Blackjack is a game of skill. Although the basic rules are easy to learn, there are different techniques and betting strategies you can use to enhance your potential of winning. The value of each card is the same as in other games with one difference - the ace can be worth either one or eleven, depending upon which better suits the hand you are holding at the time.
Before you are dealt any cards, you must ante and make a bet by placing chips in the circles directly in front of your seat. If you wish to tip the dealer, you can place a chip in front of your betting circle. The dealer deals you two cards, both face up. The dealer gets two cards as well, one face down and one face up.
The goal of blackjack is to get as high of a value as possible without going over 21. If you go over 21, you bust and the dealer wins the hand. You obtain the value of your hand by adding together the cards that are face up in front of you, remembering that the ace is worth either one or 11. So, if you had two 10s and an ace, you would have a hand worth 21 because obviously you would want the ace to count as one.
Blackjack is a solo game. Even though there might be eight players at a table, there can be no teamwork between the players. It is strictly a one on one game between the player and the dealer. If you beat the value of the dealer's hand without busting, you win the hand no matter how well any of the other players' hands did. If the dealer busts and you don't, then you win the hand as well.
After the players have fully finished making their hands, the dealer flips over his face down card. If the total value of his hand is less than 17, he must hit again. If you beat the dealer straight up, you receive your original bet back plus the amount of the original bet as your winnings. If you receive a blackjack (21), you receive 1.5 times the amount of your original bet as your winnings.
Hit - This means you want the dealer to add another card to your hand. Indicate to the dealer that you want a hit by making a beckoning motion with your finger or tapping the table behind your cards with your finger.
Standing - This means you are satisfied with the total of the hand and want to stand with the cards you have. Indicate that you want to stand by waving your hand over the cards.
Pair Splitting - If you have two like cards, e.g. a pair of sixes or aces, you could exercise the option to split. When you split you must make another bet equal to your original bet. Just place your chip next to the original chip bet on the hand. By pair splitting you play each card as a separate hand and you can draw as many cards as you like to each hand. Pairs can split up to three times, equaling four hands. Aces can only receive one card on each.
Doubling Down - This playing option allows you to double your bet in return for receiving only one draw card. You can only double down after you receive your first two cards and before drawing another card. To signal the dealer that you want to double down, just place your chip next to the original chip bet on the hand.
Insurance - When the dealer's up card is an ace, the dealer will ask players if they want to make the insurance wager. It is a side bet in which players are betting that the dealer's hole card will be a 10-value card. Players can make an insurance bet up to one- half of the initial bet made on the hand. To make the insurance bet you simply place your chips on the insurance line located right above the player's betting box. This will ensure your hand and cover your bet. Insurance pays 2-to-1.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How do I sit in on a game, and how much do I have to wager?
A. Just find a table with an open seat! There is a sign on each table showing the minimum bid for that particular table. Some start at $5 and others $25. If you have a question, just ask the dealer.
Q. How long must I play?
A. You're welcome to play for as few or as many hands as you like. You may leave the table at any time between hands. Of course, you take away from the table any money you have won or held onto.
Q. Should I tip my dealer?
A. Casino dealers are members of the "Service Industry." This means that, like waiters and waitresses, they rely on tips for a substantial part of their income. If a dealer is being friendly and trying to make sure you are having an enjoyable experience, it is customary to tip after you win a hand.
Q. Before I play, is there any other advice you can offer?
A. Yes. Please be sure that you take a few minutes to read this site as it relates to your favorite game. If you are still unfamiliar with any of the terminology used in here, please ask our card room supervisor, who will gladly assist you.