What Is Blackjack And How To Play Them

As with all games of chance, Blackjack requires a certain amount of luck, but that too can be overcome. Players can learn to recognize valuable dealer cards and good situations to increase their chances. 

At the very least, the game is entertaining and can lead to increased sophistication and knowledge of how the cards work in this simple little game. With these thoughts in mind, there are several different places where we might find the cards in the Book of Revelation.

The Pack

The casino will typically use cards from several different decks; for example, eight decks used in it would likely contain 52 cards each from eight different decks. Rather than shuffle the cards between hands, a “burn card” is used to initiate new decks of cards.

Object Of The Game

Each participant attempts to beat the dealer by getting a count as close to 21 as possible, without going over 21.

Card Values/Scoring

It is up to each individual player if an ace is worth 1 or 11. Face cards are 10 and any other card is its pip value.


Before the deal begins, each player places a bet, in chips, in front of them in the designated area. Minimum and maximum limits are established on the betting, and the general limits are from $2 to $500.

The Shuffle And Cut 

The dealer thoroughly shuffles the deck, making sure to mix up all the cards thoroughly. They then choose one player to be the ‘cutter’, and place the plastic insert card so that the last 60-75 cards or so will not be used. This is to make it more difficult for professional card counters to operate effectively.

The Deal 

The dealer begins the game by giving each player one card face up. They then deal themselves one card face up. Another round of cards is dealt, this time face up to each player, but the dealer takes their second card face down. Thus, each player has two cards face up, while the dealer has one card face up and one card face down.


A “natural” is when a player’s first two cards add up to 21. If the dealer has a natural and the player does not, the dealer immediately pays the player 1.5 times their original bet. 

If both the dealer and player have naturals, it is a tie and the player keeps their original bet. If the dealer’s face-up card is a ten-card or an ace, they look at their face-down card to see if the two cards make a natural.

When the dealer reveals their face-up cards, players can determine whether they have a very good chance of winning — or if it’s time to throw in the towel. If a player receives two Aces and a 10, for instance, and the dealer does not reveal an Ace or 10 on their face-up card, that player is almost guaranteed to win with a natural.

The Play

The player to the left goes first and must decide whether to “stand” (not ask for another card) or “hit” (ask for another card in an attempt to get closer to a count of 21, or even hit 21 exactly). 

Thus, a player may stand on the two cards originally dealt to them, or they may ask the dealer for additional cards, one at a time, until deciding to stand on the total (if it is 21 or under), or goes “bust” (if it is over 21). 

In the latter case, the player loses and the dealer collects the bet wagered. The dealer then turns to the next player to their left and serves them in the same manner.

The combination of an ace with a card other than a ten-card is known as a “soft hand,” because the player can count the ace as a 1 or 11, and either draw cards or not. For example with a “soft 17” (an ace and a 6), the total is 7 or 17. 

While a count of 17 is a good hand, the player may wish to draw for a higher total. If the draw creates a bust hand by counting the ace as an 11, the player simply counts the ace as a 1 and continues playing by standing or “hitting” (asking the dealer for additional cards, one at a time).

The Dealer’s Play 

When the dealer has served every player, the dealer’s face-down card is turned up. If the total is 17 or more, it must stand. If the total is 16 or under, they must take a card. The dealer must continue to take cards until the total is 17 or more, at which point the dealer must stand. 

If the dealer has an ace, and counting it as 11 would bring the total to 17 or more (but not over 21), the dealer must count the ace as 11 and stand. The dealer’s decisions, then, are automatic on all plays, whereas the player always has the option of taking one or more cards.

Signaling Intentions

When a player’s turn comes, they can say “Hit” or can signal for a card by scratching the table with a finger or two in a motion toward themselves, or they can wave their hand in the same motion that would say to someone “Come here!” When the player decides to stand, they can say “Stand” or “No more,” or can signal this intention by moving their hand sideways, palm down, and just above the table.

