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Seasoned punters will find calculating odds to be second nature but for beginners the prospect of getting to grips with what odds mean and in particular grappling with fractional odds can be a daunting one. Even if you're an experienced punter this Masterclass on understanding odds offers you the chance to refresh your thinking on identifying value based on the implied probability of odds. Traditionally, odds in the UK are expressed as a fraction. These odds can be used to calculate your net profit excluding your stake and although they seem complicated the method of calculation is relatively straightforward. This is best explained using an example. So whatever your stake is you can multiply it by 1.

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Blackjack betting rules

If a player chooses to take insurance they place an additional bet equal to half of their original bet. This insurance bet wins if the dealer has Blackjack. The dealer now checks their down card to see if they have Blackjack. If they have Blackjack they expose their down card. The round is concluded and all players lose their original bet unless they also have Blackjack. If a player and the dealer each have Blackjack the result is a push and the player's bet is returned.

Any insurance bets are paid out at If the dealer does not have Blackjack any insurance bets are lost and any players who have Blackjack are paid. It is then the turn of the remaining players to take their actions. Starting with the player sitting furthest to dealer's left they have the following options:. The player can take this action after any of the other player actions as long as their hand total is not more than The hand signal to Stand is waving a flat hand over the cards.

Hit — If the player wishes to take another card they signal to the dealer to by scratching the felt beside their hand or pointing to their hand. A single card is then played face up onto their hand. If the hand total is less than 21 the player can choose to Hit again or Stand. If the total is 21 the hand automatically stands.

Double Down — If the player considers they have a favourable hand, generally a total of 9, 10 or 11, they can choose to 'Double Down'. To do this they place a second wager equal to their first beside their first wager. A player who doubles down receives exactly one more card face up and is then forced to stand regardless of the total. This option is only available on the player's two-card starting hand. Some casinos will restrict which starting hand totals can be doubled.

Where the player chooses to do this the cards are separated and an additional card is dealt to complete each hand. If either hand receives a second card of matching rank the player may be offered the option to split again, though this depends on the rules in the casino. Generally the player is allowed a maximum of 4 hands after which no further splits are allowed. The split hands are played one at a time in the order in which they were dealt, from the dealer's left to the dealer's right.

The player has all the usual options: stand, hit or double down. Some casinos restrict the card ranks that can be split and may also restrict the option to Double after splitting a pair. A player who splits Aces is usually only allowed to receive a single additional card on each hand. Normally players are allowed to split two non-matching value cards, for example a King and a Jack.

However, some casinos restrict the splitting of ten value cards to pairs of the same rank two Jacks for instance. It should be noted in any case that splitting 10's is almost always a poor play for the player. If Aces are split and the player draws a Ten or if Tens are split and the player draws an Ace, the resulting hand does not count as a Blackjack but only as an ordinary In this case the player's two-card 21 will push tie with dealer's 21 in three or more cards.

Surrender — Some casinos allow a player to surrender, taking back half their bet and giving up their hand. Surrender must be the player's first and only action on the hand. In the most usual version, known as Late Surrender, it is after the dealer has checked the hole card and does not have a Blackjack.

It has become increasingly rare for casinos to offer the surrender option. After all players have completed their actions the dealer plays their hand according to fixed rules. First they will reveal their down card. The dealer will then continue to take cards until they have a total of 17 or higher. This rule will be clearly printed on the felt of the table. If the dealer busts all non-busted player hands are automatically winners.

If a player wins a hand they are paid out at on the total bet wagered on that hand. This effectively results in a push overall for the hand. In some casinos the players' initial two-card hands are dealt face down. All additional cards dealt to the player are given face up. The initial cards are revealed by the player if the hand goes bust, or if the player wishes to split a pair.

Otherwise the dealer reveals the cards at the end of the round when it is time to settle the bets. This style of game is rare nowadays: casinos don't like to allow players to touch the cards, because of the risk of card marking. Dealer's second card is dealt after all players have acted, and the dealer checks for Blackjack at this point.

Player Blackjacks are paid at the end of the round if the dealer does not have Blackjack. If the dealer has Blackjack the rules regarding Doubled and Split hands vary from casino to casino. Some casinos will take both bets while others will only take the initial bet and return the other. It should be noted that some casinos have started to offer a reduced payout on Blackjack, most commonly This is very bad for the player, increasing the House Edge significantly. Any game offering a reduced payout on Blackjack should be avoided by players.

