Rules and how to play Blackjack:
The object of the blackjack game is to accumulate cards with point
totals as close to 21 without going over 21. Face cards (Jacks, Queens
and Kings) are worth 10 points. Aces are worth 1 or 11, whichever is
preferable. Other cards are represented by their number.
If player and the House tie, it is a push and no one wins. Ace and
10 (Blackjack) on the first two cards dealt is an automatic player win at
1.5 to 1, unless the house ties. A player may stand at any time.
To win you need to beat the dealer without busting. You bust when your
cards total to more than 21 and you lose automatically. The winner is
whoever has closest to a total of 21. You reach 21 by adding up the values of
The blackjack table seats about 6 players. Either six or eight
decks of cards are used and are shuffled together by the dealer and placed
in a card dispensing box called 'Shoe'.
Before receiving any cards players must place a wager. Then the players are
dealt two cards face up. The dealer gets one face up, one face down. Each player
in turn either stays or takes more cards to try and get closer to 21 without
busting. Players who do not bust wait for the dealer's turn. When all the
players are done, the dealer turns up the down card. By rule, on counts of 17 or
higher the dealer must stay; on counts of 16 or lower the dealer must draw.
If you make a total of 21 with the first two cards (a 10 or a face and an
Ace), you win automatically. This is called 'Blackjack'. If you have Blackjack,
you will win one and one-half times your bet unless the dealer also has
Blackjack, in which case it is a Push or a Tie (or a Stand-off) and you get your
The remaining players with a higher count than the dealer win an amount equal
to their bet. Players with a lower count than the dealer lose their bet. If the
dealer busts, all the remaining players win. There are other betting options
namely Insurance, Surrender, Double Down, Even Money and Split.
- Insurance: side bet up to half the initial bet against the dealer
having a natural 21 - allowed only when the dealer's showing card is an Ace.
If the dealer has a 10 face down and makes a blackjack, insurance pays at 2-1
odds, but loses if the dealer does not.
- Surrender: giving up your hand and lose only half the bet.
- Early Surrender: surrender allowed before the dealer checks for
- Late Surrender: the dealer first checks to see if he has blackjack.
If he does, surrender is not permitted.
- Double Down: double your initial bet following the initial two-card
deal, but you can hit one card only. A good bet if the player is in a strong
- Even Money: cashing in your bet immediately at a 1:1 payout ratio
when you are dealt a natural blackjack and the dealer's showing card is an
- Split Hand: split the initial two-card hand into two and play them
separately - allowed only when the two first cards are of equal value. Use
each card as the start to a separate hand and place a second bet equal to the
- Hard Hand: A hand without an Ace, or with an Ace valued at 1 is
said to be Hard in that it can only be given one value, unlike a Soft Hand.
(You can value an Ace 1 or 11 to suit you).
- Soft Hand: A hand that contains an Ace counted as 11 is called a
House advantage (approximate, may vary with different rules)
Without basic strategy 7% average.
With basic strategy 0.5% or less.
Card counting can reverse the advantage up to 1% to the player.
Some blackjack variations
Using different number of decks: all other conditions being the same, as a
general rule the fewer the decks, the better for the player.
Allowing the dealer to hit a soft 17: a disadvantage to the player. It gives
the dealer a chance to improve.
Allowing a double down after splitting pairs: can be
advantageous to the player if used wisely.
Allowing re-splitting of Aces: a clear advantage to the player.
No dealer hole card: common on cruise ships, this variation is a
disadvantage to the player. The dealer does not deal himself a second card until
the players have played and they can lose the doubles and splits.
Las Vegas and Atlantic City variants
Las Vegas blackjack:
Las Vegas games are played with two decks and the House must hit on hands
less than soft 17 (17 involving an Ace) and must stand on hands of 17 or
Atlantic City blackjack:
Atlantic City games are played with four decks and the House must hit on
16 and stand all 17's.
Blackjack gambling advice tips:
If allowed, surrender (where a player may forfeit half his bet and decide not
to play the original hand against the dealer) hard 15 against a dealer's 10, and
16 (but not 8's) against a dealer's 9, 10 or Ace.
Never take insurance unless you are counting cards.
Never split 10's.
Always split Aces and 8's, no matter what the dealer's showing card is.
Double down on two card combinations totaling:
- 9 if the dealer's up card is 3, 4, 5 or 6
- 10 if the dealer's up card is anything but a 10 or an Ace
- 11 if the dealer's up card is anything but an Ace.
Always stand on hard 17 or higher if the dealer's showing card is 7 or lower.
Always stand on hard 13 through 16 if the dealer's showing card is 6 or
lower, but hit if the dealer's showing card is 7 through Ace.
