How to Play Blackjack


Blackjack is a casino game that’s played with one or more 52-card decks. It’s a popular game at Las Vegas casinos, and players try to collect cards that total as close to 21 as possible without going over. Depending on the rules, you can hit, stand, split, or double down.

Basic Strategy

The basic strategy for playing blackjack is to use your first two cards to make a hand that’s as close to 21 as possible. You can win if your hand is higher than the dealer’s or if you hit exactly 21, which can be worth more money than hitting any other number.

When you’re ready to play, choose your bet amount and position on the table, and then wait for your turn to be dealt. The dealer will then deal two cards to you, and you will also be given the opportunity to hit, stand, or surrender your bet.

Insurance – This is a side bet that costs 50% of the initial bet, and pays 2 to 1 if the dealer’s first card is an Ace. It’s best not to take insurance if you don’t have a good idea of the dealer’s hand.

Early Surrender – This is a feature of some tables that allows the player to forfeit half of their bet against a face or ace before the dealer checks for blackjack. This is useful for situations where a player has an extremely weak hand that is unlikely to win, or when he wants to reduce the size of his wager to minimize the house edge.

Resplitting Aces – A rare feature of some tables, this lets the player split a pair of aces and draw more than one card. This avoids a player getting a miserable total of 12 if the dealer’s second card is high, and reduces the house edge by about 0.13%.

Tournaments – The game can be played in tournament form, with players competing against each other to see who has the highest stack of chips at the end of each round. The rules of tournaments vary, but they usually require that players place a side wager equal to or greater than the blackjack wager before entering the competition.

Elimination Blackjack – This is a variation of tournament Blackjack, where the lowest-stacked player at each table is dropped from the competition at predetermined points in the round. It’s a more difficult game than non-tournament Blackjack and may not be suitable for all players, but it can be very rewarding for those who do well.

Bonus Payout – In some countries, blackjack has a bonus payout that is offered on a hand that contains an ace and a black jack. This was a special hand that was once offered in gambling houses, but it is no longer common.

The game is played with one or more 52-card decks, and each card’s value is either the number on the card, 10, for face cards, or one or 11 for aces. Generally, the goal is to have a hand that’s closer to 21 than the dealer’s.