The maximum number of hands that can be created by splitting depends on the rules in the casino: some only allow one split. When splitting 10 value cards, not all casinos will allow players to split non-matching 10 cards. For instance, in some casinos you could split two Jacks but could not split a King and a Jack.

Some casinos will limit which card ranks can be split, for example no splitting of 10s or splits only allowed on 8s and Aces. House rules will dictate whether the player is allowed to Double after splitting, and whether a player who splits Aces is allowed to receive more than one additional card on a hand. A few casinos may offer Early Surrender in which the player can take back half of their bet and give up their hand before the dealer checks for Blackjack.

This is very rare nowadays. In European style games there is normally no Surrender option. If Surrender were offered it would of course have to be Early Surrender. The side rule is rarely offered. When it is in effect, a player who collects a hand of five cards two cards plus three hits without going bust is immediately paid even money, irrespective of the dealer's hand.

Blackjack can be played at home, rather than in a casino. In this case a fancy Blackjack table is not needed: just at least one pack of cards and something to bet with - cash, chips or maybe matches. Unless the players have agreed in advance that the host should deal throughout, to ensure a fair game the participants should take turns to be the dealer.

The turn to deal can pass to the next player in clockwise order after every hand or every five hands or whatever the players agree. If playing with a single deck of cards, it is desirable to re-shuffle the cards after every hand. Nightclubs and pubs in Sweden often offer a Blackjack variant that is less favourable to the players.

All the essential rules are the same as in the casino version unless the player and dealer have an equal total of 17, 18 or In the casino version the player's stake is returned in these situations, but in Swedish pubs the house wins. First and foremost, as a general rule the player should never take Insurance. Unless using an advanced and mathematically proven strategy that will alert the player to the rare situations in which Insurance is worthwhile, it should be avoided as a bad bet for the player.

Next, it should be understood that every possible combination of player hands and dealer up card has a mathematically correct play. These can be summarized in what is known as a Basic Strategy table. However, certain plays in the table need to be modified according to the specific combination of rules in force.

To be sure of playing correctly, it is necessary to generate a Basic Strategy table for the specific rules of the game being played. Various tools are available online to do this. We would recommend this Blackjack Basic Strategy Calculator. It should be noted that even playing perfect Basic Strategy for the rule set in play, the player will still usually be at a disadvantage. Card Counting provides the player a mathematically provable opportunity to gain an advantage over the house.

It must be understood that this does not guarantee that the player will win. Just as a regular player may win though good luck despite playing at a disadvantage, it is perfectly possible for the Card Counter to lose through an extended period of bad luck even though playing with a small advantage over the House. The basic premise of Card Counting is that mathematically speaking, low cards on average are beneficial to the dealer while high cards favour the player.

There are many subtle reasons for this but the most significant are:. So the Card Counter looks for times when there are more high cards left to be played than a regular deck would have. Rather than trying to remember each card that has been played, the Card Counter will usually use a ratio system that offsets cards that are good for the player against cards that are good for the dealer.

The most commonly used Card Counting system is the HiLo count , which values cards as follows:. To keep track the player starts at zero, adds one to the total every time a low card is played and subtracts one from the total when a high card is played. It may seem counter-intuitive to subtract one for high value cards that are good for the player, but a high card that has been played is one less high card that is left to be played. Where the Running Count is positive the player knows that there are more player favourable cards remaining to be played.

That is, there could be up to three players at each position at a table in jurisdictions that allow back betting. The player whose bet is at the front of the betting box is deemed to have control over the position, and the dealer will consult the controlling player for playing decisions regarding the hand; the other players of that box are said to "play behind".

Any player is usually allowed to control or bet in as many boxes as desired at a single table, but it is prohibited for an individual to play on more than one table at a time or to place multiple bets within a single box. In many U. The dealer deals cards from their left the position on the dealer's far left is often referred to as "first base" to their far right "third base".

Each box is dealt an initial hand of two cards visible to the people playing on it, and often to any other players. The dealer's hand receives its first card face up, and in "hole card" games immediately receives its second card face down the hole card , which the dealer peeks at but does not reveal unless it makes the dealer's hand a blackjack.

