their decision, the dealer will draw cards to complete their hand. If players have a hand that is higher than the dealer, they will win. If the dealer busts, all players will win. Should players have a tie with the dealer, this is called a push and there will be no loss or win on the bet that was placed.

These are the basic rules. Players should know that the Ace in Blackjack can represent either 1 or 11, whichever will benefit the players’ hand the most. All face cards will be worth 10 points and other cards retain their numerical face value.

If a player has an Ace and a face card, they will have a Blackjack. This will pay one and one half times the amount of the wager. Players will automatically win with a Blackjack unless the dealer also has Blackjack. Should the dealer have Blackjack, all players will lose their bets unless they also have the same hand.

While player rules are pretty basic, the dealer will also have to play by a set of rules. Players need to understand these rules as well as they do play an important role in the game. When the dealer has 16 or less in the hand, they are required to hit, meaning they must take a card. The dealer must stand on anything 17 or higher. Knowing these rules will help players determine how they will play their own hand, weighing the possibility of the dealer busting if they have to take cards.

Blackjack - some terms explained

Blackjack

As mentioned above, a 'blackjack' is any two-card total worth twenty-one. Most forms of the blackjack game pay extra for a blackjack - usually 3-2 - as opposed to the 1-1 odds you get for winning a hand. A player's blackjack automatically wins unless the dealer has blackjack too.

Card counting

A way of beating the casino by keeping a eye on how many tens are being dealt from the dealer's shoe. If a low number of tens have been dealt, then it's time to increase your bet. If a high number have been dealt, then it's time to decrease it. Unfortunately, card counting does not work at online casinos - even live online casinos - due to the number of cards that are dealt unseen.

Double down

A bet you can make after receiving your first two cards. You are allowed to double your original bet on the understanding that you only receive one more card. In some forms of blackjack you can double down on any total, in some just on 9, 10 and 11, and in others you cannot double down at all.

Hard and soft

A hard hand can only have one value, i.e. a ten and a six is sixteen. A soft hand contains an ace and some hands can have more than one total, i.e. an ace, a four and a two can either be seven or seventeen.

Insurance

When the dealer's up card is an ace, a player can choose to make a side bet of half the size of their original wager. If the dealer has blackjack, then the player has his bet returned plus the insurance wager. This is not seen as a good side bet as the odds of a dealer having blackjack when showing an ace (around 4-1) are worse than the dealer not having blackjack (around 4-3).

Split

In most blackjack games, if you are dealt a pair you are allowed to split them and play them as two separate hands. You cannot often re-split a hand that has already been split, and if you split aces you are only allowed one more card for each hand. Most pairs are worth splitting aside from fours, fives and any tens or court cards.

Perfect strategy

In blackjack there are a fixed number of possible hands, based upon the player's cards and the dealer's up card. 'Perfect Strategy' is knowing what to do in each fixed scenario in order to maximise your chances of winning the hand. In all forms of blackjack the house has an edge, but that edge is often less than one percent if you play using perfect strategy. This will increase your chances of getting on a 'hot streak' and actually winning some cash. You also need to bear in mind that even with perfect strategy, long losing streaks are still perfectly possible.

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