How to Play Blackjack

The Blackjack game is played with the dealer distributing two cards to each player, including himself. The first of these cards is dealt face down, and the next is dealt face up. From there a player can ask for more cards by asking for a “hit” or taping the table with two fingers. Once a player has reached either 21, or his hand limit they can “stay” which indicates to the dealer that they do not want any more cards.

Players are also able to double-down if they choose to. In this instance, players will be dealt one more card and can increase their initial bet by up to 100% depending on table rules. The gesture for this is typically to place your double-down bet beside your original, and point with one finger signaling that you want one more card.

A split is another popular technique when players receive cards that have the same value. This allows a player to have two hands. This is a good decision when you have cards that are valued at 10 as that starter card offers the best chance to reach 21, or build a strong hard against the dealer.

The number of decks used in blackjack greatly impacts the house edge. A single deck offers a 0.17 percent advantage for the house. By adding a second deck, that edge more than doubled to 0.46 percent. At four decks, the house edge will increase to 0.60 percent.

A multitude of strategies exist for playing blackjack, but these all depend on the number of decks and the table rules that impact what the strength of a dealer’s hand. However, it is important to remember that blackjack remains the most popular game at the casino – it’s generally the easiest to understand, and dealers are usually forthright in explaining more advanced rules to players.

The point of blackjack is to beat the dealer’s hand-total in each round. You do this by adding up the face value of the cards in your hand. If you exceed 21, then you will bust and lose your wager. However, if the dealer busts, then all players who are still alive in the round will automatically win.

Blackjack Rules

Blackjack Main Rule

The main goal in Blackjack is to beat the dealer. 21 is of course the number to focus on, but playing the dealer’s hand is the best rule to remember for success.

Blackjack Game Variants of European or American

European Blackjack: Players are dealt two cards face-up in front of their boxes (location of chips/bet placement) and the dealer receives one card and then takes their hole card after dealing the other player’s cards.

Atlantic City Blackjack: Players are dealt two cards face-up in front of their boxes (location of chips/bet placement) and the dealer receives one card face up and a second card face down.

Blackjack Deck Count

Blackjack can be played with several decks, or just one deck. As the number of decks increase, the odds of beating the dealer decrease.

Blackjack Card Values

When an Ace appears on the table or in your hand, you have the choice of either using the Ace a 1 or 11 points toward your total. Cards numbered 2 through 10 are actual value and all faces are worth 10 points toward your hand total.

Blackjack Hole Card

The dealer will draw two cards, but the second card is typically face-down on the table. The second card that is face-down is known as the Hole Card.

Blackjack Insurance

Many games of Blackjack will allow what is called ‘insurance.’ Insurance is where a dealer draws an Ace face-up and you are offered a ‘side bet’ worth 2:1 payout if the dealer hits Blackjack. You are only allowed to bet up to half the value of your chips, thus breaking even on your hand is possible.

Blackjack Terminology

Help in understanding how to play the 21 card game

First and foremost, a player should understand some simple terminology when it comes to betting blackjack online.


Accept the next card in the deck.


Refuse the next card in the deck.


When a player or dealer exceeds “21” or the given limit of the table.

Soft or Hard Hand

The definitions vary in general, but a soft hand specifically has an ace involved. Since the ace card can count as 1 or 11, it allows you to flex the total underhand depending on what card you have.


When you have duplicate cards (2,2 or J,J etc.) you have the option to split these cards in to two hands. The dealer will deal you additional cards to fill the hands and you will play each hand out.


When player and dealer have the same total in their hands, the bets are “pushed” back. This is the equivalent of a draw where you don’t win anything or lose anything.

After all the bets have been submitted, the dealer will deal the cards to each player. When you bet blackjack, players act first and the dealer goes last. At this point, you can choose to split your cards if that is an option for you. The dealer then asks each player if they would like to hit or stay. Once you have played your hand, the dealer will proceed to the next player counter-clockwise around the table.

Once each player has had a chance to assemble their hands, the dealer will then play out their hand. They begin by showing what they have and then building up their hands past a value of 17. If you beat the dealer’s total, or the dealer busts, you win the 21 card game!