Hole card games are sometimes played on tables with a small mirror or electronic sensor that is used to peek securely at the hole card. In European casinos, "no hole card" games are prevalent; the dealer's second card is neither drawn nor consulted until the players have all played their hands. Cards are dealt either from one or two handheld decks, from a dealer's shoe , or from a shuffling machine.

Single cards are dealt to each wagered-on position clockwise from the dealer's left, followed by a single card to the dealer, followed by an additional card to each of the positions in play. The players' initial cards may be dealt face up or face down more common in single-deck games. On their turn, players must choose whether to "hit" take a card , "stand" end their turn , "double" double wager, take a single card and finish , "split" if the two cards have the same value, separate them to make two hands or "surrender" give up a half-bet and retire from the game.

Number cards count as their natural value; the jack, queen, and king also known as "face cards" or "pictures" count as 10; aces are valued as either 1 or 11 according to the player's choice. If the hand value exceeds 21 points, it busts, and all bets on it are immediately forfeit. After all boxes have finished playing, the dealer's hand is resolved by drawing cards until the hand busts or achieves a value of 17 or higher a dealer total of 17 including an ace valued as 11, also known as a "soft 17", must be drawn to in some games and must stand in others.

The dealer never doubles, splits, or surrenders. If the dealer busts, all remaining player hands win. If the dealer does not bust, each remaining bet wins if its hand is higher than the dealer's, and loses if it is lower.

If a player receives 21 on the 1st and 2nd card it is considered a "natural" or "blackjack" and the player is paid out immediately unless dealer also has a natural, in which case the hand ties. In the case of a tied score, known as "push" or "standoff", bets are normally returned without adjustment; however, a blackjack beats any hand that is not a blackjack, even one with a value of Wins are paid out at , or equal to the wager, except for player blackjacks which are traditionally paid at meaning the player receives three dollars for every two bet or one-and-a-half times the wager.

Many casinos today pay blackjacks at less than at some tables; for instance, single-deck blackjack tables often pay for a blackjack instead of Blackjack games almost always provide a side bet called insurance, which may be played when dealer's upcard is an ace. Additional side bets, such as "Dealer Match" which pays when the player's cards match the dealer's up card, are sometimes available.

After receiving an initial two cards, the player has up to four standard options: "hit", "stand", "double down", or "split". Each option has a corresponding hand signal. Some games give the player a fifth option, "surrender". Hand signals are used to assist the " eye in the sky ", a person or video camera located above the table and sometimes concealed behind one-way glass. The eye in the sky usually makes a video recording of the table, which helps in resolving disputes and identifying dealer mistakes, and is also used to protect the casino against dealers who steal chips or players who cheat.

The recording can further be used to identify advantage players whose activities, while legal, make them undesirable customers. In the event of a disagreement between a player's hand signals and their words, the hand signal takes precedence. Each hand may normally "hit" as many times as desired so long as the total is not above hard On reaching 21 including soft 21 , the hand is normally required to stand; busting is an irrevocable loss and the players' wagers are immediately forfeited to the house.

After a bust or a stand, play proceeds to the next hand clockwise around the table. When the last hand has finished being played, the dealer reveals the hole card, and stands or draws further cards according to the rules of the game for dealer drawing. When the outcome of the dealer's hand is established, any hands with bets remaining on the table are resolved usually in counterclockwise order : bets on losing hands are forfeited, the bet on a push is left on the table, and winners are paid out.

This is a side bet that the dealer has a ten-value card as the down card, giving the dealer a Blackjack. The dealer will ask for insurance bets from all players before the first player plays. If the dealer has a ten, the insurance bet pays In most casinos, the dealer then peeks at the down card and pays or takes the insurance bet immediately.

In other casinos, the payoff waits until the end of the play. In face-down games, if you are playing more than one hand, you are allowed to look at all of your hands before deciding. This is the only time that you are allowed to look at the second hand before playing the first hand.

Using one hand, look at your hands one at a time. Players with a blackjack may also take insurance, and in taking maximum insurance they will win an amount equal to their main wager. Fully insuring a blackjack against blackjack is thus referred to as "taking even money". There is no difference in results between taking even money and insuring a blackjack.

