Blackjack is a casino card game played against the dealer, not against other players. Unlike many other casino games, it is not a game of pure chance. When you play blackjack, you have to make choices during the game that impact the end result.

blackjack

 

Blackjack can be played with any number of decks shuffled together, but single deck blackjack, two deck blackjack, six deck blackjack and eight deck blackjack are the alternatives that are most commonly found in casinos. Single deck blackjack is played with just one deck, which creates a rather special game dynamics.

Blackjack is played with the standard 52 card deck. No jokers or other wild cards are used in standard blackjack. Sometimes casinos will have special promotional campaigns, where they shuffle novelty cards into the deck and award the players that receive them.

If you want to play blackjack, it is important to know the point system. All the face cards (King, Queen, Jack) are worth 10 points each. The ace is worth 1 point or 11 points, depending on what’s best for the hand. All the other cards (2-10) are worth their numerical value, so a five is worth 5 points, a seven is worth 7 points, etc.

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Winning at blackjack

To win at blackjack your hand needs to be closer to 21 point than what the dealer’s hand is. So, if your hand is 18 points and the dealer’s hand is 17 points, you win. If your hand is 20 points and the dealer’s hand is 21 points, you lose.

Blackjack is not just the name of the game, it is also the name of a specific hand. Any start hand consisting of an ace + a ten point card is a blackjack. A blackjack outranks all the other 21 point hands.

Example: You have a blackjack, the dealer has 7 + 8 + 6 = 21 points. You win, because the blackjack is worth more than the ordinary 21 point hand.

Getting paid

When you win at blackjack, you get paid 1:1. So, on a €100 bet you get paid €100.

There is one notable exception. If you win with a blackjack (ace + 10 points), you get paid 3:2. So, on a €100 bet your get paid €150.

Ties

So, what happens if you and the dealer end up with hands of equal value?

In most casinos, you get to keep your wager in case of a tie. There are however casinos where you lose your wager in case of a tie, or where you only get to keep your wager if the tie is at 19 points or higher. Such rules are of course great for the casino and horrible for the players.

Hit or stay

As mentioned above, the players get to make choices during a round of blackjack. You get a start hand consisting of two cards, and your task is then to decide if you want to stay or if you want to receive a third card.

The aim of the game is to come closer to 21 points than the dealer’s hand. However, receiving a new card is risky on any hand worth 12 points or more, because if a hand reaches 22 points or more it is automatically lost. If your hand reaches 22 points or more (“goes over”), the dealer will take your cards and your wager. Your hand never even gets the chance to be compared with the dealer’s hand. If the dealer also goes over later in the round, this doesn’t mean that you get your wager back. A hand that is over is lost forever.

So, as soon as your blackjack hand has reached a value of 12 points or more, taking another card is risky, and this is one of the aspects that makes blackjack such as exhilarating game. If you receive a third card without going over or reaching 21 points, you can elect to receive a fourth card, and so on.