Blackjack (also known as 21) is today’s most popular casino card game. When Twenty- One was originally introduced in the United States, if the player’s hand consisted of an Ace of Spades and a Jack of Spades, it was called a “blackjack,” which paid different odds compared to the modern version of the game, and the name stuck. In the version of the game we play today, a blackjack refers to any hand of an ace plus a ten or face card, regardless of suit or colour.
THE AIM OF THE GAME
The aim of Blackjack is to beat the dealer by drawing cards with a value as close to 21 as possible but without going past it. If your hand is better than the dealer’s you win; if it adds up to more than 21, you go “bust” and automatically forfeit your bet.
VALUE OF THE CARDS
• King, Queen or Jack of any suit = 10
• Ace = 1 or 11
• Number cards = face value
One card is dealt face up and clockwise to each of the players – including the dealer – followed by a second card, also face up, to each of the players, but not to the dealer. Cards are dealt from a shuffling machine known as the “Shoe.” Players aren’t allowed to touch their bets at any time once the first card has been dealt from the Shoe.
Once you have been dealt your two cards, you have a choice of what to do next. You can:
By telling the dealer not to give you any more cards, normally by saying, “stand.”
By asking for more cards to increase your chance of getting as close to 21 as possible. You draw cards until you decide to “stand” or until your hand goes over 21, in which case you “bust” and you forfeit your bet.
If your first two cards have the same value, you can choose to “split” and create two separate hands. You then place an additional bet (equal to your first bet) on the second hand. The dealer will then play each of the two hands separately. If you split Aces, you only receive one card on each Ace. If a picture card is dealt to either of the Aces it counts as 21, not a Blackjack. Pairs can be split more than once.
You may “Double” your initial bet after receiving your first two cards (unless you have a Blackjack), but then you are only allowed to draw one more card. To “Double” simply place an additional bet equal to your initial bet in your betting area.
After the initial deal and if the dealer is not showing an Ace, the dealer will offer you surrender. If you feel your hand is not strong enough to win, you may surrender your bet, forfeiting half your stake and your hand. This must happen before any further cards are drawn from the Shoe.
THE DEALER’S HAND
When all the players have completed their hands, the dealer draws their card(s). The dealer has to draw on 16 or less and stand on 17 or more.
If the dealer’s first card is an Ace, you can insure your bet against the dealer getting a Blackjack by placing an insurance bet (upto half the value of your initial bet) on the table’s insurance line after your second card is dealt, but before the dealer draws any more cards. If the dealer draws a Blackjack, your box bet will lose, but your insurance bet will be paid at 2 to 1. However, if the dealer does not draw a 10 or a picture card, you lose your insurance bet.
A Blackjack is when you are dealt a 10, Jack, Queen or King plus an Ace as your first two cards. Blackjack pays 3 to 2 (1.5 times your original bet).
Winners know when to stop. Not for persons under 18.