Insurance bets are expected to lose money in the long run, because the dealer is likely to have a blackjack less than one-third of the time. However the insurance outcome is strongly anti-correlated with that of the main wager, and if the player's priority is to reduce variance , they might choose to make this bet. The insurance bet is susceptible to advantage play. It is advantageous to make an insurance bet whenever the hole card has more than a one in three chance of being a ten.

Card counting techniques can identify such situations. Note: where changes in the house edge due to changes in the rules are stated in percentage terms, the difference is usually stated here in percentage points , not percentage. The rules of casino blackjack are generally determined by law or regulation, which establishes certain rule variations allowed at the discretion of the casino.

The rule variations of any particular game are generally posted on or near the table. You can ask the dealer if the variations are not clearly posted. Over variations of blackjack have been documented. As with all casino games, blackjack incorporates a "house edge", a statistical advantage for the casino that is built into the game.

This house edge is primarily due to the fact that the player will lose when both the player and dealer bust. This is not true in games where blackjack pays as that rule increases the house edge by about 1. The expected loss rate of players who deviate from basic strategy through poor play will be greater, often much greater.

Surrender, for those games that allow it, is usually not permitted against a dealer blackjack; if the dealer's first card is an ace or ten, the hole card is checked to make sure there is no blackjack before surrender is offered. This rule protocol is consequently known as "late" surrender.

The alternative, "early" surrender, gives player the option to surrender before the dealer checks for blackjack, or in a no-hole-card game. Early surrender is much more favorable to the player than late surrender. For late surrender, however, while it is tempting to opt for surrender on any hand which will probably lose, the correct strategy is to only surrender on the very worst hands, because having even a one in four chance of winning the full bet is better than losing half the bet and pushing the other half, as entailed by surrendering.

In most non-U. With no hole card, it is almost never correct basic strategy to double or split against a dealer ten or ace, since a dealer blackjack will result in the loss of the split and double bets; the only exception is with a pair of aces against a dealer 10, where it is still correct to split.

In all other cases, a stand, hit or surrender is called for. For instance, holding 11 against a dealer 10, the correct strategy is to double in a hole card game where the player knows the dealer's second card is not an ace , but to hit in a no hole card game. The no hole card rule adds approximately 0. The "original bets only" rule variation appearing in certain no hole card games states that if the player's hand loses to a dealer blackjack, only the mandatory initial bet "original" is forfeited, and all optional bets, meaning doubles and splits, are pushed.

Each blackjack game has a basic strategy , which prescribes the optimal method of playing any hand against any dealer up-card so that the long-term house advantage the expected loss of the player is minimized. An example of a basic strategy is shown in the table below, which applies to a game with the following specifications: [16].

The bulk of basic strategy is common to all blackjack games, with most rule variations calling for changes in only a few situations. For example, to use the table above on a game with the stand on soft 17 rule which favors the player, and is typically found only at higher-limit tables today only 6 cells would need to be changed: hit on 11 vs. A, hit on 15 vs. A, stand on 17 vs. A, stand on A,7 vs. Regardless of the specific rule variations, taking insurance or "even money" is never the correct play under basic strategy.

Estimates of the house edge for blackjack games quoted by casinos and gaming regulators are generally based on the assumption that the players follow basic strategy and do not systematically change their bet size. Most blackjack games have a house edge of between 0. Casino promotions such as complimentary match play vouchers or blackjack payouts allow the player to acquire an advantage without deviating from basic strategy.

Basic strategy is based upon a player's point total and the dealer's visible card. Players may be able to improve on this decision by considering the precise composition of their hand, not just the point total. For example, players should ordinarily stand when holding 12 against a dealer 4.

However, in a single deck game, players should hit if their 12 consists of a 10 and a 2. The presence of a 10 in the player's hand has two consequences: [17]. However, even when basic and composition-dependent strategy lead to different actions, the difference in expected reward is small, and it becomes even smaller with more decks.

Using a composition-dependent strategy rather than basic strategy in a single deck game reduces the house edge by 4 in 10,, which falls to 3 in , for a six-deck game. Blackjack has been a high-profile target for advantage players since the s. Advantage play is the attempt to win more using skills such as memory, computation, and observation.

