Blackjack starts with the players making bets. The dealer deals 2 cards to the players and 2 to himself (1 card face up, the other face down). In order to play blackjack to best effect you will need to know the basic rules for playing blackjack.

Blackjack Card Values

All cards count their face value in Blackjack. Picture cards count as 10 and the ace can count as 1 or 11. Card combinations have no meaning in Blackjack. The total of a hand is the sum of the card values in the hand. Players must decide to stand, hit, surrender, double or split. The dealer acts last and must hit on 16 or less and stand on 17 to 21. Players win when their hand totals higher than the dealer’s hand, or they have 21 or less when the dealer goes bankrupt (Exceeds 21).

The objective of blackjack is to beat the dealer’s hand either by having a total that exceeds the dealer’s total, or by not exceeding 21 when the dealer does so.


When a player’s or dealer’s hand exceeds a total of 21, this is called a bust. (Sometimes the term “break” is used when the dealer’s hand exceeds 21). So, if a player receives 10-6, he draws one more card that is a 9, the player breaks (i.e., because his hand totals 25).

Hard vs soft hand

A hard hand is a hand that does not contain an ace, if it does, the ace is counted as 1. For example, 10-8 is a hard 18; 5-A-10-2 is a hard 18. Any hand that contains an ace that counts 11 is known as a soft hand. For example, A-5 is a soft 16; A-2-5 is a soft 18; and 3-2-A-3 is a soft 19. When you receive your first two cards and one of them is an ace, count the ace as 11. Often, when you receive a soft hand and draw more cards, your hand will convert to a hard hand.

Blackjack Betting Rules

Blackjack is played on a semi-circular table covered with a felt that can usually accommodate up to 7 players. There will be a circle, or sometimes a square box, known as a betting point. A trained casino dealer is responsible for handling the cards according to strict casino protocols, collecting bets from losing players, refunding winning bets and generally keeping the game at an acceptable pace.

Chip Value

In most casinos, the chips are colour-coded to indicate their denomination, although usually the value is also printed on the chip. For example, a white chip usually means a denomination of $1, red is $5, green is $25, black is $100, purple is $500 and orange is $1,000. In casino jargon, red $5 chips are often referred to as “nickels”, green $25 chips as “quarters”, black $100 chips as “blacks”, purple $500 chips as “Barneys” and orange $1,000 chips as “pumpkins”.

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