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Blackjack Guide: Learn to Play

Do you want to try your hand at blackjack but have no idea where to start? Find below a guide that will teach you the basics if you want to learn how to play Blackjack.

The Objective of the Game

Have you ever heard anyone refer to the game as 21? Well, that is because the main goal of the game is to get a hand value close as possible to 21, without actually exceeding it. If your hand does not total 21 and you did not exceed it either, it has to be closer to 21 than the dealer’s for you to win. You are up against the dealer, not the other players, so the only other hand that matters is that of the dealer.

Card Values in Blackjack

Aces are versatile and can carry the value of either 1 or 11, depending on which one your hand needs. The symbols K, Q and J are all worth 10. Cards 2-10 carry their face value.

Placing Your Bet

Before placing your bet, familiarise yourself with the minimum and maximum bets. These differ from casino to casino. Before any cards are dealt, you will need to place a bet that falls within these limits.

Dealing with Cards

Cards will only be dealt once all the players have placed their bets. Cards are dealt in a clockwise direction. Players are dealt to the first and the dealer last. The first cards will be dealt face up. Then the second hand of face-up cards will be dealt to players, while the dealer’s card remains face down. The general rule is to never touch cards that are dealt face up. This is quite rare nowadays, but if you are at a table that uses only one deck all the cards will be dealt face down. In this case, you are allowed to touch them.

Reading Your Hand

If your first two cards are an Ace and a ten, your hand is referred to as a blackjack or natural. This is because an ace can be either an 11 or 1 (in this case an 11), plus the 10, which equals 21. When this happens, you win 1.5 times your bet. If you and the dealer both have blackjacks, that round is a tie, and you get to keep your wager. If you do not have a blackjack or natural, the dealer will collect your bet.

The only time that a dealer will look at their face-down card is when their face-up card is an Ace, and they want to check whether or not they have a blackjack. If the face-up card is not an Ace, the dealer will delay looking at the face-down card.

Hit or Stand?

When it is your turn you will need to decide whether you want to stand or hit. When you stand, you do not ask for another card, but if you hit you ask for another card to bring your value closer to 21.

Each time you hit you will receive a card, either until your hand reaches 21 or you are happy with it or your hand busts. A busted hand exceeds the total value of 21.

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