These techniques, while generally legal, can be powerful enough to give the player a long-term edge in the game, making them an undesirable customer for the casino and potentially leading to ejection or blacklisting if they are detected. The main techniques of advantage play in blackjack are as follows:. During the course of a blackjack shoe, the dealer exposes the dealt cards. Careful accounting of the exposed cards allows a player to make inferences about the cards which remain to be dealt.

These inferences can be used in the following ways:. A card counting system assigns a point score to each rank of card e. When a card is exposed, a counter adds the score of that card to a running total, the 'count'. A card counter uses this count to make betting and playing decisions according to a table which they have learned. The count starts at 0 for a freshly shuffled deck for "balanced" counting systems. Unbalanced counts are often started at a value which depends on the number of decks used in the game.

Blackjack's house edge is usually between 0. Card counting is most rewarding near the end of a complete shoe when as few as possible cards remain. Single-deck games are therefore particularly advantageous to the card counting player. As a result, casinos are more likely to insist that players do not reveal their cards to one another in single-deck games.

In games with more decks of cards, casinos limit penetration by ending the shoe and reshuffling when one or more decks remain undealt. Casinos also sometimes use a shuffling machine to reintroduce the exhausted cards every time a deck has been played. Card counting is legal and is not considered cheating as long as the counter is not using an external device, [20] : 6—7 but if a casino realizes players are counting, the casino might inform them that they are no longer welcome to play blackjack.

Sometimes a casino might ban a card counter from the property. The use of external devices to help counting cards is illegal in all US states that license blackjack card games. Techniques other than card counting can swing the advantage of casino blackjack toward the player. All such techniques are based on the value of the cards to the player and the casino as originally conceived by Edward O. Shuffle tracking requires excellent eyesight and powers of visual estimation but is more difficult to detect since the player's actions are largely unrelated to the composition of the cards in the shoe.

Arnold Snyder's articles in Blackjack Forum magazine brought shuffle tracking to the general public. His book, The Shuffle Tracker's Cookbook, mathematically analyzed the player edge available from shuffle tracking based on the actual size of the tracked slug. Jerry L. Patterson also developed and published a shuffle-tracking method for tracking favorable clumps of cards and cutting them into play and tracking unfavorable clumps of cards and cutting them out of play.

The player can also gain an advantage by identifying cards from distinctive wear markings on their backs, or by hole carding observing during the dealing process the front of a card dealt face down. These methods are generally legal although their status in particular jurisdictions may vary.

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Not dealing to the bottom of all the cards makes it more difficult for professional card counters to operate effectively. When all the players have placed their bets, the dealer gives one card face up to each player in rotation clockwise, and then one card face up to themselves. Another round of cards is then dealt face up to each player, but the dealer takes the second card face down.

Thus, each player except the dealer receives two cards face up, and the dealer receives one card face up and one card face down. In some games, played with only one deck, the players' cards are dealt face down and they get to hold them.

Today, however, virtually all Blackjack games feature the players' cards dealt face up on the condition that no player may touch any cards. If a player's first two cards are an ace and a "ten-card" a picture card or 10 , giving a count of 21 in two cards, this is a natural or "blackjack.

If the dealer has a natural, they immediately collect the bets of all players who do not have naturals, but no additional amount. If the dealer and another player both have naturals, the bet of that player is a stand-off a tie , and the player takes back his chips.

If the dealer's face-up card is a ten-card or an ace, they look at their face-down card to see if the two cards make a natural. If the face-up card is not a ten-card or an ace, they do not look at the face-down card until it is the dealer's turn to play. The player to the left goes first and must decide whether to "stand" not ask for another card or "hit" ask for another card in an attempt to get closer to a count of 21, or even hit 21 exactly.

Thus, a player may stand on the two cards originally dealt to them, or they may ask the dealer for additional cards, one at a time, until deciding to stand on the total if it is 21 or under , or goes "bust" if it is over In the latter case, the player loses and the dealer collects the bet wagered. The dealer then turns to the next player to their left and serves them in the same manner.

