Learning How to Play Basic Blackjack

An overview of how to play online blackjack, looking at blackjack rules, online blackjack special moves and blackjack’s objective.

Blackjack Objective and Payouts

In blackjack each player independently plays against the dealer, attempting to get a hand better than the dealer’s. The value of the hand is obtained by summing up the values of the individual cards in the hand. The card values are as follows. Cards from twos to tens are assigned their face values; jacks, queens and kings are assigned values of ten and aces are assigned values of ones or elevens as the situation merits. The objective of blackjack is to obtain a hand with a value closer to twenty-one than the value of the dealer’s hand, but without exceeding twenty-one.

Before the cards are dealt the player places his wager. If the player wins then he is paid even money. If he loses then he forfeits his bet. If both the player and the dealer have the same hand value then the bet is returned to the player. If the player is dealt an ace and a card with a value of ten then this hand is known as a blackjack and pays out as 3:2.

Blackjack Rules

Once the players have placed their wagers the dealer deals two cards face down to each player and two cards to himself, one of which is face up. In some versions of blackjack the dealer does not deal the face down card.

Each player then plays his hand in turn. He has two basic options. One is to ask for another card. This is known as to ‘hit’. The other option is refusing another card, which is known as ‘to stand’. If a player hits and his ensuing hand value exceeds twenty-one then he ‘busts’ and immediately loses his wager. When all players have either bust or are standing then it is the dealer’s turn to play. The dealer has to play according to set rules. He has to hit till his hand value is seventeen or more. In the process of hitting if the dealer busts then the remaining players automatically win. If the dealer does not bust each player whose hand value exceeds the dealer’s hand value wins.

Special Moves

A number of special moves are available to players. These make the game more interesting by increasing the skill level.

  • Double Down: After seeing the dealt cards the player can double his bet. But he is then constrained to take one and only one additional card.
  • Split: If the two dealt cards of the player are of identical value then the player can split the hand. He has to place another identical wager and plays both hands as independent hands.
  • Surrender: After seeing the dealt cards the player can the player can surrender by losing half his wager.
  • Insurance: If the dealer’s open card is an ace, the player can place a side bet that the dealer will get a blackjack. The side bet has to be half his normal bet. If the dealer does get blackjack the insurance bet pays 2:1. His other bet is played out as described earlier.