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Each player has 2 cards, face up, in front of them, but the dealer has one card face up and one face down. It should look something like the picture below.
You have two cards face up in front of your bet. To play your hand, first you add the card values together and get a hand total anywhere from 4 to Those get paid 3 to 2 or 1.
Dealers will not respond to your verbal instructions because the cameras need to see your decisions as well. Stand — If your first two cards are acceptable, you can stand and the dealer will move on to the next player.
There is no limit on the number of cards you can take other than going over a total of Double Down — If you have a hand total that is advantageous to you but you need to take an additional card you can double your initial wager and the dealer will deal you only 1 additional card.
This also applies to face cards. You are allowed to split a hand consisting of a King and a Jack because they both have the same value, even though they are not actually a pair.
The dealer will make two hands out of your first hand and you will be dealt a second card on each. Based on what the dealer is showing, and what you have in your hand, you make the choice that follows basic strategy.
Basic strategy is the mathematically optimal way to play for every combination of player hand and dealer up-card.
It was created by a computer that played millions of rounds of blackjack and determined the best way to play each hand combination based on what worked out best for the player most often.
If you follow basic strategy it takes the guesswork out of the decision! When you follow basic strategy and play your hand by using one of the 5 options listed above, one of 3 things will happen.
If the dealer has a hand total of 17 or higher, they will automatically stand. If the dealer has a hand total of 16 or lower, they will take additional hit-cards.
Doubling, splitting and surrender are not available to the dealer and the dealer does not have any choice with how they play their hand like the player does.
The Dealer must play their hand the same way every time. The only exception is when the dealer has a 17 that consists of an Ace and a six. This gives the casino a bigger advantage than if the dealer stands on ALL 17s.
Whether or not the dealer will hit a soft 17 will usually be prominently displayed, in text on the the felt, so you know how to expect the dealer to play their hand.
Understand card counting. What some players do when they're really good is count the "value" of the deck, or, more specifically, how many aces and tens are left to be played or this and that.
If lots are still to be seen, they up their bets, knowing the likelihood of them getting a good hand is better. Casinos have caught onto this however, and most now use multiple decks in the shoe or cut the deck or both.
With six decks in play and more cards taken out, it's not likely with low penetration to track the number of good cards in the deck. Because of this, card counting will not be outlined here.
Refer to wikiHow's card counting page if you're interested in the details. Method 3 of Grab a seat at an open table. When the hand is over if you're not alone at the table , whip out your stack of money and tell the dealer what denomination of chips you'd like.
S He will take your money and exchange it for a pile of chips. Then, you place your bet in the betting box and away you go!
If you're a newbie to the blackjack game, you may want to avoid the seat on the far left of the table third base. Since this is the spot that comes right before the dealer, you're likely to get a lot of heat if you're the reason the dealer turns up a 5, or any good card for themselves, though you may be congratulated if you make the dealer bust.
Though obviously not logical, no one said humans, and gamblers especially, ever were. Start using your hands. At a casino's blackjack table, being mute would go entirely unnoticed.
You don't need a single word to play the game. In fact, you'd blend into the crowd more if you never opened your mouth.
For hitting, either tap the table with a finger or two or scrape the table with the edge of your cards. For standing, place your chips on top of your cards, face down or wave your hand palm down horizontally over your cards.
For splitting, add another bet and point 2 fingers. For doubling down, add another bet to your betting box and point 1 finger.
Assume the dealer has a ten. When it comes down to it, that card facing down has better odds of being a ten or worth 10 than any other value. If he or she is showing a 6 or lower, the idea is they'll bust.
That's the basic strategy. You should take into account both your cards and their cards. If you have sixteen and the dealer is showing a six, stand. They have to take a card unless the have an A.
But if you have sixteen and the dealer is showing a Know when to walk away. Just like in poker, blackjack has hot and cold tables.
Soft totals: A soft total is any hand that has an Ace as one of the first two cards, the ace counts as 11 to start.
Hard totals: A hard total is any hand that does not start with an ace in it, or it has been dealt an ace that can only be counted as 1 instead of We get a lot of questions on our forum about basic strategy.
Here are some of the common ones and their answers:. Basic strategy was derived from a computer simulation. Somebody taught a computer how to play blackjack and then told it to play several hundred MILLION hands of blackjack and record what happened.
