Blackjack Tutorial


Blackjack, also known as 21, is the most popular casino-banked game in the world. The objective when playing blackjack is to get as close to 21 as you can with any number of cards.

How to play blackjack

After taking a seat, lay your cash down on the table in front of you in order to buy chips. Never try to hand your cash to the dealer directly. The minimum bet is indicated on the placard in the corner of the table.

If you are playing online blackjack, then choosing a seat doesn't apply.

At the beginning of each hand, the player places a bet. After all player bets are placed, the dealer will then deal each player, and themselves, two cards. Both of the players' cards are dealt face up while one of the dealer's cards, called the "hole card", is dealt face down. The value of cards is as follows:

  • Cards 2-10 represent their own numerical value.

  • Jacks, Queens, and Kings are worth 10.

  • Aces are worth either 1 or 11, whichever the player chooses.

Natural blackjacks

If the player gets a "natural" or "blackjack", which is an Ace and 10-value card on the first two cards, then the player automatically wins their hand and is paid 3-to-2 odds on their bet, unless the dealer also has a blackjack (in which case the hand is a tie).

If the dealer's upcard is an Ace, then he will check to see if he has a blackjack. If the dealer has a blackjack, all players not holding a blackjack lose.

If the blackjack dealer's upcard is an Ace, the dealer will also ask each player if they want to make the insurance bet. The purpose of the insurance bet is to allow players to insure themselves against a dealer blackjack, which has a considerable probably of occurring since the dealers upcard is an ace. Insurance is a side bet of up to half the original bet placed on a special portion of the table, and pays 2-to-1. When all insurance bets are made the dealer will check their hole card and will flip it immediately if it is a value of 10, giving the dealer a blackjack. The insurance bet is won if the dealer has a blackjack and the insurance bet is lost of the dealer doesn't have a blackjack (although the player can still possibly win his original bet).

Player Decisions

Starting with the player to the dealer's immediate left, each player must decide what to do by exercising one of their four options: hit, stand, double down, or split.

  • Stay This means that you do not want any more cards.

    • Indicate you want to stand by waving your hand horizontally over your cards.

  • Hit This means you want another card, you can take as many cards as you want unless you bust.

    • Indicate you want a hit by tapping your fingers on the table.

  • Split This is an option to split your one hand into two separate hands. You can only use this option if both of your cards are the same (i.e. two 7's or two Aces). You cannot go to the second hand until you have finished playing the first hand.

    • Indicate you want a split by placing additional chips next to (and not on top of) your original bet.

  • Double Down This allows you to double your original bet after you have received your two cards. If you double down, you are only allowed only one more card. You are allowed to double down for any amount up to the original bet amount.

    • Indicate you want to double-down or split a pair by placing an equal bet to the left of your current bet.

  • Surrender Some casinos offer the option to surrender. After the dealer has checked for blackjack, the player may surrender by giving up half his bet and not finishing the the hand.

    • Indicate you want to surrender by telling the dealer verbally.

If the player goes over 21, the player "busts" and loses their bet.


It is then the dealer's turn to play their hand. The dealer must play according to predetermined rules. If the dealer has less than 17, he must hit. If the dealer has 17 or more, he must stand, unless their hand is a "soft 17" (a hand that includes an ace valued as "11"). With a soft 17, the dealer will have to either hit or stand, depending on the particular casino's rules, which are printed on the blackjack table.


If the dealer busts, then all of the remaining players win the hand. If the dealer doesn't bust, then the remaining players must have a higher hand than the dealer in order to have a winning hand, which pays even money. If a player ties the dealer then it is a "push" and the player keeps his bet.


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Blackjack Strategy - Blackjack Tutorial

HPG ADMIN on June 15, 2006