That creates a 5. In a No-Hole-Card game, a player might split or double and have multiple bets at risk to a dealer blackjack, because the dealer cannot check ahead of time. Seventeen is a weak hand, so if the dealer is allowed to try to improve the soft 17 hands, it makes the game tougher. With a total of 13, he must hit again. This figure is called the True Count. It should be noted that some casinos have started to offer a reduced payout on Blackjack, most commonly 6:
Part 1 – Blackjack Basics
The decisions they make should take into account the cards held by other players at the table, as well as the dealer. In most cases, a player normally stands when the point value of their cards is between 16 and If a dealer has less than 17, they must continue drawing cards until they reach 17 or above, without going over If the scores of the player and the dealer are equal, the player receives their original bet back, and this is a push.
Should the dealer bust or go over 21 at any point, all the players at the table will win and receive a 1: Any player who had blackjack would have already been paid out at least 3: Depending on the casino, some will let players cut their losses by surrendering half their bets after the initial deal.
An early surrender allows the player to surrender when a 10 or face card is drawn without checking the hole-card for blackjack. That could be preferable if the dealer is showing a particularly strong hand, like an Ace. A late surrender allows the player to surrender after checking the hole-card, but before the dealer reveals his or her hand. Many players view the early surrender as more favorable, especially if the dealer is showing an Ace.
For example, virtually all players of 21 will split a pair of Aces by placing an additional bet to create two potentially winning hands. After receiving two more cards, the player determines whether to hit or stand with each of the two hands he or she now has.
Depending on the cards dealt, splitting your cards can double your chances of hitting a blackjack. Splitting cards can also at least double your potential winnings from the same initial hand dealt. Most will not split a pair of cards worth 20 points, for example, while all will split a pair of Aces. Another popular play that could double your potential winnings—and losses—on a particular hand is the double down. The double down allows you to double your wager after the initial bet, but you only get one more card.
Many skilled players use a strict system based on statistical probability to determine the ideal times to double down. As with splitting cards, that assessment includes what the dealer is showing off the deal, plus other cards that might already have gone into play. The number of decks used also affects the ideal strategy for playing 21 and considering when to double down on your bet. Many casinos play by the traditional 21 rules that were once popular on the Las Vegas Strip, which is traditionally called American 21 Or Vegas Rules.
These games are more common online and at small casinos that focus on locals. Yet, the game has many other versions with their own subtle rules changes. This rule is not favorable to the player because doubling down with a soft is favorable in a lot of situations when playing Most countries outside the U. That leaves an extra card in the deck for the players to get, and it could be an Ace at just the right time.
They are not offered at all tables and are more common online than offline. The only side bet that is standard at just about all tables is insurance. There are a very wide variety of blackjack side bets. Side wagers almost universally have a much higher house edge than the game of blackjack itself and are usually not regarded as a good bet for the average player. They can be put to use by skilled card counters in certain situations, however.
No matter which types of blackjack rules your favorite land-based and online casinos use, you can adapt your game to the rules and stand a better chance of winning more often. At a live casino , the table limits are usually posted prominently on a sign at the table.
The rules may be printed on the table, or you may have to ask the dealer about them. At brick and mortar, policy varies from property to property, but it is very common for casinos to allow players to use strategy cards. Some properties may not want it placed on the table, however as part of a general policy of not allowing anything on the table.
Some may also ask players to put it away if other players feel it is slowing down the game too much. However, they also tend to make up for this with very poor payout rates for natural blackjacks, and also may give the dealer the win with certain types of pushes. If you sit down and do the math, 21 variants and oddball blackjack games usually end up having a more unfavorable house edge than standard blackjack, even though the rules might seem more liberal at first.
Yes, they make a huge difference. Changing the blackjack payout to 6: No rule change at blackjack gives the house more of an advantage other than allowing the dealer to win pushes. To the average blackjack player who is not counting cards, it makes very little difference in terms of expected return and house edge.
Card counters want as few decks as possible to simplify their counts, however. Some blackjack tables have a practice of discarding the first card from each new shoe before beginning play.
Rules about seeing this card vary from place to place, sometimes even from dealer to dealer. Some show it to the table automatically, some have to be asked, and rarely some casinos have a policy of never showing it to the player.
If the casino wants to burn cards to deter card counting, they would periodically burn several cards in the middle of the shoe to more effectively mess with player counts.
Now that you know the basics of 21 card game rules, you can have fun playing online and casino table games for real cash or just for fun. The more you study particular games and learn to apply basic blackjack 21 strategy, the more you just might find yourself beating the house and winning more cash. All it takes is some skilled play, combined with a bit of timely luck on your side after you master the blackjack basics. The table limits will determine the least amount you may wager, and house rules will determine your maximum potential wager.