Why are the strategy charts on this site different than the charts I saw on such-and-such website? There are also slight variations in strategy when you play a 6 deck game versus a single deck game.
Rather than teach you 9 different basic strategy charts for each variant of blackjack you will ever see, we decided to run our simulation against the games people will most commonly see and teach one basic strategy that is sufficiently effective against all numbers of decks.
We have a Keep it Simple Stupid , mentality when it comes to learning card counting. With that said, whatever strategy you choose to learn, we recommend sticking with ONLY those materials.
Here's a printer-friendly version of the table. If you haven't memorized the table by heart by the time you go to the casino, take it with you and use it while you play!
Casinos don't mind if you do this, as long as it doesn't slow down the game. Don't feel guilty and try to hide it if the dealer or Pit Boss wants to see it; it's not against the law or against casino rules to use your table, and it's not like you have some special secret that the casino has never heard of.
This table has been around for decades. I used this table at a blackjack table when I was getting started and didn't trust my memory, and it was no problem.
Not that you should expect to always get ribbed by the other players for consulting your table -- most probably either won't care or know that you're making the proper plays.
And not that you should expect to win just from using the table -- the odds are still against you when you use basic strategy, though not by much.
Twelve through sixteen are the worst hands to have. If you have less than 12, there's no way you can bust your hand. And if you have more than 16, you're not gonna hit and risk busting, so the decision is easy.
But if you have 12 to 16 and the dealer has a high card, then the strategy says you must hit -- and risk busting. Very nicely done. Card counters turn the odds in their favor by keeping track of the ratio of high to low cards.
More high cards left in the deck favor the player, and more low cards favor the house. They bet more when there are lots of high cards left and they vary their playing strategy hit or stand according to the count.
Before you get excited about learning to count, let's get a few things straight first. Number One, you absolutely must have learned basic strategy down pat before learning to count.
Counting is useless if you don't know basic strategy. Second, it takes money to make money. If your goal is to make money, you have to have a large bankroll to weather losing streaks.
Third, basic strategy alone will let you play at a tiny 0. So even without counting cards you can get decent odds. Also, one of my favorite resources is the Card Counting Strategy Comparison , which shows how different card-counting methods stack up.
Some casinos offer variations of Blackjack, the most popular being Double Exposure and Spanish Double Exposure was devised by the legendary Bob Stupak , the man behind the building of the Stratosphere Tower.
Stupak was pushed out of the company which owned the then-financially troubled Strat in the late 90's. Stupak also devised "Crapless Craps".
But we digress. In Double Exposure, both the dealer's cards are dealt face-up. Naturally this gives you an advantage. To counter that advantage, naturals pay only even money instead of 3 to 2, and the dealer wins all ties except Naturals.
Just as with blackjack, different casinos have different rule variations. A small survey by The Wizard of Odds showed a house edge ranging from 0.
Spanish 21 also has its own special weird rule changes, but unlike Double Exposure it has a low a low house edge -- 0. However, its basic strategy table is very complicated and difficult to learn.
Once I was in Atlantic City and saw the Wizard of Odds, probably the world's leading expert on Spanish 21, playing the game, and even he was consulting his printout table on certain plays!
Either laboriously memorizing the table or keeping the table handy while you play seems like a lot to ask for an edge that's not that much lower than blackjack 0.
To learn more about Spanish 21, visit The Wizard of Odds. Mitigate the house advantage. The dealer gains an advantage because the player must act first without knowing what the hole card, the face-down card, is.
Also, once you go over 21, or bust, you lose even if the dealer busts as well. Study basic blackjack strategy. Because blackjack is a game of probabilities compared to other casino games, you will be a stronger player by learning how to play certain hands.
For example, do you hit on your 16 when the dealer has a ten? Do you split your eights? Study a chart to determine which choice you should make depending on what cards you have and what card the dealer shows.
Different casinos or blackjack games feature different rules. Many games use multiple decks of cards in order to discourage card counting, throwing off your ability to track your odds of winning.
Most games of blackjack require the dealer to stop at 17, even if this means the dealer loses, but the rules may allow for the dealer to hit on a soft 17, which is a 17 made with an ace the ace can be a one or an These machines make keeping track of possible cards you and the dealer can draw an impossibility.
Others will pay you less, such as , and should be avoided. Formulate your betting strategy. Remember that there is no such thing as being due for a win or hot and cold decks.
