The Basics of Blackjack

Blackjack is a game of chance and strategy, and there are many rules to the game that can be confusing. However, if you understand the basic strategies, blackjack can be an exciting game to play. It is also a fun way to socialize with friends and family!

The Cards

There are eight decks of playing cards in a standard blackjack game. Each card is valued at its face value, with the exception of the ace which can be treated as either 1 or 11. The dealer deals two cards to each player and one card to himself.

Players can then decide if they want to ‘HIT’ or ‘STAND’. ‘HIT’ means the player takes another card, while ‘STAND’ means they stay with what they have. Alternatively, they can ‘Split’ by moving a second bet equal to the original into the betting box next to their first bet.

The Dealer

When the dealer deals the cards, he will check the face-up card to see if it is an ace. If it is, he will ask for insurance bets before the first player plays.

The dealer will then pay off any insurance wagers and continue playing the game as usual.

Side Bets

The blackjack table offers hundreds of different side bets, all of which offer some sort of advantage to the player. These bets can range from betting on a specific hand to whether or not the dealer busts, and many others.

Insurance – The Only Universally Available Side Bet

The only universally available side bet in blackjack is insurance. This pays 2 to 1 if the dealer has a blackjack and is paid off at the same time as the main wager.

Insurance is an excellent way to improve your blackjack odds, but you should be careful not to get too carried away with it! The probability of a dealer having a blackjack is 1 and 3, and the odds of winning your insurance bet are less than one in 20.

Aside from insurance, other popular side bets in blackjack include ‘Dealer Match’ which pays when the player’s cards match the dealer’s up-card and ‘Doubling Down’, where you can double your bet with a pair of cards.

There is no set limit on how much a player can place on a side bet, but it usually has to be a greater amount than the main wager.

Surrender – The Fifth Option

After being dealt the first two cards, if a player feels that their hand is not good enough to beat the dealer, they can “surrender.” This means that they will give up half of their original bet and not play any further.

Some casinos do not allow a player to’surrender’ if they are holding a 10-valued card or a pair of aces, but this can vary from casino to casino.

A blackjack is a combination of an ace with any other card, combining them to sum up to 21 and beating all other hands that are not a blackjack.