It is very easy to lay your wager when playing 21 at a live gambling table or at a virtual table online. Insurance bets can be made by betting up to half your original bet amount in the insurance betting stripe in front of your bet. The dealer will check to see if he has a value card underneath his Ace, and if he does have Blackjack, your winning Insurance bet will be paid at odds of 2: You will still lose your original bet unless you also have a Blackjack , so the net effect is that you break even assuming you bet the full half bet for insurance.
This is why the bet is described as "insurance", since it seems to protect your original bet against a dealer blackjack. Of course, if the dealer does not have blackjack, you'll lose the insurance bet, and still have to play the original bet out.
Insurance is simply a side-bet offering 2: Not surprisingly, the casino has a substantial edge on this bet. In a single deck game, there are 16 ten-valued cards.
Assuming that you don't see any other cards, including your own, the tens compose 16 out of 51 remaining cards after the dealer's Ace was removed. That creates a 5. It's even worse in six decks with a 7. Card counters can still beat the insurance bet, by only making the bet when they know that more than one-third of the remaining cards are tens. Unless you are card counter and know the deck is skewed sufficiently, just ignore the insurance bet.
It doesn't matter whether you have a good hand or a bad hand. If you have a blackjack when the dealer turns up an Ace, he is likely to offer you "even money" instead of the insurance bet. If you accept, the dealer will pay you the amount of your original bet and discard your hand of blackjack, before he even checks under his Ace to see if he has a blackjack as well. Many players think this sounds like a good deal, guaranteeing a profit even if the dealer has a blackjack. But that guaranteed profit comes at a price.
Let me show you how it works:. So, casinos allow you to eliminate the insurance bet altogether, and simply declare that you want "even money" for your blackjack when the dealer has an Ace showing. The problem is that you are still making a bad bet on insurance, which costs you money. A player who does not count cards should simply never take the insurance bet, even the "even money" variety.
Some games offer the player a chance to fold their hand, and forfeit half of their bet. This surrender option must be done as the very first action the player takes on the hand. In other words, you can't draw a card and then decide to bail out! Even when surrender is available, it is rarely used by players. Often, the rules posted at the table won't mention it even if the casino allows it. And many players just don't like the idea of surrendering a hand. But for a smart player, it is a useful option, and reduces the house advantage by about 0.
When surrender is available, make sure you know the correct strategy for using it. Most players who use the option surrender too many hands. If your game offers surrender, I recommend reading my complete explanation of blackjack surrender. In the most common variety known as "late" surrender , a player cannot surrender until after the dealer has checked for blackjack.
If the dealer has blackjack, you will lose your entire bet with no chance of surrendering for half the cost. Generally, the dealer in blackjack must hit if he has a total of 16 or less, and stand if he has 17 or more.
Seventeen is a weak hand, so if the dealer is allowed to try to improve the soft 17 hands, it makes the game tougher. When a dealer is allowed to hit soft 17, it adds about 0. Almost all other areas used the better rule of standing on all 17s. Over the years, more and more casinos have switched to hitting soft 17, and there are now far more H17 games than S17 games.
You can still find some games where the dealer stands on all 17s, even in casinos where some of the tables use the H17 rule. After splitting a pair, many casinos will allow you to double-down on a two-card hand that arises as a result of the split. For example, if you split a pair of eights, and draw a 3 on the first hand, it is valuable to be able to double-down on the resulting hand of As mentioned in the previous section discussion on pair splitting, there are several common restrictions on splitting Aces.
You will receive only one card on each Ace after splitting. Some casinos will allow you to resplit if you draw another Ace, and some will not. That's true even if the casino allows resplits of all other pairs. Many casinos in Europe, and some in other parts of the world, handle the dealer's second card differently. In these "European No Hole Card" games, the dealer only deals himself one card at the beginning of the round. After all the players have completed their hands, he deals his own second card and completes the hand.
Contrast that with the normal US style of play. There, if the dealer has a ten or Ace card up, he checks the other card immediately to see if he has a blackjack. If he does, the hand is over. This process of "peeking" under the hole card to check for blackjack means that players can only lose one bet per hand if the dealer has a blackjack.
In a No-Hole-Card game, a player might split or double and have multiple bets at risk to a dealer blackjack, because the dealer cannot check ahead of time. This changes the optimal strategy, and means that players should usually not split or double against a dealer ten or Ace upcard.
An exception is splitting Aces against a dealer ten. Note that there are a few no-hole-card games where the rules specifically say that only one bet will be collected from a player if the dealer has a blackjack. In those games, although there is no hole card, you can play the game as if there were. That means you should play it as a Peek game, even though there's not really a peek!
It's all a bit confusing. When the No-Hole-Card rule is in use, and all bets are at risk to a dealer blackjack, it costs the player 0. Use the "No-Peek" option at our Strategy Engine.
Ok this one's an extremely rare variation which I doubt you will see in any casinos today but I thought I'd mention. Similarly there is a rule variation whereby the player automatically wins when drawing 7 cards without busting which is called a "Seven Card Charlie".
The most important item is the sign declaring betting limits. Both the minimum and the maximum allowable bets should be on a sign on the table-top. Look around to find a table that suits your bet sizes. Make sure that the table you have selected is actually for blackjack, and not another of the many kinds of table games that casinos offer.
Look on the table for the phrase " Blackjack pays 3 to 2 ". Avoid any games that say " Blackjack pays 6 to 5 " instead. See 6 to 5 Blackjack? Beginners should start off playing the shoe games. The advantage in this style is that all of the players' cards are dealt face-up, so the dealer and other players can easily help you with playing questions and decisions. Once you become proficient at the game, you may want to switch to a game with fewer decks since that lowers the casino's advantage.
The dealer will exchange the entire amount of cash for the equivalent in chips, and drop the cash into a box on the table. Take a quick look at the chips to make sure you know the value of each color.
If you have any questions, just ask the dealer. Part of his job is to help players learn the game. Once you are ready to place a bet, wait for the current hand to be completed, then push your bet into the betting circle.
Your chips should be in one stack. If you are betting multiple denominations of chips, place the larger valued chips on the bottom of the stack, and the smaller value chips on top.
Once the cards have been dealt, you are not allowed to touch the bet in the circle. If you need to know how much you have bet for doubling or splitting explained later , the dealer will count down the chips for you. Once the hand is over, the dealer will move around the table to each position in turn, paying winning hands and collecting the chips from losing hands. After the dealer has paid you, you can remove your chips from the circle, and place your next bet.
If you want to let your winnings ride, you will need to form one stack of chips from the two or more stacks on the table after the dealer pays you. Remember, higher value chips should be placed on the bottom of the stack. When you are ready to leave the table, you do not cash in your chips the same way you bought them.
The dealer cannot give you cash for the chips at the table. To do that, you must take the chips to the casino cashier. If you have a lot of low denomination chips in front of you at the table, you should trade them for the equivalent higher value chips instead. In between hands, just tell the dealer you want to "color up", and he will have you push your chips into the middle of the table.
He will count them down, and give you a smaller stack of chips that amount to the same value. This makes them easier to carry for you, and for the dealer it maintains his supply of smaller chips. Now you can take those chips to another table for more play, or head to the casino cashier where you can exchange them for cash. So, if you have made it this far, congratulations. You should have a good idea of what to expect when you sit down at a blackjack table in the casino.
What we have not talked about is how to actually make the best decisions while playing the game. That is a whole subject all its own. To have the best chance of winning, you should learn and practice "basic strategy", which is the mathematically best way to play each hand against each possible dealer upcard.
For a free chart that shows the right play in every case, visit our Blackjack Basic Strategy Engine. If you are looking to play from the comfort of your home, you can visit our online blackjack or live dealer blackjack sections for further resources. Hopefully I've covered just about everything you need. But if you have other questions, feel free to post a reply at the bottom of the page. Our free blackjack game lets you play at your pace, and the Strategy Coach provides instant feedback on the best strategy.
To find the best strategy, use our most popular resource: The Blackjack Strategy Engine provides free strategy charts that are optimized for your exact rules. If you prefer a plastic card that you can take to the table with you, we have those too: Blackjack Basic Strategy Cards.
The original version of this explanation of the rules of blackjack has a very long history here at BlackjackInfo. I created and published it here sometime in It was widely copied by other sites, and it has appeared without my permission on literally hundreds of sites over the years. When I relaunched BlackjackInfo with a new mobile-friendly design in , I took the opportunity to write this all-new version. Hmmm seems I have been making some bad calls for years now, I thought splitting tens against anything but an ace or 10 was a good move: If a player decides to stand on 15 for whatever reason and the dealer has 16, must the dealer still draw another card since it is less than 17?
Is there any significance in blackjack when you have a black jack paired with a black ace, same suit? The question came up on the multiple choice question on Millionaire. I guessed 16 but the answer was 32???
In playing 21 with one deck off cards aND two people playing, in playing Blackjack with one deck of cards and two people playing what is the most black jack show up. Ken, This may not be the most appropriate page to post this, but let me explain the situation. I aspire to hopefully gather a group of trustworthy guys together to form a blackjack team.
Team play is complicated and far more involved than a group of friends pooling resources. There is not much published on team play. The following book may be helpful. The strategy does not change, but the player is worse off by around 0. As the dealer I get up to Can the dealer chose to stay and take the chips bet from player on the left. But pay the player on the right?
His rules are fixed. He must hit until he has 17 or higher, and then he must stand. Even if all the players at the table have 18, the dealer must stand if he ends up with a Most casinos now deal games with an extra rule about soft This is covered in detail in the article above.
