Casino Blackjack: Rules of the Game
Over the years, more and more casinos have switched to hitting soft 17, and there are now far more H17 games than S17 games. The dealer hand will not be completed if all players have either busted or received blackjacks. Most medium-strength hands should be surrendered against a dealer Ace if the hole card has not been checked. Many blackjack tables offer a side bet on various outcomes including: Insurance is offered when the dealer receives an Ace, face up.
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You can still find some games where the dealer stands on all 17s, even in casinos where some of the tables use the H17 rule. After splitting a pair, many casinos will allow you to double-down on a two-card hand that arises as a result of the split.
For example, if you split a pair of eights, and draw a 3 on the first hand, it is valuable to be able to double-down on the resulting hand of As mentioned in the previous section discussion on pair splitting, there are several common restrictions on splitting Aces. You will receive only one card on each Ace after splitting. Some casinos will allow you to resplit if you draw another Ace, and some will not. That's true even if the casino allows resplits of all other pairs.
Many casinos in Europe, and some in other parts of the world, handle the dealer's second card differently. In these "European No Hole Card" games, the dealer only deals himself one card at the beginning of the round. After all the players have completed their hands, he deals his own second card and completes the hand. Contrast that with the normal US style of play. There, if the dealer has a ten or Ace card up, he checks the other card immediately to see if he has a blackjack.
If he does, the hand is over. This process of "peeking" under the hole card to check for blackjack means that players can only lose one bet per hand if the dealer has a blackjack. In a No-Hole-Card game, a player might split or double and have multiple bets at risk to a dealer blackjack, because the dealer cannot check ahead of time. This changes the optimal strategy, and means that players should usually not split or double against a dealer ten or Ace upcard.
An exception is splitting Aces against a dealer ten. Note that there are a few no-hole-card games where the rules specifically say that only one bet will be collected from a player if the dealer has a blackjack.
In those games, although there is no hole card, you can play the game as if there were. That means you should play it as a Peek game, even though there's not really a peek! It's all a bit confusing. When the No-Hole-Card rule is in use, and all bets are at risk to a dealer blackjack, it costs the player 0. Use the "No-Peek" option at our Strategy Engine. Ok this one's an extremely rare variation which I doubt you will see in any casinos today but I thought I'd mention.
Similarly there is a rule variation whereby the player automatically wins when drawing 7 cards without busting which is called a "Seven Card Charlie". The most important item is the sign declaring betting limits. Both the minimum and the maximum allowable bets should be on a sign on the table-top. Look around to find a table that suits your bet sizes. Make sure that the table you have selected is actually for blackjack, and not another of the many kinds of table games that casinos offer.
Look on the table for the phrase " Blackjack pays 3 to 2 ". Avoid any games that say " Blackjack pays 6 to 5 " instead. See 6 to 5 Blackjack? Beginners should start off playing the shoe games. The advantage in this style is that all of the players' cards are dealt face-up, so the dealer and other players can easily help you with playing questions and decisions. Once you become proficient at the game, you may want to switch to a game with fewer decks since that lowers the casino's advantage.
The dealer will exchange the entire amount of cash for the equivalent in chips, and drop the cash into a box on the table. Take a quick look at the chips to make sure you know the value of each color. If you have any questions, just ask the dealer. Part of his job is to help players learn the game. Once you are ready to place a bet, wait for the current hand to be completed, then push your bet into the betting circle. Your chips should be in one stack. If you are betting multiple denominations of chips, place the larger valued chips on the bottom of the stack, and the smaller value chips on top.
Once the cards have been dealt, you are not allowed to touch the bet in the circle. If you need to know how much you have bet for doubling or splitting explained later , the dealer will count down the chips for you. Once the hand is over, the dealer will move around the table to each position in turn, paying winning hands and collecting the chips from losing hands. After the dealer has paid you, you can remove your chips from the circle, and place your next bet. If you want to let your winnings ride, you will need to form one stack of chips from the two or more stacks on the table after the dealer pays you.
Remember, higher value chips should be placed on the bottom of the stack. When you are ready to leave the table, you do not cash in your chips the same way you bought them. The dealer cannot give you cash for the chips at the table. To do that, you must take the chips to the casino cashier. If you have a lot of low denomination chips in front of you at the table, you should trade them for the equivalent higher value chips instead.
