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Published on March 14th, 2012 | by Chris Austin

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Blackjack Rules Guide – Online Blackjack Rules Guide

One of the world’s favourite card games, and certainly the closest competitor to poker for the overall card game popularity crown, blackjack is a straightforward but deceptively complex game in which fortunes can be won or lost.  Plaid throughout casinos worldwide and extensively online, blackjack can be a challenging way to pit your wits against the house and win some serious money in the process. But before you can start playing blackjack, particularly in a physical casino setting, it’s important that you have a thorough and complete understanding of the object of blackjack and the rules of the game, so you can start to think about your game strategy and how best to go about maximising your winnings.

The Object

The object of blackjack is pretty straightforward, although the desired outcome belies the amount of effort and skill required to get there.  The winning hand is the player who is closest to 21 when the value of their cards are added. From the initial two cards which are dealt, players can either stick or hit, depending on whether they feel they want to risk going over 21 for the chance to get closer to the magic number with their next card. A hand that goes over 21 is immediately bust, so players must try to make sure that they keep as close as possible to the 21-mark without straying over. Players can have up to 5 cards in which to reach the 21 mark.

Card Values

In order to establish where you are in relation to the magic 21, and which cards you might need to draw in order to strengthen your position, it’s worthwhile to know how each of the cards in the deck are valued for the purposes of counting up to 21. Each numerical card is given its face value as its number, such that the 6 of clubs, for example, would be counted as a 6. This is true of all numerical cards, i.e. not those that are face cards or an ace. Face cards, i.e. the kings, queens and jacks of all suits are awarded 10 points each, so a hand with a jack and a queen would equal twenty, a hand with a king and a 4 would equal 14. Finally, Aces are counted as either 11 or 1, where counting it as 11 would make a hand bust. Aces can be counted as 11 on the original deal and then 1 thereafter for example, where it benefits the gamer to do so in his quest for a winning hand. 

The Dealer Hand

When you’re playing blackjack, it is always played against the dealer, or the house.  As a result, the casino will also be playing a hand simultaneously, although the dealer usually has no autonomy in how to play the game.  Generally, the dealer must hit until he reaches 17 or more, at which point he must stick, without going over 21.  In the event that the dealer goes bust, everyone wins, so its imperative that the dealer operates in strict adherence to the rules of the table in determining how to play the game.



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