The combination of an ace with a card other than a ten-card is known as a "soft hand," because the player can count the ace as a 1 or 11, and either draw cards or not. For example with a "soft 17" an ace and a 6 , the total is 7 or While a count of 17 is a good hand, the player may wish to draw for a higher total. If the draw creates a bust hand by counting the ace as an 11, the player simply counts the ace as a 1 and continues playing by standing or "hitting" asking the dealer for additional cards, one at a time.

When the dealer has served every player, the dealers face-down card is turned up. If the total is 17 or more, it must stand. If the total is 16 or under, they must take a card. The dealer must continue to take cards until the total is 17 or more, at which point the dealer must stand.

If the dealer has an ace, and counting it as 11 would bring the total to 17 or more but not over 21 , the dealer must count the ace as 11 and stand. The dealer's decisions, then, are automatic on all plays, whereas the player always has the option of taking one or more cards. When a player's turn comes, they can say "Hit" or can signal for a card by scratching the table with a finger or two in a motion toward themselves, or they can wave their hand in the same motion that would say to someone "Come here!

If a player's first two cards are of the same denomination, such as two jacks or two sixes, they may choose to treat them as two separate hands when their turn comes around. The amount of the original bet then goes on one of the cards, and an equal amount must be placed as a bet on the other card.

The player first plays the hand to their left by standing or hitting one or more times; only then is the hand to the right played. The two hands are thus treated separately, and the dealer settles with each on its own merits. With a pair of aces, the player is given one card for each ace and may not draw again.

Also, if a ten-card is dealt to one of these aces, the payoff is equal to the bet not one and one-half to one, as with a blackjack at any other time. Another option open to the player is doubling their bet when the original two cards dealt total 9, 10, or When the player's turn comes, they place a bet equal to the original bet, and the dealer gives the player just one card, which is placed face down and is not turned up until the bets are settled at the end of the hand.

With two fives, the player may split a pair, double down, or just play the hand in the regular way. Note that the dealer does not have the option of splitting or doubling down. When the dealer's face-up card is an ace, any of the players may make a side bet of up to half the original bet that the dealer's face-down card is a ten-card, and thus a blackjack for the house.

Once all such side bets are placed, the dealer looks at the hole card. If it is a ten-card, it is turned up, and those players who have made the insurance bet win and are paid double the amount of their half-bet - a 2 to 1 payoff. When a blackjack occurs for the dealer, of course, the hand is over, and the players' main bets are collected - unless a player also has blackjack, in which case it is a stand-off.

Insurance is invariably not a good proposition for the player, unless they are quite sure that there are an unusually high number of ten-cards still left undealt. A bet once paid and collected is never returned. Thus, one key advantage to the dealer is that the player goes first.

If the player goes bust, they have already lost their wager, even if the dealer goes bust as well. If the dealer goes over 21, the dealer pays each player who has stood the amount of that player's bet. If the dealer stands at 21 or less, the dealer pays the bet of any player having a higher total not exceeding 21 and collects the bet of any player having a lower total. If there is a stand-off a player having the same total as the dealer , no chips are paid out or collected.

When each player's bet is settled, the dealer gathers in that player's cards and places them face up at the side against a clear plastic L-shaped shield. The dealer continues to deal from the shoe until coming to the plastic insert card, which indicates that it is time to reshuffle. Once that round of play is over, the dealer shuffles all the cards, prepares them for the cut, places the cards in the shoe, and the game continues.

Winning tactics in Blackjack require that the player play each hand in the optimum way, and such strategy always takes into account what the dealer's upcard is. When the dealer's upcard is a good one, a 7, 8, 9, card, or ace for example, the player should not stop drawing until a total of 17 or more is reached. When the dealer's upcard is a poor one, 4, 5, or 6, the player should stop drawing as soon as he gets a total of 12 or higher.

The strategy here is never to take a card if there is any chance of going bust. The desire with this poor holding is to let the dealer hit and hopefully go over Finally, when the dealer's up card is a fair one, 2 or 3, the player should stop with a total of 13 or higher. With a soft hand, the general strategy is to keep hitting until a total of at least 18 is reached. Thus, with an ace and a six 7 or 17 , the player would not stop at 17, but would hit.

