Blackjack’s popularity continues to grow and it is by far the most popular of all the table games the casinos offer.

Value of the Cards

The following cards are counted as 10s, and have that value for adding purposes to ascertain the total of the hand: 10, jack, queen and king. Cards 2 to 9 are counted at face value, i.e. a 2 has a value of two, a 3 of three and so on up to 9. The ace is the most powerful card in blackjack, and one of the reasons for its importance is that it can be valued, at the option of the player, as either 1 or 11.

Dealer follows the rules set forth by the casino, which is to stand on hands 17 or more, and draw to all hands of 16 or less.

Object of the Game

The object of the game is to beat the dealer, either by having a hand higher than the dealer’s total, or a valid hand of whatever total, while the dealer ‘busts’ or goes over 21. The player’s aim should be to draw cards that add up to 21 or as close to 21, without going over.

The Original Hand

The cards are dealt one at a time, the player to the dealer’s left getting the first card and then each player after that getting a card in clock–wise fashion. Then, the dealer deals himself a card. The second card is dealt to each player, in the same order. This combination of two cards is your original hand.

The highest total you can get is 21; an Ace and a 10 value card. This is called a Blackjack. Once you have your original hand of two cards in front of you, it is time to take a decision according to the following options.

Player Options

Hit: You may draw as many cards as you wish, but if you go over 21, you lose.

Stand: You may choose to stand on your original hand. That is, you do not wish to draw another card.

Double Down: You may double down on any two cards, i.e. double the size of your bet. When you do this, you will receive an additional card, and one card only.

Split Pairs: You may split any matching cards of the same rank (pairs), if dealt as an original hand. For example, if you are dealt two 8s, these may be split by placing another bet equal to that of the first hand. You may split a pair of aces only once, a pair with a value of 2 to 9 two times, and a pair of tens any number of times. However, a pair of 10s should not be split because the total 20 is second highest after 21.

Insurance: If the dealer has an ace showing, you may take out an insurance bet against the dealer’s possible blackjack. The insurance bet can be up to half of the original bet and pays 2 to 1 provided the dealer draws a blackjack. If the dealer doesn’t get a blackjack, then the bet is lost.

Tie: In case the dealer and you have equal points (tie), neither the dealer nor the player wins. This is also called a push.

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