In between hands, just tell the dealer you want to "color up", and he will have you push your chips into the middle of the table. He will count them down, and give you a smaller stack of chips that amount to the same value. This makes them easier to carry for you, and for the dealer it maintains his supply of smaller chips.
Now you can take those chips to another table for more play, or head to the casino cashier where you can exchange them for cash. So, if you have made it this far, congratulations. You should have a good idea of what to expect when you sit down at a blackjack table in the casino. What we have not talked about is how to actually make the best decisions while playing the game. That is a whole subject all its own. To have the best chance of winning, you should learn and practice "basic strategy", which is the mathematically best way to play each hand against each possible dealer upcard.
For a free chart that shows the right play in every case, visit our Blackjack Basic Strategy Engine. If you are looking to play from the comfort of your home, you can visit our online blackjack or live dealer blackjack sections for further resources. Hopefully I've covered just about everything you need. But if you have other questions, feel free to post a reply at the bottom of the page.
Our free blackjack game lets you play at your pace, and the Strategy Coach provides instant feedback on the best strategy. To find the best strategy, use our most popular resource: The Blackjack Strategy Engine provides free strategy charts that are optimized for your exact rules. If you prefer a plastic card that you can take to the table with you, we have those too: Blackjack Basic Strategy Cards. The original version of this explanation of the rules of blackjack has a very long history here at BlackjackInfo.
I created and published it here sometime in It was widely copied by other sites, and it has appeared without my permission on literally hundreds of sites over the years. When I relaunched BlackjackInfo with a new mobile-friendly design in , I took the opportunity to write this all-new version.
Hmmm seems I have been making some bad calls for years now, I thought splitting tens against anything but an ace or 10 was a good move: If a player decides to stand on 15 for whatever reason and the dealer has 16, must the dealer still draw another card since it is less than 17? Is there any significance in blackjack when you have a black jack paired with a black ace, same suit? The question came up on the multiple choice question on Millionaire.
I guessed 16 but the answer was 32??? In playing 21 with one deck off cards aND two people playing, in playing Blackjack with one deck of cards and two people playing what is the most black jack show up. Ken, This may not be the most appropriate page to post this, but let me explain the situation.
I aspire to hopefully gather a group of trustworthy guys together to form a blackjack team. Team play is complicated and far more involved than a group of friends pooling resources.
There is not much published on team play. The following book may be helpful. The strategy does not change, but the player is worse off by around 0. As the dealer I get up to Can the dealer chose to stay and take the chips bet from player on the left. But pay the player on the right? His rules are fixed. He must hit until he has 17 or higher, and then he must stand. Even if all the players at the table have 18, the dealer must stand if he ends up with a Most casinos now deal games with an extra rule about soft This is covered in detail in the article above.
I have a question. I signed up on an online casino and I was getting ready to play blackjack for real money and I asked the live chat help person how many decks were being used and she said 24 decks.
Casinos, both online and land-based, can deal the game pretty much any way they like, including increasing the number of decks to a ridiculous 24! Fortunately, once you get to 8 decks, the game does not get much worse for the player by adding even more decks. Eight decks is the most typically seen in brick-and-mortar casinos, but in most jurisdictions, land-based or online, there is no legal requirement for any specific number of decks. Is there any standard in the way a dealer deals from the deck?
You are describing a CSM continuous shuffle machine , where after each hand the dealer immediately puts the used cards back into the shuffler. As you note, this eliminates the ability to count cards, or to even observe a useful bias. Since used cards can return into play immediately, the penetration is effectively zero.
These machines have spread widely. The only recourse is to see if your casino also still offers regular games either hand-shuffled, or machine-shuffled but with a normal discard tray. If not, voice your discontent and look elsewhere. Should I be able to ask a casino to provide a copy of their rules? I assume you are talking about online casinos. I didnt catch it at first but sure enough when I drew another card I busted.
This particular game would not count both my Aces as one. Is this ever done at a casino? Who knows what else they are doing wrong! To answer your question, no, this is never done at any casino I have visited. Is this a good bet?