Always stand on hard 12 or higher if the dealer is showing 4, 5 or 6.
Hit a hard 12 if the dealer's up card is 2, 3, 7 or higher.
Hit until you have at least 17 against a dealer's 10.
Hit a soft 17 against a dealer's 10.
Standing on 17 and lower relies entirely on the dealer's busting to win.
Since you cannot bust a soft hand with just one hit, do the following:
- Hit soft 13 through 17 against a dealer's 7 or higher
- With hands of three or more cards, always hit soft 13 through 17
- Double down with two-card soft 13 through 17 against a dealer's 5 or 6.
(You can only double down with your first two cards)
- Double down soft 17 against a dealer's 3
- Double down soft 15 through 17 against a dealer's 4
- Most players will stand on soft 18, but you may find that in the long run
you will be better off to hit a soft 18 if the dealer's up card is 9, 10 or
Ace , stand on soft 18 if the dealer's up card is 2, 7 or 8, and double down
if the dealer shows a 3, 4, 5 or 6
- Always stand on soft 19 or higher.
Blackjack tips submitted by visitors
Study the last man at your blackjack table; if he is inexperienced or
desperate, move on.
Never split the "F"s: fours, fives and face cards.
Frequently asked questions about blackjack.
Blackjack terms, meaning of words: Terminology, Jargon, Slang,
- Anchor - Last taken sit to the dealer's right.
- Banker - In a card game, dealer or the players who books the action of the
other bettors at the table.
- Bankroll - The total amount of money you have the intention of gambling
- Basic Strategy - In blackjack, the set of plays that you should make to
maximize your advantage.
- Blackjack - Total of 21 on your initial two-card hand.
- Burn Cards - Remove cards from the top of the deck and place them in the
discard tray after a shuffle and cut.
- Break - Exceeding the hand total of 21.
- Bust - same as Break, exceeding the hand total of 21.
- Camouflage - Anything a skilled gambler does to conceal their activities
from the casino. Camouflage can include mixing in playing and betting behavior
that mimics typical gamblers, or using disguises, appearing to be drunk, or
any number of other possible ploys intended to throw the casino's scrutiny
- Card Counting - Recording (in memory) played cards (usually high cards) so
as to establish a conditional probability advantage on the remaining cards
against the dealer.
- Card Sharp - A person who is an expert at cards.
- Cut - To split the deck of cards before they are dealt.
- Cut Card - Colored faceless plastic card used to cut the cards after the
- Deal - To give out the cards during a hand.
- Discard Tray - A tray on the dealer’s right side that holds all the cards
that have been played or discarded.
- Draw - (Also Hit.) Call a card or adding a new card to your current hand.
- Double Down (Doubling Down) - Double your initial bet following the
initial two-card deal, but you can hit one card only. In blackjack, it is the
players option to double their original bet in exchange for receiving only one
more card. To do this the player turns over their first two cards and places
an equal bet alongside the original bet.
- Early Surrender - Surrender allowed before the dealer checks for
- Even Money - Cashing in your bet immediately at a 1:1 payout ratio when
you are dealt a natural blackjack and the dealer's showing card is an Ace.
- Face Cards - Jacks, Queens and Kings.
- Face Down Game - Your first card is placed face up while the second one is
placed face down.
- Face Up Game - Both your cards are placed face up.
- First Base - First taken seat to dealer's left - where the first card is
- Hard Hand - (Also Hard Total.) A hand without an Ace, or with an Ace
valued at 1 is said to be Hard in that it can only be given one value, unlike
a 'Soft' hand.
- Heads Up or Heads On - A head to head play with the dealer - no other
players are involved.
- Hit - (Also Draw) Call a card or adding a new card to your current hand.
The card received is also called a hit.
- Hole Card - In blackjack, the facedown card that the dealer gets. In stud
and hold ‘em poker, the facedown cards dealt to each player.
- Insurance - Side bet up to half the initial bet against the dealer having
a natural 21. Insurance is offered only when the dealers up card is an Ace.
The insurance bet wins double if the dealer has a natural, but loses if the
dealer does not.
- Late Surrender - Surrender allowed only if the dealer does not have
- Natural - In blackjack, a natural is a two-card hand of 21 points. In
baccarat a natural is a two-card total of eight, or nine.
- Pat - In blackjack, an unbusted hand worth at least 17 points. In draw
poker, a hand that does not need any more hands.
