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Blackjack Rules Explained – A Concise Rulebook



blackjack rules usa casino gameBlackjack rules are easy to grasp. Blackjack is a banked game, which means that you play against the house (a dealer) rather than other players. The aim of blackjack is to get a hand closer to 21 than the dealer without going over it.

In our blackjack rulebook, we’ll be looking at the basic blackjack rules you need to know to play the game properly. We’ll also be taking a look at the dealer’s rules, so you have an idea of what’s happening with your opponent. So, read on and become a pro today!

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Blackjack Rules Links

blackjack rules

Casino Blackjack Rules

Let’s take a look at some fundamental online casino blackjack rules. These will help you understand the game and become a better player. After all, knowing the rules will help you understand any strategy you may consider using.

Rules 1-5

  • Blackjack Rule 1: The aim of the blackjack game is to beat the dealer’s hand without going over 21. A lot of people think the aim is to get a score of 21, but you need to beat the dealer
  • s score.
  • 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. This rule can vary according to the variation being played.
  • Blackjack Rule 3: The player asks for another card by asking for a ‘hit’. When you ‘stand’, it means you’re keeping your hand as is and are ending your turn.
  • Blackjack Rule 4: If your hand goes over 21, you are bust and lose the turn. The dealer wins regardless of whether their hand is over or under 21. This rule increases the game’s house edge slightly.
  • Blackjack Rule 5: If your starting hand totals to 21, you’ve got a natural blackjack. This means that you get 1.5 your bet amount, depending on the casino and the variation of the game.

Rules 6-11

  • Blackjack Rule 6: The dealer hits until their hand is worth a total of 17 or higher.
  • Blackjack Rule 7: If you go for a doubling, you get one additional 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 the first move of a hand created by a split.
  • Blackjack Rule 10: Playing on a pair of aces after they’re split isn’t allowed.
  • Blackjack Rule 11: You can double on a hand resulting from a split, which triples or quadruples your bet.

The number of decks used in a game of blackjack varies according to the variation being played. Keep in mind that the greater the number of deck of cards, the higher the odds against you.
rules for blackjack card values

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 natural blackjack. It beats all other hands except for a dealer natural, which in most variations would end in a push.
blackjack rules for dealers

Blackjack Dealer Rules

Below are the basic blackjack rules for dealers. You need to know what’s going on with the dealer to make the best moves in blackjack:

  • 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 busts.
  • 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 rule variants

Blackjack Rules Variations

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

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 – your $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 – your $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 lose the $10 bet and be paid $15 – $5 Insurance and $10 winnings. Essentially, this results in a push overall.
blackjack rules for dealers

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 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 and deter card counters.

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.
rules for blackjack splits

Blackjack Splits

The rules regarding blackjack splits vary between casinos. You may find that some casinos only allow some splits. 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.

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.
rules for blackjack surrender

Blackjack Surrender Rules

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

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

Check out our other blackjack guides:

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