What is the house percentage? Yes, there are outstanding opportunities afforded by some sidebets under some circumstances, but if you are able to figure out how to beat them, you no longer need to ask about them. So, the answer to that question is always no. I read the following in the Casino Verite Software: Can you help me with this? There you can find: This works because of the unbalanced nature of the count. Or do I need to count them equally?
Treat them independently, and reassess after each drawn card changes the hand. Here are some examples: You will draw each of those hands about once every hands or so.
As to whether or not to double, 9,3 is a hard 12 and should certainly never be doubled. Also against a dealer 4 in some 1 and 2 deck games. See the Strategy Engine for accurate advice for any game. I assume you are asking about accessing the charts on your smartphone in the casino. I do not recommend that. In the US, there are laws prohibiting the use of devices in gambling. Most of these laws are based on the Nevada version, which is written in a way that it could be interpreted to mean even something as harmless as looking up a strategy.
If you want access to the strategy in the casino, get a plastic card instead. The shoe game will be easier for a visually impaired player, because both the other players and the dealer have full access to the needed information about the hands.
I have played at the table on many occasions with blind players, and the dealer has always assisted by verbally providing the details of the hand. Awesome page, One question.. Is this a standard rule? Need to be sure which is the standard and which is the exception… Thanks. I have seen the behavior you describe in online casinos, but I have never seen it dealt that way in any land-based casino. There, the dealer always deals a card to the first split hand, finishes that hand, and then deals a card to the second split hand and begins it.
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However, through doubling and splitting you can potentially bet more. To reduce the house edge, you must make the optimal move for every hand — according to the math. This is much easier than it sounds. Blackjack , also known as twenty-one , is a comparing card game between usually several players and a dealer, where each player in turn competes against the dealer, but players do not play against each other.
It is played with one or more decks of 52 cards, and is the most widely played casino banking game in the world. Players are each dealt two cards, face up or down depending on the casino and the table at which you sit. In most other countries, the dealer receives one card face up. The value of cards two through ten is their pip value 2 through Face cards Jack, Queen, and King are all worth ten.
Aces can be worth one or eleven. A hand's value is the sum of the card values. Players are allowed to draw additional cards to improve their hands. A hand with an ace valued as 11 is called "soft", meaning that the hand will not bust by taking an additional card; the value of the ace will become one to prevent the hand from exceeding Otherwise, the hand is "hard".
The dealer hand will not be completed if all players have either busted or received blackjacks. The dealer then reveals the hidden card and must hit until the cards total 17 or more points. At most tables the dealer also hits on a "soft" 17, i.
Players win by not busting and having a total higher than the dealer, or not busting and having the dealer bust, or getting a blackjack without the dealer getting a blackjack. If the player and dealer have the same total not counting blackjacks , this is called a "push", and the player typically does not win or lose money on that hand. Otherwise, the dealer wins. Blackjack has many rule variations. Since the s, blackjack has been a high-profile target of advantage players , particularly card counters , who track the profile of cards that have been dealt and adapt their wagers and playing strategies accordingly.
Blackjack has inspired other casino games, including Spanish 21 and pontoon. Blackjack's precursor was twenty-one , a game of unknown origin. The first written reference is found in a book by the Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes , most famous for writing Don Quixote. Cervantes was a gambler , and the main characters of his tale " Rinconete y Cortadillo ", from Novelas Ejemplares , are a couple of cheats working in Seville.
They are proficient at cheating at veintiuna Spanish for twenty-one , and state that the object of the game is to reach 21 points without going over and that the ace values 1 or The game is played with the Spanish baraja deck. This short story was written between and , implying that ventiuna was played in Castile since the beginning of the 17th century or earlier. Later references to this game are found in France and Spain. When twenty-one was introduced in the United States, gambling houses offered bonus payouts to stimulate players' interest.
One such bonus was a ten-to-one payout if the player's hand consisted of the ace of spades and a black jack either the jack of clubs or the jack of spades.
