Blackjack is one of the oldest games at the casino and is also generally considered the most played game. It is played against the dealer, who also has a hand of cards of his own. The dealer begins the game by dealing two cards for everyone. The player examines his cards to decide whether or not to split, hit, stand or double down. Even though there may be several players at the table, each one is playing against the dealer individually. The object of the game is to beat the total the dealer has without exceeding a total of 21.
The cards are counted and totalled as follows:
- Number cards from 1 to 10 are worth the number on the card
- Face cards are worth 10
- The ace is worth 1 or 11
There are seven options for the player after dealing their cards in blackjack.
This is when the player gets an ace with a 10, J, Q or K. It usually pays 3-2 but this can vary based on the casino, the number of decks used and type of game. This is a sure win unless the dealer also has a blackjack, in which case they push or tie, and they neither lose nor win their bet.
A hit is when the player wants another card, and this is usually done by using a hand gesture. The player may also say “Hit me”. If the player hits and goes over 21, they will need to turn their cards up, and the bet will be lost.
A stand signifies that the player does not want any more cards. It is indicated by sliding the cards underneath their bet.
This is where the player can double their wager on the first two cards and receive only one more to improve their hand. The total of the first two cards the player is allowed to double down on varies with the casino.
If the first two cards of the player are pairs, they may split them and play two separate hands by placing a second bet equal to the first on the table. Most casinos allow the player to double down after they split and the same rules apply from above. They may hit as many times as they want to on either hand after a split. If the total goes over 21, they lose their wager on the busted hand alone.
If the face-up card of the dealer is an ace, they will ask if the player wants insurance. For that, the player can bet up to half their original bet. If the dealer has blackjack, the insurance gives a payout of 2-1. If not, the player loses their insurance bet alone and play continues to play as usual.
This is not something that is permitted at every casino. Here, a player can decide to surrender a hand and lose half their bet but only on their first two cards.