How to play Blackjack

HOW TO PLAY BLACKJACKBlackjack has been one of the most popular card games globally for centuries. With relatively simple rules that allow players to quickly understand the core gameplay, Blackjack has proven itself to be a staple of casinos.

But how exactly does a game of Blackjack work? For those who aren’t as familiar with the game, or its parent Vingt-et-Un, we’ve put together a guide to the basics of how this classic game functions. Whether you’re looking to play a physical game or try your hand at online Blackjack, read on for our gameplay primer.

What’s the objective of Blackjack?

To get started, what is the goal of a game of Blackjack? As its original French name suggests, the objective is to get a hand value as close to 21 as possible, without going over that number.

Players are competing against the hand of the dealer, so as long as their final hand value is closer to the goal than the dealer’s this counts as a win.

Each of the cards in the deck is worth a set number of points, with the number cards all counting as their face value. The royal face cards are each counted as ten points, while the ace can be worth either one or 11 points.

The basics of Blackjack

A game starts with the cards being dealt out, with two being given face up to each player. The dealer’s hand works a little differently, with their first card dealt face up and the second face down to be shown later (known as the hole card).

Once the deal is complete, each player decides how they want to play their hand, which generally depends on how close the value of their hand is to 21. In some cases, a player may be dealt a card worth ten alongside an ace – a ‘natural’ 21 – which immediately ends the game.

In most cases, players will choose one of five options, which are:

  • Hit, taking another card from the dealer to increase the value of their hand
  • Stand, keeping their hand at its current value
  • Double down, doubling their initial wager to receive just one extra card
  • Split, dividing their hand into two separate hands if their initial cards are of identical value
  • Surrender, forfeiting and ending the game early

After each of the players have finished their turns the dealer will reveal the hole card. At this point, the dealer is required to hit until their hand reaches a value of at least 17. If the hole card results in a ‘natural’ 21 then the game immediately ends in the dealer’s favour.

If a player’s hand value exceeds 21 then they go bust and lose their wager, removing them from the game.

If the dealer busts this results in a win for all the remaining players, otherwise whoever at the table has the hand value closest to 21 is the victor. In the case of a tie – known as a push – the player’s wager is returned to them with no payout.

And there you have it, a simple rundown of how a game of Blackjack plays. With a basic understanding of the game’s rules and gameplay, players can try their hand at this classic card game.


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