This hand was called a "blackjack", and the name stuck to the game even though the ten-to-one bonus was soon withdrawn. In the modern game, a blackjack refers to any hand of an ace plus a ten or face card regardless of suits or colors. The first scientific and mathematically sound attempt to devise an optimal blackjack playing strategy was revealed in September This paper would become the foundation of all future sound efforts to beat the game of blackjack.
At a casino blackjack table, the dealer faces five to seven playing positions from behind a semicircular table. Between one and eight standard card decks are shuffled together. At the beginning of each round, up to three players can place their bets in the "betting box" at each position in play. That is, there could be up to three players at each position at a table in jurisdictions that allow back betting.
The player whose bet is at the front of the betting box is deemed to have control over the position, and the dealer will consult the controlling player for playing decisions regarding the hand; the other players of that box are said to "play behind". Any player is usually allowed to control or bet in as many boxes as desired at a single table, but it is prohibited for an individual to play on more than one table at a time or to place multiple bets within a single box.
Each box is dealt an initial hand of two cards visible to the people playing on it, and often to any other players. The dealer's hand receives its first card face up, and in "hole card" games immediately receives its second card face down the hole card , which the dealer peeks at but does not reveal unless it makes the dealer's hand a blackjack.
Hole card games are sometimes played on tables with a small mirror or electronic sensor that is used to peek securely at the hole card. In European casinos, "no hole card" games are prevalent; the dealer's second card is neither drawn nor consulted until the players have all played their hands. Cards are dealt either from one or two handheld decks, from a dealer's shoe , or from a shuffling machine.
Single cards are dealt to each wagered-on position clockwise from the dealer's left, followed by a single card to the dealer, followed by an additional card to each of the positions in play. The players' initial cards may be dealt face up or face down more common in single-deck games. On their turn, players must choose whether to "hit" take a card , "stand" end their turn , "double" double wager, take a single card and finish , "split" if the two cards have the same value, separate them to make two hands or "surrender" give up a half-bet and retire from the game.
Number cards count as their natural value; the jack, queen, and king also known as "face cards" or "pictures" count as 10; aces are valued as either 1 or 11 according to the player's choice. If the hand value exceeds 21 points, it busts, and all bets on it are immediately forfeit. After all boxes have finished playing, the dealer's hand is resolved by drawing cards until the hand busts or achieves a value of 17 or higher a dealer total of 17 including an ace, or "soft 17", must be drawn to in some games and must stand in others.
The dealer never doubles, splits, or surrenders. If the dealer busts, all remaining player hands win. If the dealer does not bust, each remaining bet wins if its hand is higher than the dealer's, and loses if it is lower. If a player receives 21 on the 1st and 2nd card it is considered a "natural" or "blackjack" and the player is paid out immediately unless dealer also has a natural, in which case the hand ties.
In the case of a tied score, known as "push" or "standoff", bets are normally returned without adjustment; however, a blackjack beats any hand that is not a blackjack, even one with a value of Wins are paid out at 1: Many casinos today pay blackjacks at less than 3: Blackjack games almost always provide a side bet called insurance, which may be played when dealer's upcard is an ace.
Additional side bets, such as "Dealer Match" which pays when the player's cards match the dealer's up card, are sometimes available. After receiving an initial two cards, the player has up to four standard options: Each option has a corresponding hand signal. Some games give the player a fifth option, "surrender". Hand signals are used to assist the " eye in the sky ", a person or video camera located above the table and sometimes concealed behind one-way glass.
The eye in the sky usually makes a video recording of the table, which helps in resolving disputes and identifying dealer mistakes, and is also used to protect the casino against dealers who steal chips or players who cheat. The recording can further be used to identify advantage players whose activities, while legal, make them undesirable customers. In the event of a disagreement between a player's hand signals and their words, the hand signal takes precedence.
Each hand may normally "hit" as many times as desired so long as the total is not above hard On reaching 21 including soft 21 , the hand is normally required to stand; busting is an irrevocable loss and the players' wagers are immediately forfeited to the house. After a bust or a stand, play proceeds to the next hand clockwise around the table. When the last hand has finished being played, the dealer reveals the hole card, and stands or draws further cards according to the rules of the game for dealer drawing.
When the outcome of the dealer's hand is established, any hands with bets remaining on the table are resolved usually in counterclockwise order: