Beginner’s Guide to Blackjack
Blackjack, commonly known as 21, is the most widely played casino game in the world. Unlike most betting card games, it does not require any other players to play; a single player plays with the dealer. Blackjack can be intimidating to new players, but with some basic knowledge of the game, you can transform yourself from a beginner to a master player. The objective of the game is simple; beat the dealer.
The Table Setup
Blackjack is played on a specialized semi-circle table. There is a separate circle for each player. Players can either purchase chips from the dealer or get them from another table. The player places his bets in his circle and the game begins after all the bets are placed.
How to Play
In basic blackjack, a dealer asks you to select two cards from a face down deck. Once you select the cards, the dealer gives himself two cards. In order to win, you must get a higher value of cards than the dealer without going over 21. Going over 21 is called a “bust”, and if you bust, you lose. The dealer initially shows you one of his cards. You have to decide whether you want him to hand you out another card or you want to quit the game. The former is referred to as a “hit”, while the latter is referred to as a “stand”. In a casino, you have to signal your decision by tapping on the table for a hit, or waving your hand over the cards if you opt for a stand. The dealer has to take a hit if the total value of his cards is under 17. If you ask for a hit, the dealer will hand you out another card and repeat the question. You have to try to reach 21 without busting. Once you take a stand, the cards are faced up. If you have a higher value of cards without a bust, you win. However, if your cards are above 21, you lose. Even if both you and the dealer bust, you lose. These are the basics of blackjack. However, you must know the value of each card in the game.
Cards 2 to 10 are counted on their numeric values. All face cards count as a ten. The suits of the cards have no affect on their values. An Ace can be counted as either a one or eleven. Here’s where it gets tricky. Suppose you have a face card and a 5. You decide to hit and get an Ace. If the Ace is valued as one, the total value of the cards is 16, which is under the limit. However, if the Ace is valued as eleven, you bust. A hand with an ace is called a soft hand, since the total value of the cards can change. Consequently, a hand without an ace is called a hard hand, since the total value does not change.