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How to Play Blackjack

In the game of Blackjack, the basic idea is that you, the player, need to have a hand value which is closer to 21 than that of the dealer without going over 21.  In blackjack, the cards are valued as follows:
  • An Ace can count as either 1 or 11.
  • The cards from 2 to 9 are valued as indicated.
  • The 10, Jack, Queen and King are all valued at 10.
  • The suits of the cards do not have any relevance in the game.
The value of a hand is simply the sum of the points of each card in the hand.  For example, a hand containing cards of 4,8 and 9 has the value of 21.  The Ace can be counted as either 1 or 11.  In the game here, you need not specify which value the Ace has.  It's assumed to always have the value that makes the best hand.

The Blackjack Dealer

The computer Blackjack dealer must play his hand in a specific way, with no choices allowed.

"Dealer must draw on 16 an stand on all 17's".  This is the most common rule, and means that the dealer must continue to take cards ("hit") until his 17 or more.  An Ace in the dealer's hand always counts as 11 if possible without the dealer going over 21.

The dealer has no choices to make in the playing of his hand.  He cannot split pairs, but must instead simply hit until he reaches at least 17 or busts by going over 21.

Playing Blackjack

A blackjack is a total of 21 in your first two cards.  This is, therefore, an Ace and any card valued 10, with the additional requirement that these must be your first 2 cards. If you split a pair of Ace, for example, and then draw a ten-valued card on one of the aces, this is not classed as a blackjack, but rather a total of 21.

The distinction is important because a winning blackjack pays the player odds of 3 to 2.

Before each hand starts, you need to click the chips to choose how much to bet.  The amount you have bet is shown under the center circle.  Once you have placed your bet, click the Deal button to start.  The Dealer will deal you two cards face up, and will also deal himself 2 cards, but only one of his cards will be face up.  If you get an ace and a ten, this is Blackjack and you win at 3:2.

If the dealer has an ace as his face-up card, you can buy insurance.  Just click Yes or No when prompted.

The total value of your hand is shown just to the left of the cards themselves.  You must now choose if you wish to:

  • Hit (ie take another card). You may hit more than once if you wish.
  • Stand (stop and keep the cards you have).
  • Split (if you have a pair).
  • Double (if you would like to double your bet and take only one more card).

Hitting or Standing

The most common decision a player will need to make during the game of Blackjack is whether to draw another card to the hand (Know as to Hit) or to stop at the current total (stand)

The Option of Doubling Down

One of the more profitable choices available to the player is to Double down.  You are only able to do this with a 2 card hand, before you have drawn any other cards.  The Double down option enables you to double your bet and receive one, and only one, additional card to your hand.

Splitting Pairs in Blackjack

When you are dealt a matching pair of cards of the same numerical value in Blackjack (remember, ignore the suits), you have the ability to split the hand into two separate hands, and play each one independently.  The dealer will separate the 2 cards and will treat them as two individual independent hands.  You then play the first hand to completion, after which the dealer will deal a second card to the second hand, and you can begin making play decisions on that hand.


Insurance is possibly the least understood of all commonly available Blackjack rules.  Overall, this is not necessarily a bad thing as the insurance bet is usually a poor bet for the player, and has a high house advantage.

If the dealer shows an up-card of an Ace, he will offer Insurance to the players.  Insurance bets can be placed by betting half of your original bet amount.  The dealer will check to see if he has a 10-value card under his Ace, and if he does have Blackjack, your winning insurance bet will be paid at 2:1 odds.  Of course, you'll lose your original bet (unless you also have a Blackjack hand), therefore the net effect is that you break-even.  This is why the bet is described as Insurance, as it protects your original bet against the dealer having Blackjack.  If the dealer does not have blackjack, you'll lose your insurance bet, and will still need to play out the original bet.

Winning or Losing

If your hand is 21 or less, the dealer will check his hand.  If he has less than 17 then he must deal himself with another card.  Once the dealer's hand totals 17 or over, then he must stand.  If the value of his hand goes over 21 then the dealer busts and you win the hand.

If both you and the dealer have a hand value of 21 or under, then your total is compared with the dealer's total.  If your hand value is greater than the dealer's, you win the hand.  If the dealer has the greater hand value, he will win the hand.  If your total and the dealer's are exactly the same, the game is a Push.  This means that your original stake is returned to you.

Good luck and have fun!

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