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Blackjack Rules Explained

blackjack rules usa casino gameBlackjack rules are quite simple and, with some practice, are easy to grasp. There are two vital things to do when learning how to play blackjack – remember the casino blackjack rules and repetition. Blackjack is a popular card game which US players can find at all casinos online and offline.

The 21 card game, as it’s also known, is a banked game, which means that you play against the house (a dealer) rather than other players. The aim of blackjack (as the name alludes) is to get a hand closer to 21 than the dealer without going over it.

So, in our blackjack rulebook, we’ll be looking at the basic blackjack rules that US players can read and use as a guide the next time they play. We’ll also be taking a look at the blackjack dealer rules so that you have an idea about what’s happening with your opponent. Finally, we’ll be looking at the rules that vary either depending on where you’re playing and the variation of the game you’re playing at online gambling sites.

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Blackjack Rules Guide Content

Casino Blackjack Rules

Let’s take a look at some fundamental online casino blackjack rules. These will help you not only understand the game but also become a better player. After all, knowing the rules will help you understand any blackjack strategy you might consider using.

  • Blackjack Rule 1: The aim of the blackjack game is to beat the dealer’s hand without going over 21.
  • Blackjack Rule 2: Each player begins with two cards. One of the dealer’s cards is dealt face down until the end of the round.
  • Blackjack Rule 3: The player asks for another card by asking for a ‘hit’; saying that you ‘stand’ means that you’re keeping your hand as is and are ending your turn.
  • Blackjack Rule 4: If your hand goes over 21, you bust and lose the turn. The dealer wins regardless of whether or not their hand is over or under 21.
  • Blackjack Rule 5: If your hand that’s dealt at the start totals 21, you’ve got a blackjack. This means that you get 1.5 your bet amount, depending on the casino.
  • Blackjack Rule 6: The dealer hits until their card is 17 or higher.
  • Blackjack Rule 7: If you go for a doubling, this is a hit where you only get one more card but your bet is doubled.
  • Blackjack Rule 8: A split is done when you have two of the same cards. This splits your hand into two hands.
  • Blackjack Rule 9: Splitting also doubles the bet as each new hand is worth the original bet.
  • Blackjack Rule 10: Splitting and doubling can only happen on the first move or on the first move of a hand created by a split.
  • Blackjack Rule 10: Playing on two Aces after they’re split isn’t allowed.
  • Blackjack Rule 11: However, you can double on a hand resulting from a split, which triples or quadruples your bet.

Blackjack Card Values

The online blackjack game is played with a traditional 52-card deck. Blackjack card values are as follows.

  • Blackjack card values for numerical cards from 2 to 10 have the same value.
  • Face cards like Jack, Queen, and King all have a blackjack card value of 10.
  • Aces have a card value of either 1 or 11 depending on what makes your hand better i.e. gets it closer to 21. A hand with an 11 Ace is known as a ‘soft’ hand. While all the other hands are ‘hard’ hands.
  • If your starting hand has an Ace and a 10, this hand is called a blackjack and beats all other hands except for another blackjack.
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Blackjack Dealer Rules

Below are the basic blackjack dealer rules. In order to know how to beat the house, it’s important to know what’s going on with the dealer.

  • Blackjack Dealer Rule 1: The card that’s dealt face-down – the hole card – is revealed at the end of the round.
  • Blackjack Dealer Rule 2: If the card total is 16 points or lower, the dealer will always draw another card. They will continue drawing until the house hand is at a minimum of 17 or until it goes bust.
  • Blackjack Dealer Rule 3: if they have 17 points off the deal without an Ace, the dealer will stand even if the player has a larger total.
  • Blackjack Dealer Rule 4: Lastly, if the dealer has a soft 17 hand (a hand with an Ace and any other cards that combine to make six points), they will have to take at least one more card. They will continue taking a card until the house’s hand becomes a hard 17 or higher, or it goes over 21.

Blackjack Rules Variations

Some games have blackjack rules variations. These can vary depending on the casino and the blackjack game that you’re playing. Below we look at some of the areas that would have blackjack rules variations.

Blackjack Payout

How much a blackjack game pays out is dependent on the house and what they set.

  • If both you and the dealer have equal unbusted totals, then the hand is considered a push and you get your bet back.
  • However, if you (the player) win a hand, you’ll be paid out 1:1 on the total bet. So, if you bet $10, then you’d bet $20 back – $10 bet back and $10 winnings.
  • If a player has blackjack, they get paid 3:2. For example, if you bet $10 and got a blackjack hand, then you’ll get $25 back – $10 bet back plus $15 winnings.
  • Lastly, if you placed an Insurance bet and the dealer has blackjack, blackjack rules dictate that the player’s hand loses but the Insurance bet is paid out at 2:1. So, if you bet $10 on your hand and $5 on the Insurance bet and you lose the hand, you’ll lost the $10 bet and be paid $15 – $5 Insurance and $10 winnings. Essentially, this results in a push overall.

Dealing Blackjack Cards

Some casinos deal a player’s first two-cards face down. After that, all subsequent cards are dealt face up. The only time you have to reveal your initial pair is if it goes bust or it’s split. Then, the dealer reveals the cards at the end of the round when settling bets. However, this is now a rare style of playing as casinos want to reduce the risk of card marking.

When playing a European-style 21 card game, the dealer’s first two initial cards are dealt at the beginning of the round. Then, the second card is dealt after all players have acted and the dealer checks for blackjack. If there’s a player with blackjack, they’re paid out at the end of the round should the dealer not have it. Should the dealer have blackjack, some casinos will take both bets while others will only take the initial bet and return the other.

Blackjack Splits

When it comes to blackjack game splits, these depend on the rules of the house. You may find that some US casinos only allow one split. For instance, when splitting 10 value cards, not all casinos will allow players to split non-matching 10 value cards. Therefore, you could split two Jacks but not a King and a Jack. Furthermore, some casinos will limit which cards can be split.

Additionally, house rules dictate whether the player can double after splitting, and if a player that splits Aces is allowed to get more than one extra card on a hand.

Blackjack Surrender Rules

Lastly, it’s important to note that not all casinos offer the Surrender option. While a few may offer Early Surrender (when a player can take back half of their bet and give up their hand before the dealer checks for blackjack), this is now rare.

European-style blackjack games normally don’t have a Surrender option.
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