What are the rules for Blackjack?
The rules of the game are relatively the same whether you are playing online, Live or at a real casino. There may be slight variations, but these can quickly be learnt in no time. Ever since its inception, the primary goal of the game has remained the same, i.e., win by getting exactly or as close to 21 as possible.
The score is counted by totalling the value of the cards you receive. An Ace can be used as 1 or 11 depending on the player’s choice. The score of card numbers 2 to 10 are based on their face value (Eg. 3 of spades is equal to 3 points). And all the face cards (King, Queen and Jack) are worth 10 points each.
Players will start by placing bets on an empty slot/seat. Most casinos will allow you to place multiple bets in other empty seats. Casinos will usually have a maximum and minimum wager amount set for the players. Once the stakes have been placed, the dealer will start dealing the cards.
Starting from his left, the dealer will deal a card facing up to each player, and one for himself (face-up). Then he will deal a face-up card to each player again, but this time, his card will be placed face down.
Some casinos offer the ‘insurance’ option after the dealer deals the cards. If the dealer’s visible card is an ace or a court card (value of 10), players can bet an insurance amount. The insurance wager is half of the original bet, and if the dealer gets blackjack, the original bet amount is returned to the player.
If the dealer does not get a blackjack, all the other players who have a blackjack are immediately paid. The game progresses by allowing the other players to make their move.
At this point, the players will be left with some options to take. You can stand, hit, split, double down or surrender depending on your card and the rules of the casino. But your motivation for each move should be to get a better card than the dealer (assuming he does not have blackjack).
When you are done making your move, the dealer will reveal his hidden card or decide to hit depending on the strength of his cards. If the dealer busts, all the players of at the table without ‘bust’ cards automatically win.
After the dealer makes his move, whoever has blackjack or the highest total below blackjack wins.
How to win at Blackjack
You will find scores of articles that talk about how to win at blackjack, but most of these articles focus on the wrong aspect of the game. The ‘rules’ of any game give you a fixed parameter within which you can manoeuvre and outplay your opponents. As it is with other games, your objective in blackjack should not just be based on the rules, but also on what outcome will favour you the best.
The focus should not be on getting ‘21’ or ‘closest to 21’ as many would say. You should remember that these are the rules of the game. So your focus should be on how to beat the dealer. That’s right! The objective should be on getting better cards than the dealer, which means you open up the possibility of winning by different hands that are not exactly 21. This means paying very close attention to your own cards and the dealer’s cards and being aware of the possibilities. Each hand that you receive should be analyzed based on the dealer’s hands.
No strategy can guarantee a win every single time. But being aware of the mathematical possibilities and probabilities will give you more advantage and payout in the long run.