Splitting Pairs

If a player has two cards of the same denomination, such as two jacks or two sixes, they may choose to split them into two separate hands. The original bet is placed on one of the cards, and an equal amount must be placed on the other card. 

The player then plays each hand separately. With a pair of aces, the player is given one card for each ace and cannot draw again. Also, if a ten-card is dealt to one of these aces, the payoff is equal to the bet (not one and one-half to one).

Double Down 

There are a few different options available to the player when they are dealt two cards that total 9, 10, or 11. They can choose to double their bet, which means that they will place another bet equal to their original bet and the dealer will only give them one more card. 

This card is placed face down and is not turned up until all of the bets have been settled at the end of the hand. Another option available to the player is splitting a pair, which means that they can divide their two cards into two separate hands. 

Finally, they can choose to just play the hand in the regular way. Note that the dealer does not have any of these options available to them.

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Insurance is a side bet that can be made by any player when the dealer’s face-up card is an ace. The bet is that the dealer’s face-down card is a ten-card, which would give the house. 

If the dealer does, then the insurance bet pays off at 2 to 1. However, if the dealer does not have a blackjack, then the player loses their insurance bet. Making an insurance bet is generally not considered a good idea for players unless they are confident that there are still a lot of ten cards left in the deck.


A bet once paid and collected is never returned. Thus, one key advantage to the dealer is that the player goes first. If the player goes bust, they have already lost their wager, even if the dealer goes bust as well. 

If the dealer goes over 21, the dealer pays each player who has stood the amount of that player’s bet. If the dealer stands at 21 or less, the dealer pays the bet of any player having a higher total (not exceeding 21) and collects the bet of any player having a lower total. 

If there is a stand-off (a player having the same total as the dealer), no chips are paid out or collected.


When each player’s bet is settled, the dealer gathers that player’s cards and places them face up at the side against a clear plastic L-shaped shield. 

The dealer continues to deal with the shoe until coming to the plastic insert card, which indicates that it is time to reshuffle. Once that round of play is over, the dealer shuffles all the cards, prepares them for the cut, places the cards in the shoe, and the game continues.

Basic Strategy

In the game, the goal is to create a hand with a higher value than the dealer’s hand, without going over 21. To do this, you must understand which cards are good for you and which aren’t, based on the dealer’s upcard. 

If the dealer has a good card showing (7, 8, 9, 10-card, or ace), you should hit until you reach 17 or higher. However, if the dealer has a poor card showing (4, 5, or 6), you should stop taking cards when you reach 12 or higher. 

The reason for this is that you don’t want to risk busting your hand by taking too many chances. Finally, if the dealer’s upcard is fair (2 or 3), you should stop drawing when you reach 13 or higher. 

If you have what is known as a soft hand – meaning that one of your cards is an ace that can be counted as either 1 or 11 – then the general strategy is to keep hitting until you reach 18 or higher. So if you have an ace and a 6 (for 7 or 17), you would keep hitting in order to get closer to 18.

The basic strategy for doubling down is as follows: With a total of 11, the player should always double down. With a total of 10, he should double down unless the dealer shows a ten-card or an ace. With a total of 9, the player should double down only if the dealer’s card is fair or poor (2 through 6).

For splitting, the player should always split a pair of aces or 8s; identical ten-cards should not be split, and neither should a pair of 5s since two 5s are a total of 10, which can be used more effectively in doubling down. 

A pair of 4s should not be split either, as a total of 8 is a good number to draw to. Generally, 2s, 3s, or 7s can be split unless the dealer has an 8, 9, ten-card, or ace. Finally, 6s should not be split unless the dealer’s card is poor (2 through 6).


In general, blackjack is a thrilling and exciting game that is perfect for anyone looking for a new challenge. Although luck plays a role in this game, players can learn to recognize valuable dealer cards and good situations to increase their chances of winning. 

The rules of it are simple, and it is easy to learn how to play. It is a game of strategy, and players can use their knowledge to gain an edge over the casino. With a minimum bet of just $2 and a maximum of $500, this game is accessible to all. 

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