- Plug - A shuffling technique that is sometimes employed in card games like
blackjack where the game is often dealt from a multi-deck shoe. When freshly
shuffled cards are brought back into action a substantial portion of the cards
are kept out of play by the insertion of a cut-card at the back of the deck or
shoe. The placement of the cut card marks the place where play will be stopped
and the cards are again shuffled. During the play, used cards are stacked in a
discard tray. When the cut-card is reached, the game is stopped, and the
remaining un-dealt cards are inserted somewhere into the middle of the cards
that have already been stacked up in the discard tray. The cards so inserted
are referred to as a 'plug'. Such action is called 'plugging' the deck.
- Preferential Shuffling - Shuffling when the remaining cards are deemed
favorable to the players.
- Push - (Also Tie or Stand-off.) Both player and dealer have the same hand
total - player keeps bet.
- Shiner - A reflecting device used to try and glimpse the dealer's hole
- Shoe - Device, usually a wooden box, used for holding and dispensing the
cards to be dealt.
- Shuffle - At the start of each game when the dealer mixes up the order of
the cards is said to shuffle the cards.
- Shuffle Up - Premature shuffling by the dealer to discourage card
- Soft Hand - Hand containing an ace counted as 11.
- Split Hand - Split the initial two-card hand into two and play them
separately - allowed only when the two first cards are of equal value.
- Spooking - The act of standing behind the dealer to peak at the hole card
and then secretly convey the information to a partner player sitting at the
table. An illegal form of cheating.
- Standing Hand - In blackjack, meaning a hand which hard-totals to 17 or
more, which is very likely to bust if one more card is called and therefore
the player is expected to stand.
- Stand-off - (Also Tie or Push.) Both player and dealer have the same hand
total - player keeps bet.
- Stand or Stay - Not requiring any more cards, to refrain from taking
- Steaming - A blackjack term where a player has become frustrated with how
badly the events of a session of play have turned out. 'Steaming' in blackjack
has practically the same meaning as 'going on tilt' in poker. In either case
the player has lost emotional control and is betting more aggressively and
often recklessly in an attempt to turn things around.
- Stiff Hand - Hand with little chance of winning. A hand that is not pat
and that may bust if hit once. Stiffs include hard twelve through sixteen.
- Surrender - Giving up your hand and lose only half the bet.
- Tell Play - Observing the dealer's body language and expressions to
determine his hand of cards.
- Third Base - Last taken seat to the dealer's right.
- Tie - (Also Push or Stand-off.) Both player and dealer have the same hand
total - player keeps bet.
- Upcard - The dealer's first dealt card, placed face up for all the players
to see before they play their hands.
How to win at blackjack: (Strategy, plan, tactics, method, system,
Unlike most other casino games, blackjack is a game whose outcome is greatly
influenced by the player, right from the moment the player cuts the deck of
cards. The dealer is practically like a robot. He follows set rules and makes no
decisions of his own.
There are three different approaches to the game a player can take using
three different strategies:
1. Play blackjack as a game of luck using money management only.
Determine when to call a card and when to stand irrespective of what the dealer
shows, apply a suitable money management system like the
and set appropriate profit and loss limits for when to quit.
2. Use basic strategy. Follow the game and take into account the
dealers card to determine whether to call a card or stand. Apply a suitable
money management system like the
system and set appropriate profit and loss limits for when to quit.
3. Card counting. This is not easy to do and some casinos don't like
it. If you choose to play blackjack this way, it is best to learn from the
experts. There are several books on sale that should teach you how to go about
A note on card counting
The principle behind card counting is that a deck of cards rich is tens and
Aces is favorable to the player, a deck rich in small cards is favorable to the
dealer. A deck rich in tens and Aces, is likely to bust the dealer more often.
To gauge the richness of the deck in high cards or lack of them, the player
needs to keep track of the cards that are already played and assign a point
value to each card. The calculation is quite complex, but basically the card
counter will give a plus point each time the deck of cards becomes more
favorable and a minus point each time it becomes less favorable. Basically, the
high cards have a -1 point and the low cards a +1 point and the in between 0
The counter then counts by adding and subtracting points according to the
cards played and keeps a running total of the count called 'running count'. Then
he also needs to divide the running count by the proportion of the size of the
deck of cards left to get the 'true count'. Now he knows the relative richness
of high cards in the remaining deck.
A positive count is good and a high positive count is best and the card
counter will assess his hand, the dealer's up card, weigh up his options and
intensify his betting accordingly.
To be a successful card counter you need to have a powerful memory and fast
reaction while amassing information as you play. And for what? If everything
works out well, you will be looking at a slow and tedious 1% average profit. If
you wager large sums of money to make the 1% worthwhile, you are likely to be
noticed by the pit boss and prompt frequent shuffling of the cards. Card
counting is hard, not liked by the casinos and is not as rewarding as it may
A basic blackjack strategy - also has sections on card counting, cluster
counting and betting systems.
Back to Krane Wurx