Playing blackjack

To win you need to beat the dealer without busting. You bust when your cards total to more than 21 and you lose automatically. The winner is whoever has closest to a total of 21. You reach 21 by adding up the values of the cards.

The blackjack table seats about 6 players. Either six or eight decks of cards are used and are shuffled together by the dealer and placed in a card dispensing box called ‘Shoe’.

Before receiving any cards players must place a wager. Then the players are dealt two cards face up. The dealer gets one face up, one face down. Each player in turn either stays or takes more cards to try and get closer to 21 without busting.

Players who do not bust wait for the dealer’s turn. When all the players are done, the dealer turns up the down card. By rule, on counts of 17 or higher the dealer must stay; on counts of 16 or lower the dealer must draw.

If you make a total of 21 with the first two cards (a 10 or a face and an Ace), you win automatically. This is called ‘Blackjack’.

If you have Blackjack, you will win one and one-half times your bet unless the dealer also has Blackjack, in which case it is a Push or a Tie (or a Stand-off) and you get your bet back.

The remaining players with a higher count than the dealer win an amount equal to their bet.

Players with a lower count than the dealer lose their bet. If the dealer busts, all the remaining players win. There are other betting options namely Insurance, Surrender, Double Down, Even Money and Split.

* Insurance: side bet up to half the initial bet against the dealer having a natural 21 – allowed only when the dealer’s showing card is an Ace. If the dealer has a 10 face down and makes a blackjack, insurance pays at 2-1 odds, but loses if the dealer does not.

* Surrender: giving up your hand and lose only half the bet.

* Early Surrender: surrender allowed before the dealer checks for blackjack.

* Late Surrender: the dealer first checks to see if he has blackjack. If he does, surrender is not permitted.

* Double Down: double your initial bet following the initial two-card deal, but you can hit one card only. A good bet if the player is in a strong situation. Most casinos will allow you to double down on any two cards. Some casinos will let you double down after splitting and some will limit your doubling down to hands that total ten or eleven. However, there is one condition: When you double down, you must take one additional card and you cannot receive more than one.

* Even Money: cashing in your bet immediately at a 1:1 payout ratio when you are dealt a natural blackjack and the dealer’s showing card is an Ace.

* Split Hand: split the initial two-card hand into two and play them separately – allowed only when the two first cards are of equal value. Use each card as the start to a separate hand and place a second bet equal to the first.

* Hard Hand: A hand without an Ace, or with an Ace valued at 1 is said to be Hard in that it can only be given one value, unlike a Soft Hand. (You can value an Ace 1 or 11 to suit you).
* Soft Hand: A hand that contains an Ace counted as 11 is called a Soft Hand.

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Black Jack Tips Strategies

Blackjack basic strategy is based on the mathematics of the game. It has been tested and refined through computer simulations. When it is followed correctly it reduces the house edge to the minimum, which is usually about one-half of a percent. Minor adjustments are made to basic strategy depending on certain rule variations that the different casinos can chose to use. For example some casinos will allow you to double down after splitting (DOS) and some do not allow it.

There are also some changes made to basic strategy for single and multiple deck games.

If you want to be a successful blackjack player you will need to learn basic strategy. Most players start learning by referring to a basic strategy chart. The strategy chart shows you how to play your first two cards based on the dealers up card. Referring back to the Blackjack 101 article, you know that the house gains its edge by the fact that the player must act first. Since the basic strategy chart only deals with the first two cards, you will also need to learn what decisions to make after taking a hit.

How to Play Hard Hand:

A hard hand is two starting cards that do not contain an ace.

If you have eight or less, always hit.
If you have Nine: Double if the dealer has 3 thru 6 – otherwise hit.
If you have Ten : Double if the dealer has 2 thru 9 – otherwise hit.
If you have Eleven: Double if the dealer has 2 thru 10, Hit if dealer has Ace.
If you have Twelve: Hit if the dealer has 2 or 3, Stand if the dealer has 4 thru 6, otherwise hit.
If you have 13- 16: Stand if the dealer has2 thru 6, otherwise hit.
If you have 17 – 21: Always Stand.

