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How to Play Blackjack - The Simple Rules

The card game of “Blackjack” has existed since the 1700s. At that time it was called “21” because that is the winning score. After the game had migrated to the United States it earned the title “Blackjack” from a payout variation created by casinos as a way to lure players into a game.

Today, the simple rules of Blackjack remain essentially the same as when it was called “21”. Though there are over one hundred variations, most players like to stick with the simpler format, and it is still the most popular and frequently played game in casinos and gambling establishments. To play blackjack, a player must have a combination of patience and good luck, and even then it can still be frustrating.

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In order to win a game, a player must get a total value of twenty-one with their cards, or as close to twenty-one as possible without going over (going “bust”). This is done through a dealer passing out cards to all players at a gaming table. However many players may be seated at the table does not matter to each individual, because the actual game is between the single player and the dealer.

There are two methods that a dealer can deliver cards:
“Pitch” – which means they are using two decks which are held in the dealer’s hands.
“Shoe” – which means the dealer is relying on a device that can hold up to six decks of cards.

The dealer gives themselves and each player two cards. If the game is a “pitch” game the cards are placed face down in front of the player, if it is a “shoe” game the cards are face up.

Only the dealer has a single card face down and a single card face up. The face down card in the dealer’s “hand” is referred to as the “hole” card. A dealer will not look at their “hole” card unless their other card is at a ten value. This is to determine if the dealer has all ready hit a twenty-one which ends the game with all players losing their bets. To practise how to play blackjack online for free, check out this gambling online usa site.

Card Values

Cards in Blackjack are assigned fixed values as follows:

The Ace is worth eleven, unless it will “bust” a player at which time its value is converted to one
Face cards of the Jack, Queen and King are worth ten
Cards two through ten are worth their face value

Blackjack Actions

After a player gets their cards and sees the dealer’s single face up card, they must make a few decisions. They can “stand”, “hit”, “double down”, “split” or “surrender”. Each decision is accompanied by a mandatory hand gesture, and a dealer will not act unless the player makes the correct signals with their hand.

To “stand” a player usually moves their hand horizontally or slides their cards under their bet, and it means they will not need anymore cards for this hand of the game. To “hit” the player taps the table with a single finger or scrapes their cards against it. This means they want another card to get closer to or to hit twenty-one. However, a “hit” can also “bust” a player and lose their bet.

“Double down” doubles their original bet and issues them a single card more. This is signaled by placing the additional wager next to the original and making a “one” signal with a finger.

To “split” the player will double their bet by placing new chips next to their original bet, and make a “two” signal with their fingers. Their two cards are then divided and they are issued two new cards on each original.

Finally a player can “surrender” by making a swinging motion over their bet. This means they are giving up their hand and losing half of their initial bet.


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