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Blackjack 101: A Beginner’s Rulebook for Playing the Game

Amongst one of the most complicated games of chance, Blackjack is a casino staple and a crowd favorite. Often touted as one of the best casino card games, you might be wondering about the rules of playing Blackjack.

How to play Blackjack?

A simple card game, the purpose of the game is to beat the dealer by scoring closer to 21. There is a catch, though. You cannot ‘bust,’ i.e., your hand value cannot go above 21, or it gets counted as an automatic loss. A big part of Blackjack’s popularity is that unlike poker and other standard card games, it is played against the house and not against other players.

What are the card values?

Each card in the deck has a corresponding card value from 1-11. The number cards have the same amount as its number, for example, a two of hearts will have 2 points, a 6 of spades will have 6 points, so on and so forth. All the picture cards, on the other hand, have a value of 10 points. So be it a jack, a queen, or a king, the card’s worth would be 10 points.

One exciting fact when counting points is that the value of an ace can change depending on your hand. You can consider the Ace to be of either 1 point or 11, and the player decides which one they prefer.

Once the cards are on the table, the player has an option to hit or stay. It gets dictated by the value of the cards they get.

Bets and Payouts

While the exact payment depends on the amount that is bet, the percentage of return might vary depending on how you beat the dealer.

If the hand is closer to 21 than the dealer’s, or if the dealer goes bust, then the payout is at a 1:1 ratio. On the other hand, if you are fortunate enough to be dealt Blackjack in your first two cards (i.e., an ace and a card with 10 points), the payout is at a 3:2 ratio. Any completed hand with the same value as the dealer or with a blackjack along with the dealer is considered a push, and you get to take your bet back.

The basic strategy

The most straightforward blackjack strategy is that the player has to draw another card if the dealer’s open card is worth seven or higher, and the player has fewer than 16 in total. When the dealer has a seven or higher card, and the player’s total is more than 17, they should stop.

The common rule of thumb is to remember when to stop and try and remember the cards that get played. Online games are a good starting point for players just learning how to play.