Blackjack – Basic Rules for Beginners - How to Play Blackjack

Blackjack is one of the most popular card games in card rooms and casinos on the Internet in the off-line world. It is easy to learn and it is even easier to like it. You see the reasons a short while. When you play blackjack you're playing against the house and not against the other players.

In Blackjack the objective is to draw cards until the cards in your hand at up to 21 are come as close to 21 as possible without going beyond this figure.

When the Blackjack game starts, both you and the dealer are dealt two cards each. The cards of the player are dealt face up while the first card of the dealer is face down and hidden from the view of the player. The cards - 10, Jack, Queen and King are assigned the value of 10 points each. All other cards except the Ace are worth their face values. The Ace can have a value of 1 or 11. It's always assumed to have the value that makes the best hand. Let's say the first two cards you are given are Ace and 4. This can be either considered as 5 or as 14, depending on whether Ace is counted as 1 or 11. Since 14 is more favorable, being closer to 21, Ace would be counted as 11. Now if the third card you draw is 8, it would add up to 22 and you would go beyond 21. So now Ace would be counted as 1 and your points would be 1 +4+8 which is 13. A hand that has an Ace is considered a soft total because the Ace can be counted as 1 or 10 without going over 21. The player can also draw another card without the fear of ‘busting’ by going past 21. When you have the hand (Ace,4,8) it is considered a hard hand because now the Ace has to be counted as 1. If Ace is counted as 11 it would take the total beyond 21 and you would go bust.

If your first two cards are total of 21 then you have blackjack, which is the highest value hand. With the blackjack you can only win or tie. If you get dealt two cards that are not Blackjack you can choose to either stand which means you won't be drawing any more cards are hit side of the card is dealt to you. Cards are dealt until a player chooses to stand or goes past. If the dealer goes past 21 while the player has chosen to stand, the player wins the game. If on the other hand the player has chosen to stand and the dealer goes past his points but doesn't exceed 21, then the dealer wins. To illustrate if you have a hand that is (10,7) and choose to stand and the dealer ends up with (8,5,5), you lose and the dealer wins because he has 18 points, 1 more than you and has not exceeded 21.

How the dealer plays in Blackjack

The dealer has to play in a specified manner. If the dealer has a hand that is 16 or less he has to continue to hit until he has reached 17 or more. The dealer has to stand on soft 17 and cannot draw additional cards. If the dealer exceeds 21 points the goes bust and the player has stood and chosen not to draw more cards, the player wins. If the dealer has chosen to stand with points of 17 or more and if he has a higher point count on the player, he wins as illustrated above.


The player can choose to split. This option can be exercised if the player is dealt two cards with identical values. They can then split them into two different hands and must match the initial bet. Each hand is then played separately. A hand can be split only once but there are variations in different casinos have varied limits when it comes to splitting. If I hand that has two aces is split, then only one additional card can be drawn by each of the two hands.

Doubling Down

After the first two cards have been dealt, the player can choose to double his bet as long as the two cards don't add up to blackjack. If the player chooses to double then only one more card is dealt to him and he has to match the original bet to double it.


When the dealer’s up-card is an Ace, the player is offered insurance. Taking these insurance is like placing a side bet. You are placing a bet that the dealer is face down card has a value of 10. If you're right you're paid 2 to 1 on the insurance bet. You lose the original bet amount but you still break even if you win the insurance bet which is why it is referred to as insurance. In a single deck game of blackjack there are 16 cards that have a value of 10. So the odds of the facedown card having a value of 10 are 1:3. Being offered even money on this is not usually lucrative in Blackjack.

It takes very little time for beginners to get used to Blackjack. Expertise may take a long time but the rules aren’t difficult to grasp. Most websites that offer Blackjack will also let you play for free until you choose to play with real money.