Any such pattern you perceive will disappear over time because the game is based on chance and probability. Instead, try betting low after a loss or deck shuffle and increase your bet a little when you perceive the odds are in your favor.
Increase your bet when the odds are in your favor. Many high cards in the deck work better for you since they always amount to ten and help you get more blackjacks.
Once you have a grasp of your odds of winning, you can more aggressively bet on good hands. Resist buying insurance.
The dealer will give you an option to buy protection in case the dealer has a blackjack. This means you in essence make a side bet that the dealer will have blackjack.
If the dealer does have blackjack, you will win your side bet but lose your original bet. This may get you back some money in the short-term, but long-term the bet makes the casino money.
Card counters however have a better idea and can use their information to make money on this bet. Part 2 Quiz If both you and the dealer bust when you're the only player, who wins that hand?
The dealer. Both of you. Neither of you. Kings, queens, and jacks are each worth 10, and aces may be used as either 1 or The object for the player is to draw cards totaling closer to 21, without going over, than the dealer's cards.
The best total of all is a two-card 21, or a blackjack. However, if the dealer also has a two-card 21, the hand pushes, or ties, and you just get your original bet back.
But if the dealer goes on to draw 21 in three or more cards, your blackjack is still a winner with its payoff. The game is usually played at an arc-shaped table with places for up to seven players on the outside and for the dealer on the inside.
At one corner of the table is a rectangular placard that tells the minimum and maximum bets at that table, as well as giving variations in common rules.
Split any pair three times. Double on any two cards. Pairs may be split according to the rules described below, and if more matching cards are dealt, the pairs may be split up to three times for a total of four hands.
The player may double the original bet double down and receive just one more card on any two-card total. Most games today use four, six, or eight decks.
After being shuffled, the cards are placed in a receptacle called a shoe, from which the dealer can slide out one card at a time.
Single- or double-deck games, most common in Nevada, but also popular in Mississippi and some other markets, may be dealt from the dealer's hand.
Play begins when you place a bet by stacking a chip or chips in the betting square on the table directly in front of you.
After all bets have been placed, each player and the dealer are given two cards. In a shoe game, all player cards are dealt faceup, and the players are not permitted to touch their cards.
In a single- or double-deck game dealt from the hand, cards are dealt facedown and players may pick them up with one hand.
Either way, one of the dealer's cards is turned faceup so the players can see it. Once the cards have been dealt, players decide in turn how to play out their hands.
After all players have finished, the dealer plays according to set rules: The dealer must draw more cards to any total of 16 or less and must stand on any total of 17 or more.
In some casinos, the dealer will also draw to "soft" 17 -- a 17 including an ace or aces that could also be counted as a 7. The most common soft 17 is ace-6, but several other totals, such as ace or ace, on up to ace-ace-ace-ace-ace-ace-ace in a multiple deck game, are soft 17s.
Hit: If you hit, you take another card or cards in hopes of getting closer to If the player's total exceeds 21 after hitting, the player is said to "bust" and loses the bet.
In shoe games, the player signals a hit by pointing to his cards or scratching or waving toward himself. In facedown games, the player signals a hit by scratching the table with the cards.
Verbal calls to hit are not accepted -- signals are used for the benefit of the security cameras above the table, so a taped record is on hand to settle any potential disputes.
Stand: If you stand, you elect to draw no more cards in hopes that the current total will beat the dealer.
Signal a stand by holding a flattened palm over your cards in a faceup game or by sliding your cards under your bet in a facedown game.
Double down: You may elect to double your original bet and receive only one more card regardless of its denomination. Some casinos restrict doubling down to hands in which your first two cards total 10 or Others allow you to double on any two cards.
Double down by taking a chip or chips equal to the amount of your original bet and placing them next to your bet.
In a facedown game, at this point you also need to turn your original two cards faceup. Split: If your first two cards are of the same denomination, you may elect to make a second bet equal to your first and split the pair, using each card as the first card in a separate hand.
For example, if you are dealt two 8s, you may slide a second bet equal to the first to your betting box. The dealer will separate the 8s, then put a second card on the first 8.
You play that hand out in normal fashion until you either stand or bust; then the dealer puts a second card on the second 8, and you play that hand out.
Insurance: If the dealer's faceup card is an ace, you may take "insurance," which essentially is a bet that the dealer has a value card down to complete a blackjack.
Insurance, which may be taken for half the original bet, pays if the dealer has blackjack.