How to Play Blackjack

Black Jack which is also known as twenty one or pontoon is one of the most widely played casino games. The reason for its success is generally because it is very easy to learn and to play. Players simply have to use a minimum of 2 cards to obtain a score of 21 without going bust, and if they beat the dealer and other players then they win the hand.

The Cards

All the cards have a value according to their picture. The numbered cards from 2-10 have those exact values, for example 2 = 2. All picture cards; Jacks, Queens and Kings have a value of 10. The Ace can have a value of one or eleven, but players with this card in their hand must decide the value of the Ace as soon as it is dealt to them.

The Deal

The Dealer deals each player two cards faced down, as well as having two cards himself although one card is faced up and known as the ‘up card’. All players must then count the value of their cards and choose to hit, stick or split.

  • Hit – if a player chooses to hit then it means that they have want another card in order to try to achieve 21.
  • Stick – this means that the player is happy with the cards that they have.
  • Split – many casinos will allow players to split their hand if they have two cards of the same value, for example two Kings. When this is done the dealer separates the cards and the player plays two hands.

Black Jack or Bust

Black Jack is achieved by having cards whose total value adds up to 21. This can be achieved with the opening two cards if the players has a picture card, such as a Jack, King or Queen and an Ace, or it can be achieved by requesting a ‘hit’ for additional cards. If a player declares themselves ‘bust’ it means that the value of their cards is over 21.

Soft and hard hands

A soft hand is achieved if the player or the dealer’s cards have a value that is under 21with an Ace and could be exceeded if they request a ‘hit’. For example, if the value of the cards is 17 or 18 then the player might request to ‘stick’ because the chances of getting a 3 or a 4 are quite low and they don’t want to go bust. A hard hand is one where the value of the cards is under 21 but the hand does not contain an Ace. Some casinos will have set rules stating that the dealer must ‘hit’ if they have a hard hand.

Winning Black Jack

Black Jack is won by getting a value of 21 on the cards, using the least cards possible or by getting close to 21. If the player and the dealer have the same value with their cards then this is called a ‘push’ or tie and the player’s bet is returned meaning that they haven’t won or lost the hand.