The basic strategy for doubling down is as follows: With a total of 11, the player should always double down. With a total of 10, he should double down unless the dealer shows a ten-card or an ace. With a total of 9, the player should double down only if the dealer's card is fair or poor 2 through 6. For splitting, the player should always split a pair of aces or 8s; identical ten-cards should not be split, and neither should a pair of 5s, since two 5s are a total of 10, which can be used more effectively in doubling down.

A pair of 4s should not be split either, as a total of 8 is a good number to draw to. Generally, 2s, 3s, or 7s can be split unless the dealer has an 8, 9, ten-card, or ace. Finally, 6s should not be split unless the dealer's card is poor 2 through 6. I live in a senior living community. Bingo and card games are the most popular activities played here. Frequently arguments happen over the rules of card games. I am very happy that I found your website on-line.

The cards' values. Cards with the numbers 2 through 10 have their face value - that's pretty easy. Jacks, queens, and kings are valued at 10 points. Aces can be 1 or 11 points. What 'blackjack' actually means. Surprisingly, lots of people think that blackjack is any card total that sums up to But "blackjack" - also called "natural 21" - is only when you add up to 21 on the first two cards that you are dealt.

You need to get an Ace and one of the value cards for this to happen. Basic rules of betting in blackjack. There are always minimum and maximum bets in blackjack. But the fun stuff comes after you've made your bet. If you draw or push you keep your bet money. Blackjack is fundamentally a two-person game. Sometimes players get too caught up in what the other people at the table are doing. But it is important to remember that you are only playing against the dealer.

If you lose that mindset, it will affect your play. Understand what "Blackjack 3 to 2" means. Somewhere on the blackjack table there will be a sign that says, "blackjack pays 3 to 2". This is standard, and gives the house slightly elevated odds. If you see "Blackjack pays 6 to 5" run away from that casino. Be careful. Sometimes the house has different odds. A lot of rookie players make the mistake of thinking that 6 to 5 is more profitable that 3 to 2.

In this case, 6 to 5 is smaller than 3 to 2 - which means that the house is great odds. Bottom line, you're going to lose a lot of money. If you see "Blackjack pays 2 to 1", that's good news for you. This doesn't happen often anymore because most casino owners have figured out that 2 to 1 actually gives the player better odds than the house.

But in case you do stumble upon a casino like this, make the most of it. Hit versus stand. Let's say that the first two cards you are dealt are a 2 and a 7. This adds up to 9, which is far from Let's say that the next one you get is a Now your total is 19, which is close to Double Down. If after you've received your first two cards you are fairly confident that you're going to beat the dealer, you can increase your original bet by as much as 2 times the bet It depends on the casino, though - sometimes you can only increase by exactly 2 times the bet.

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Hard Versus Soft Hand. A hard hand is a hand that does not have any ace card or a hand with an ace card but in this case, the ase does not count as 11 but counts as 1 so as to avoid busting. A soft hand just like its name sounds is the exact opposite of the hard hand. It is a hand with an ace which has the option of counting both as 1 and as The higher of the two is used as the total and it leaves more room for flexibility just in case you are dealt a high value card.

Blackjack Betting Rules. Remember this game is a game for two irrespective of the number of people at the table. It is still between a player and the dealer. Depending on the casino, there is always a minimum and maximum bet in blackjack. The fun is usually in the betting. If you win, you get your wager plus that of the dealer but if you lose, you should know that the dealer is getting your wager. And, if you get the blackjack, you even win more because blackjack offers you 1.

This means you are getting back your bet plus 1. In most physical casinos especially, players are not allowed to place bets using cash. Chips are rather used. You request for chips from the dealer after placing your cash on the table.

The dealer will then convert your cash to the equivalent chips. Some gambling centres would also permit you to play more than a hand per round especially when some spots on the table are empty. Number of Decks of Cards. Each table would specify its minimum and maximum betting limit.

Whether you are playing online or physically, you should make sure you have that checked out before settling down to play. Typically a deck contains 52 cards and each player will be dealt two. The dealer also receives two with the upward facing up and the downward facing down. Games are usually dealt through a dealing shoe which in a typical game would contain 4, 6, or 8 decks of cards.

You compute your score by adding the values of your individual cards. The cards 2 through 10 have their face value, J, Q, and K are worth 10 points each, and the Ace is worth either 1 or 11 points player's choice. At the start of a blackjack game, the players and the dealer receive two cards each. The players' cards are normally dealt face up, while the dealer has one face down called the hole card and one face up.