How to Play Soft Hand:

A soft hand is when one of your starting hands contains an ace.

If you have Ace 2 or Ace 3: Double if the dealer has 5 or 6 – otherwise hit.
If you have Ace 4 or Ace 5: Double if the dealer has 4 thru 6 – otherwise hit.
If you have Ace 6: Double if the dealer has 3 thru 6 – otherwise hit.
If you have Ace 7: Stand if the dealer has 2, 7 or 8. Double 3 -thru 6 – otherwise hit.
If you have Ace 8 or Ace 9: Always Stand.

Black Jack Tips

# Find a table whose minimum is no more than 5% of you total stash. In picking a table, consider rule variations that help the player like the option of doubling down on any two cards, or the dealer having to stand on soft 17. Even if you don’t completely understand them, these rule variations can work to your advantage.

# Start with the basics: Since the dealer has to hit (take a card) on any hand 16 or lower, you’ll never win with less than 17 unless the dealer busts. Take a hit on any hand below 17 when the dealer shows ace, K, Q, J, 10, 9, or 8, cards that are unlikely to make the dealer bust. Stand on any hand above 11 when the dealer shows a 4,5, or 6, cards that will lead then dealer to bust more than 40% of the time.

# “Doubling down” involves doubling your bet and receiving one additional card when your suspect strongly that you will beat the dealer by doing so. This is the player’s chief advantage, so don’t ignore this option. Doubling with 10 against a 9 or lower and with any hand of 11. Rules permitting, double with 9, or with “soft” hands (hands that count an ace as 11) of 13-17 against a 4, 5, or 6.

# If you are dealt two cards of the same value, you may “split” them, doubling your bet and playing two hands. Never split 10’s or 5’s. Always split 8’s or 7’s against a dealer’s card of equal or lower value. Always split 2’s or 3’s against a 4, 5, or 6. Always split aces. Never split face cards, 10’s, or 5’s.

# Tip (or “toke”) the dealer, as they are not unionized, work for lousy wages, and depend on your generosity. Unless you’re winning serious stakes, a dollar chip every twenty or so hands is generally appropriate. If you want to make sure the dealer has your best interests at heart, place the tip right in front of your wagering circle, essentially turning it into a side bet on your hand. If you win, the dealer’s tip doubles

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The basics

The object of the blackjack game is to accumulate cards with point totals as close to 21 without going over 21. Face cards (Jacks, Queens and Kings) are worth 10 points. Aces are worth 1 or 11, whichever is preferable. Other cards are represented by their number.

If player and the House tie, it is a push and no one wins. Ace and 10 (Blackjack) on the first two cards dealt is an automatic player win at 1.5 to 1, unless the house ties. A player may stand at any time.

Black Jack Rules

The object of Blackjack is very simple: to achieve a total that is greater than that of the dealer, and which does not exceed 21.

Even if other players are present at the table, the dealer is your only opponent in the game.
There are relatively few decisions to make when playing Blackjack.

You must consider your cards and your dealer’s card and remember, if you go over 21, you "bust", and if you "bust" you lose.

Play progresses as follows:
1. A card is dealt, face up, to each player in turn and then one to the dealer. The dealer’s card is face down and called the "hole" card.

2. A second card is then dealt, again face up, to each player.

3. Starting from the player to the left of the dealer, each player decides whether to draw further cards.

4. After all players have completed their hands, the Dealer proceeds to draw cards to complete the Dealer’s hand.

You win if:

* Your total is higher than the Dealer’s total

* The Dealer goes over 21 or "busts" (provided you have not previously busted yourself).

If your total is the same as the Dealer’s total it is a "stand-off" and you neither win nor lose.

If you go over 21, or the Dealer’s total is greater, you lose.

The Values of the Cards

Cards in Blackjack are assigned the following point valies:

* Picture Cards (Jack, Queen and King) each count as 10 points.

* An Ace counts as 1 point or 11 points, whichever is better for owner of the hand.

* All other cards have their numerical face value. Jokers are not used when playing Blackjack