The basic idea of the game of Blackjack, Vingt-et-un, Pontoon or just “21” as it is sometimes called, is to have a hand that is closer in numeric value to 21 than that of the dealer – without going over 21 (“Going Bust” or “Busting”).
Your hand is only played out against the hand of the Dealer. Don’t worry about the other players, in this game you are only playing against the Dealer. The rules for the Blackjack Dealer are strict, the Dealer makes no decisions, they just follow the House Rules.
The suit of the cards (Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, Spades) does NOT matter in Blackjack. Cards 2 through 9 are face value – The number shown on the card. Cards 10, Jack, Queen and King are all valued at 10. The Aces can be valued at 1 or 11. – NOTE: This is an important part of Blackjack strategy, being able to use 2 different values for the Aces.
The total of all cards in your hand is your “score”, in other words, if you have a 9 (nine) and a King your score is 19 (nineteen), or if you have an Ace (one or eleven) and an 8 (eight) your score could be 9 (Nine) or it could be 19 (nineteen), players choice. (Although, in the last example most players would want the 19).
If your hand has a numerical value of 21 or under and you Tie the Dealer (for example: You have 20 and the Dealer has 20) this is obviously a Tie and is called a “Push” or “Stand Off” in Blackjack table lingo. In this Blackjack Game when the Dealer and Player Tie (Tie = “Push” or “Standoff”) the players wager is returned to the player and the Hand ended.
After the bets are made and placed on the table. Each player and the dealer are dealt two cards at the start of the Hand (game). The Deal starts with the player on the far left of the Dealer and then goes clockwise. Depending on the house rules, both of the player’s cards can either be face down, face up or one card face up and one face down. (In our Blackjack game both player’s cards are face up).
The Dealer is always dealt one card face down and one card face up. Each Blackjack Player only plays against the dealer, not against the other Blackjack players at the table. Only your hand and the Dealer’s hand determines if you win or lose.
In most Blackjack Games, the Deal starts with the player to the dealers far left. After all the cards are dealt, play proceeds around the table, same as the deal.
However, in this Blackjack Game the Player and the Dealer are the only players. The Player gets the first card of the deal, every deal.
Blackjack Dealer Rules
The Blackjack Dealer must always play his/her hand according to the house rules, the dealer has no choices or decisions to make as to how to play his/her hand.
In this Blackjack Game, House Rules state the Dealer must Hit on Soft 17 (Soft 17 = any combination of cards that use an Ace to equal 17) and stand on Hard 17 (Hard 17 = Seventeen total without using an Ace).
What does it mean to “get a Blackjack”?
Getting a Blackjack, is when the first two cards dealt to the player equal 21.
An Ace and a Ten, Jack, Queen or King. Once again, the cards suit does not matter. (The cards do not have to be “black” to be a Blackjack.) Most Casinos pay time and a half (1.5 times your bet) for a Blackjack. If the Dealer gets a Blackjack you only lose the amount you bet.
Hitting and Standing
After the first two cards in the Blackjack game are dealt, the Player must decide if they want to draw another card (Hit) or not draw any more cards (Stand). Deciding to Hit or Stand is the basic fundamental decision of the game.
After the first two cards are dealt, but before the Player (Hits) draws any cards, The player can decide to double the bet and only take one more card face up. This is a great way for the Player to make some money.
Free Blackjack Tip
– Best time to Double Down -Player has 11 (eleven) and the Dealer has a 4, 5 or 6 showing. Player position to the far left of the Dealer is called “First Base”, in table talk.
When the Player is dealt a pair (two of the same cards), The Player has the option, before any cards are drawn to “split” the pair into two hands and play both hands separately. This also doubles your bet as each hand requires a bet in the amount of your original bet. Each hand is played as a normal hand, unless the pair that is being split is a pair of Aces. If the Player splits a pair of Aces, then only one card can be drawn for each hand. Most casinos allow the player to continue to split the hand as long as the Player continues to receive pairs.
Blackjack Tip – The old timers say, “Only split Aces and Eights”.
When the Dealer has an Ace showing the Player can decide if insurance is wanted. Insurance is just that, Insurance against the Dealer having a Blackjack(Ace and 10/Face Card). Insurance is usually 50% of the original bet, if the Dealer has a Blackjack the insurance bet is paid to the casino, but the original bet is not lost to the Player. If the Dealer does not have a Blackjack the insurance bet is paid to the casino and play continues normally.
Another Blackjack Tip – Insurance is often a losing bet for the Player, be sure of your bet before you place any money on Insurance Wager.