I have a question. I signed up on an online casino and I was getting ready to play blackjack for real money and I asked the live chat help person how many decks were being used and she said 24 decks.
Casinos, both online and land-based, can deal the game pretty much any way they like, including increasing the number of decks to a ridiculous 24! Fortunately, once you get to 8 decks, the game does not get much worse for the player by adding even more decks. Eight decks is the most typically seen in brick-and-mortar casinos, but in most jurisdictions, land-based or online, there is no legal requirement for any specific number of decks.
Is there any standard in the way a dealer deals from the deck? You are describing a CSM continuous shuffle machine , where after each hand the dealer immediately puts the used cards back into the shuffler. As you note, this eliminates the ability to count cards, or to even observe a useful bias. Since used cards can return into play immediately, the penetration is effectively zero. These machines have spread widely. The only recourse is to see if your casino also still offers regular games either hand-shuffled, or machine-shuffled but with a normal discard tray.
If not, voice your discontent and look elsewhere. Should I be able to ask a casino to provide a copy of their rules? I assume you are talking about online casinos. I didnt catch it at first but sure enough when I drew another card I busted. This particular game would not count both my Aces as one. Is this ever done at a casino? Who knows what else they are doing wrong! To answer your question, no, this is never done at any casino I have visited.
Is this a good bet? What is the house percentage? Yes, there are outstanding opportunities afforded by some sidebets under some circumstances, but if you are able to figure out how to beat them, you no longer need to ask about them. So, the answer to that question is always no. I read the following in the Casino Verite Software: Can you help me with this?
There you can find: This works because of the unbalanced nature of the count. Or do I need to count them equally? Treat them independently, and reassess after each drawn card changes the hand.
Here are some examples: You will draw each of those hands about once every hands or so. As to whether or not to double, 9,3 is a hard 12 and should certainly never be doubled.
Also against a dealer 4 in some 1 and 2 deck games. See the Strategy Engine for accurate advice for any game. I assume you are asking about accessing the charts on your smartphone in the casino. I do not recommend that.
In the US, there are laws prohibiting the use of devices in gambling. Most of these laws are based on the Nevada version, which is written in a way that it could be interpreted to mean even something as harmless as looking up a strategy.
If you want access to the strategy in the casino, get a plastic card instead. The shoe game will be easier for a visually impaired player, because both the other players and the dealer have full access to the needed information about the hands. I have played at the table on many occasions with blind players, and the dealer has always assisted by verbally providing the details of the hand.
Awesome page, One question.. Is this a standard rule? Need to be sure which is the standard and which is the exception… Thanks. I have seen the behavior you describe in online casinos, but I have never seen it dealt that way in any land-based casino. There, the dealer always deals a card to the first split hand, finishes that hand, and then deals a card to the second split hand and begins it.
I was in Cancun in a casino and in one hand I had 2 Aces against dealer King. I split the 2 Aces and I,ve got Queens on both aces but the dealer draw a card that was an Ace and said that he won since he had blackjack and I only had Blackjack is 21 in the first two cards, and it beats a total of 21, even the case of splitting and getting two hands that look like blackjack.
They are just 21s. But when the dealer does not take a hole card and all bets are subject to losing to a potential dealer blackjack , you should not double or split against a dealer ten or ace because of this.
Hi, can please anyone help me with an answer. Do casinos now change the deck of cards after every game or not? Because I heard lot of people saying that now it is impossible to memorise cards that are still in the game.
But I am not sure if this is due to change or because casino use so many decks at once I read above that there are 8 decks in the game. I think what you are trying to describe are continuous shuffle machines CSMs , which allow the dealer to put the discards back into the machine immediately instead of waiting until the shuffled shoe is completed. The use of a CSM does eliminate the ability to count cards.
Fortunately, there are still plenty of games available in most areas that do not use CSMs. The difference is that you must draw a card to your total of 9, whether you double or not. Standing is not an option. With A8 instead, you already have a completed solid hand of Basic strategy will reduce the house edge, but not eliminate it. In typical games, your long-run expectation will be to lose around half a percent of your total action.
Yes, tipping the dealer is common. If a dealer is pleasant, I like to tip a small amount on the hand after I get blackjack, but even then I skip some hands. It was a cool list. Despite the title, it covered many unusual rule variations.
Understand the rules here, and then visit the Strategy Engine to see the appropriate plays. Practice with the Trainer. Are you asking about a rule that pays you for having 5 cards and not busting? The free Windows software at this site will analyze these rules for you, including optimal strategy and the effect on the game. Free BJ Combinatorial Software. Tell me about the best place to sit at a table in Vegas.
I have heard that you do not want to be on the end. If you are a basic strategy player, it makes no difference where you sit. If you are a card counter, you can see an extra few cards before you play your hand by sitting at the end, which helps a small bit.
For that reason, many players avoid it.