The best possible blackjack hand is an opening deal of an ace with any ten-point card. This is called a "blackjack", or a natural 21, and the player holding this automatically wins unless the dealer also has a blackjack. If a player and the dealer each have a blackjack, the result is a push for that player.

If the dealer has a blackjack, all players not holding a blackjack lose. After the cards have been dealt, the game goes on with each player taking action - in clockwise order starting to dealer's left. You can only use the side rules once, when it's your turn to act after the deal.

Then the player can keep his hand as it is stand or take more cards from the deck hit , one at a time, until either the player judges that the hand is strong enough to go up against the dealer's hand and stands, or until it goes over 21, in which case the player immediately loses busts. In most places, players can take as many cards as they like, as long as they don't bust, but some casinos have restrictions regarding this.

When all players have finished their actions, either decided to stand or busted, the dealer turns over his hidden hole card. If the dealer has a natural 21 blackjack with his two cards, he won't take any more cards. All players lose, except players who also have a blackjack, in which case it is a push - the bet is returned to the player.

If the dealer doesn't have a natural, he hits takes more cards or stands depending on the value of the hand. Contrary to the player, though, the dealer's action is completely dictated by the rules. The dealer must hit if the value of the hand is lower than 17, otherwise the dealer will stand.

Whether or not the dealer must hit on a soft 17 a hand of 17 containing an ace being counted as 11 differs from casino to casino. There might even be blackjack tables with different rules within the same casino. If the dealer goes bust, all players who are left in the game win.

Otherwise players with higher point totals than the dealer win, while players with lower totals than the dealer lose. For those with the same total as the dealer the result is a push: their stake is returned to them and they neither win nor lose. Players with a blackjack win a bet plus a bonus amount, which is normally equal to half their original wager.

A blackjack hand beats any other hand, also those with a total value of 21 but with more cards. As described above, if the dealer has a blackjack, players with blackjack make a push, while all other players lose. Above, the basic rules of blackjack are described. In addition, numerous side rules allow for more intricate betting strategies. These side rules can only be used immediately after the deal, before you take any more cards.

You cannot, for example, take a third card and then decide to double down. The most widely practiced options are explained below:. When the dealer's face-up card is an ace, each player gets the chance to bet on whether the dealer has a blackjack or not. This is done before any other player actions.

The insurance wager equals your original bet and is used to cancel out the likely loss of this bet. A winning insurance bet will be paid at odds of , and since you lose your original bet, you'll break even on the hand. Strategy guides tend to advice against taking insurance. If you have a bad hand compared to the dealer's hand judging from what you can see of it, you can give up the hand and reclaim half your bet. The casino keeps the other half uncontested.

You need a really bad hand match-up for a surrender to be profitable, such as 16 vs the dealer showing a At some casinos, surrenders will not be allowed if the dealer has a blackjack which he then checks for immediately after the deal. If the dealer has a blackjack, no surrenders will be granted and you'll lose the entire bet - unless you also have a blackjack, in which case it's a push.

This side rule variation is called late surrender. When you get two starting cards of the same face value, you have the option to split the hand in two. You place another bet of the same size as the original bet and play on with two hands. Note that it is legal to split point cards even if they do not form a pair - for example you could split a jack and a king. When you've decided to split a hand, the dealer immediately deals a second card to each hand.

Now, if you're dealt yet another pair, some casinos allow you to split the hand again, while others don't. When you're done splitting, each of your hands will be treated separately, meaning that you will take cards to your first hand until you stand or bust, and then carry on with the next hand.

If you split aces, you are dealt a second card to each hand as usual, but you are not allowed to take any further cards unless you are dealt another ace and split again. All hands resulting from splitting aces remain as two-card hands. If the second card dealt to a split ace is a point card you do not receive the blackjack bonus for this hand.

It does however win against an ordinary 21 made of more than two cards. If the dealer also has a blackjack the result for this hand is a push as usual. In many places the same rule no blackjack bonus is played if an ace is dealt as the second card to a point card after splitting.

If you're fairly sure that your hand will beat the dealer's, you can double your original bet. You're sometimes allowed to double down for any amount up to the original bet amount.