Blackjack (Black Jack) is one of the most popular casino card games worldwide, and it’s also the only game where a dedicated player can actually earn a profit. The reason is because it’s a simple game to play, and the basic strategy allows for an edge over the dealer.
The aim of the game is to acquire a hand of cards with a higher total face count than that of the dealer, without exceeding 21. Aces count either 1 or 11, and number cards 2 to 10 are worth their face value. Suits are irrelevant in most variations of the game.
Each player places their initial bets and the dealer deals each person two cards. The players may then choose whether to double their bets or not. A double bet requires doubling the amount of the original wager. If a player receives an ace and a ten-card (a “blackjack”) they win the game.
If the dealer has a blackjack, they pay out the players’ bets immediately (but do not collect them). If a player has a natural and the dealer does not, the player’s bet is returned to them. If the dealer has a natural but the player does not, the dealer pays out all of the players’ bets except for those who did not stand.
When a player stands, they will be dealt additional cards until they either bust or they reach the desired total. When a player is satisfied with their hand they can ask for another card (‘hit’). The dealer will then reveal their cards and either pay or collect the stakes of the players.
In some varieties of blackjack, a player may split their cards and play them as separate hands. This is a risky move, but it can increase their chances of winning. However, it’s important to remember that splitting a pair of aces will result in an ace and a five-card. Therefore, the player must be careful to select their cards carefully.
Some variants of blackjack allow players to double down on certain combinations of cards, but others restrict when a player can do this. For example, some variations of blackjack allow a player to double down on any two cards of the same rank, while in other cases the player can only double down on a total of 9, 10, or 11.
Other rules vary between different games of blackjack. For example, some variations of the game require that a dealer must hit on a soft 17, while in others they must stand. This rule variation can have a significant impact on the correct strategy for some hands, and should be taken into account when learning the game.
In addition, some blackjack games offer side bets such as Perfect Pairs. A player wins a Perfect Pairs bet if their first two cards form a pair (a pair of matching cards). These side bets are typically offered when the game is played in an environment with table limits of $50 or more.