The Basics of Blackjack


Blackjack is a card game that has both a little luck and a lot of skill. The luck part has to do with the cards that are dealt to you, while the skill has to do with learning some basic strategy and making appropriate decisions. The goal of the game is to make a hand that totals closer to 21 than the dealer’s.

The dealer and the players get two cards each, face up. The player may then decide to stand (stop drawing cards) or hit (request more cards) based on predetermined rules. The dealer also must draw cards to their own hand based on these same rules. The winner is whoever has a hand value higher than the dealer’s.

Before the deal, the players place their bets in the betting box. They then have to choose whether they want to split a pair of matching cards or to continue drawing additional cards until the hand reaches a certain point (usually 17 or more). If you have a pair of aces, for example, you should always split them unless the dealer has an ace up.

Once all the players have made their decisions the dealer deals each player two more cards, face up. The player can then choose to hit again (draw another card) or to stand. The dealer must continue to draw cards until their hand reaches 17 or more. If the dealer’s hand is a blackjack, the player loses.

If the dealer’s up card is an ace, the player can take insurance, which pays 2-1 on a blackjack. The player must pay half of the original bet on the hand to take this option. In this case, if the dealer has a blackjack and the player’s blackjack ties it, no money changes hands on the original bet; however, the player wins $10 on the 2-1 insurance payoff.

In some casinos, players can double their bet after receiving their first two cards if they are confident that their hand will beat the dealer. This can be one of the most profitable options in the game, but is also one of the most risky.

In casino blackjack, cash is not used to make bets; instead, chips are used. A player places the desired number of chips in each of the betting boxes around the table. If you don’t have enough chips to cover your bet, you can ask the dealer for more. The dealer will exchange the cash for chips and set them neatly in front of you on the table. Then you can begin the round of play.