These days you cannot walk through a casino without passing many blackjack tables. This simple game has been popular since its introduction, with its simple rules and easy gameplay. The game is played with anywhere from one to eight different ordinary 52 card playing decks.

After reading through this you should take a look at our blackjack strategy section to get some more in-depth blackjack tips.

The Goal of Blackjack

The goal of the game of blackjack is to total your cards as close to 21 as you can, without exceeding it. Betting is done against the dealer instead of others at the table. If you are closer to 21 than the dealer without going over, you win and vice versa. Going over the goal of 21 is known as busting, and the dealer wins. If the dealer busts, then you win, as long as you have 21 or less.

Players reach 21 by the value of their cards. Cards with 2-9 are face value, 10-K are worth 10, and Aces can be worth one or eleven (your choice). The ace card doesn’t have to be pre-decided between 1 or 11, you can use it however it fits your hand.

Blackjack Rounds

Each round of blackjack starts with the player’s initial bet placed in front of him or her. Two cards are dealt face up to each player and the dealer only shows one of their cards. The dealer will ask each player, from left to right, if they want another card (known as hitting) or would like to stay as they are. After each player makes their decisions, the dealer will play their hand. The dealer must hit until they reach a 17 or busts.

Blackjack Hands and Odds

The best hand a player could get is a blackjack, which consists of an ace and a 10 point card. If blackjack is dealt to a player, they are paid 3:2 on their bet. If the dealer has a 10 point card showing, it is possible he or she has a blackjack. The dealer will then check their down card immediately, if there is blackjack, all players lose their bets.

If the dealer has an Ace showing, the dealer will ask the player if they would like to insure their hand against a blackjack. This bet in blackjack pays 2 to 1 if the dealer has a blackjack. After each player makes their decision to insure or not, the dealer will check if a blackjack exists. If no blackjack, the players will continue as normal, hitting, or staying.

The Decisions in Blackjack

Basically, the only decision a player makes is to hit or stay, but two other options do exist. A player may “Double Down” by choosing to double the initial bet and take only one more card. This can only be done when you have 2 cards and can only get one card when you make this decision.

Generally, the most common hands that players choose to double down are when the initial cards equal 11 because getting any 10 point card will bring you to the goal of 21. A player may also choose to “split” their cards if they receive matching pairs as their first cards. When you split pairs, you basically play two separate hands and need to add the bet for the split hand.

There are many different ways a player can bring blackjack strategy into the game of blackjack, but the rules are simple and anyone can win big.  Read more about what blackjack is if you still need more information.