Playing blackjack is not that hard as there are very few phases of play in an average game of blackjack. For starters, a game of blackjack requires at least two players, the gambler and the dealer. The maximum amount of players in a game of blackjack in most casinos is seven players (including the dealer). In blackjack, you are not playing against your fellow gamblers, but against the house.
The game begins with each player being dealt two cards. The cards that a player has are referred to as his/her ‘hand’. The dealer also has to get two cards, one of which has to be placed face up; this is referred to as the ‘up card’. The main aim of the game is to have a hand whose value exceeds the dealer’s, without exceeding a value of 21. This threshold of 21 is why blackjack is sometimes referred to as ‘21’.
It is important, at this point, to discuss the value that each card holds. Numbered cards, which have values ranging between two and ten, will have values that correspond to their number. In blackjack, the type of card (hearts, spades, clubs, or diamonds) has no significance in the game of blackjack. Face cards (queen, king, and jack) have a value of 10, while the ace either has a value of 1 or 11, depending on which value favours the player.
Once a player gets their initial two cards, the two main options that they have is to ‘hit’ or ‘stand’. When you hit, you get an additional card, while standing means that you are pleased with the cards that you have in your initial hand. You can choose to stand after taking one or more additional cards.
Another option that you have is to ‘double down’. When you double down, you double the wager that you made, and you get an additional card. Once you get your third card, you cannot get any other additional cards and the three cards that you have become your final hand.
You can also choose to ‘split’ if your initial two cards are similar. This means that if you have two jacks, then you can split; but if you have a jack and a king – both of which have a value of ten – you cannot split them as they are not identical despite their similar value. When you split your cards, you will have two hands, both of which will receive an additional card and no more additional hits.
If the dealer’s up card has a value of ten, you can choose to surrender which means that you surrender half of your bet. If the dealer’s up card is an ace, then you can ‘insure’ against the likelihood of the dealer having a blackjack (an ace and a ten value card) but you will forfeit half of your winnings. A push occurs when the player and the dealer have hands with similar values.
If your cards have a value exceeding 21, then you automatically bust and lose your wager. This is regardless of the dealer’s hand. If you get a higher value than the dealer, without busting, then you win the value of your wager i.e. if you had wagered 10 rupees, then you win an additional 10 rupees. If you get a blackjack (an ace and a 10 value card) then you get 1.5 times your wager, i.e. if you had wagered 10 rupees, then you win 15 rupees.