The Basics of Blackjack


Blackjack is a card game where the goal is to get as close as possible to 21 without going over. It is played by two to seven players at a table and uses one to eight 52-card decks. Each player is dealt two cards and can either hit or stand. If a player’s first two cards total 21, this is known as a blackjack and wins the player 1.5 times their bet.

After all the players have hit or stood, it’s the dealer’s turn to play. The dealer will reveal his hole card and if it is an Ace, it can count as 1 or 11, at the player’s choice. The dealer will continue taking cards until he has 17 or more, at which point he must stop. If the dealer’s hand beats a player’s, they win and the bet is returned. If the dealer’s hand is equal to a player’s, it is a tie (also known as a push).

The rules of blackjack are very simple. Each card has a value: number cards (2-10) are worth their number; face cards (Jack, Queen and King) are worth 10 points; and the Ace can be worth either 1 or 11. A player’s total must be higher than the dealer’s in order to win. If a player’s total goes over 21, they lose.

Throughout the course of a hand, it is possible for a player to double their bet. However, it is important to note that this only allows them to receive one more card and they cannot change the rank of their cards. Doubling down should only be done when a player is confident that they have a better chance of winning than the dealer’s hand.

It is also important for a player to understand the difference between a hard and soft hand in blackjack. Hard hands are those that only contain number cards while soft hands have a combination of numbers and face cards. A player must be careful when drawing to a soft hand because it may bust.

Another important point to remember is that a player’s only opponent is the dealer. It can be easy to get caught up in the action at a blackjack table and forget that there are only two hands in play – the player’s and the dealer’s. Getting caught up in the actions of other players can lead to bad decisions that can cost the player money.

It is also important for a blackjack player to know when to split and when not to. Generally, a player should always split any pair of 8’s and never split 10’s. Additionally, a player should always double any 11 against a dealer’s card other than an Ace. This is a very powerful move that can significantly improve a player’s odds of winning.