How to play blackjack
In a live casino game of blackjack, you aren’t playing against other players at the table. You are playing against the dealer. There are three methods of winning the game: get a score of 21 with your first hand and hope that the dealer doesn’t, get a higher score than the dealer without you going over 21 yourself, or hope that the dealer exceeds a score of 21, which is known as going ‘bust’.
In the first hand, you are dealt two cards, and the dealer deals himself a single card. You then have a decision to make: leave your hand as it is (stand) or take an additional card (hit). You can take further cards, one at a time, until you either stop or exceed a score of 21.
Each numbered card (1-10) is counted as face value, with picture cards (Jack, Queen, and King) counting as 10, and Ace counting as either one or 11.
Once you’ve either decided not to take any more cards or you’ve exceeded 21, the dealer shows his hand. As the dealer has to comply with blackjack rules, he continues to take cards until he has either reached a score of 17 or goes bust.
Once the dealer has finished, his hand is compared with yours. If you have a higher score than the dealer, you win. If he exceeds 21, you also win. Bear in mind, however, that you always act first, so if you exceed 21, you go bust and lose the game.
Learn about the different Blackjack versions available.
There are ways to play your hand other than hit or stand. You can either ‘split’ or ‘double down’. If you are dealt two cards of matching values, you can choose to split them into two separate hands, which means that each hand gets dealt an additional card. If you double down, you get one more card. If you get Ace and either a 10 or a picture card (known as blackjack) on a split hand, however, it’s counted as a regular 21, rather than blackjack.
There’s one more thing that you can do, and that’s place an insurance bet. If the dealer’s face-up card is an Ace, you can insure yourself against the dealer getting a blackjack. This acts as a side bet that pays 2:1 should the dealer get blackjack. If the dealer gets any other hand than blackjack, how-ever, you lose the insurance bet.