Blackjack Rules: basic rules to start playing

Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games in the world. It has thousands of fans and has been very popular in the world of movies. It’s simple and easy to grasp premise is matched by the underlying complexity of the game, since it goes far beyond chance and getting a mere combination of cards. The most exciting thing about blackjack is the combination of strategy and excitement experienced during the game.

Probabilities play an essential role, and it is the mental calculation of these probabilities that governs decision making, especially in critical moments with cards that place the player in no man's land.

In the following post we talk about the rules of blackjack, what value the cards have in a game and what are the elementary probabilities that are handled in a round.

Blackjack Rules

The rules of blackjack are very easy to understand: it is about getting a combination of cards that total 21, or as close as possible to this value. It is played against the dealer, who will also try to reach this value. In each round, several players can play against the dealer and against each other.

In each round of blackjack, seated players start with a bet on their positions. These bets are known in the jargon as "squares". Each of the tables must clearly show what the maximum and minimum bet is. The size of each bet must be selected using the chip icon that corresponds to the value of the bet to be placed.

When the bets are placed, two cards are dealt face up to the players. The dealer receives two cards in American blackjack. If the game is played in the classic style, the dealer receives only one. In both cases, the dealer's card will be covered.

The premise is simple: The object of the game is to beat the dealer by getting a higher card total than his, but not exceeding 21. If a player or the dealer exceeds 21 points, it is considered a "bust" or "bust", which means they automatically lose the hand and the bet. 

When it is the player's turn, you have the right to ask for cards for your hand(s) to increase their value if it is too low. After the cards have been dealt, the dealer must complete his hand. How? In blackjack the rules are very clear in this regard and will depend on each game mode. This is important because it establishes several strategic points relevant to both the dealer and the players.

The dealer must also follow a set of predefined rules about when to hit and when to stand. These rules may vary by blackjack variant and casino, but generally, the dealer must hit if his hand has a value of 16 or less and stand if it has 17 or more.

Blackjack Card Value

The value of cards in blackjack is determined by the number or letter of the card. In essence, they are attributed the following values.

  • From 2 to 10. They are attributed their face value. That is, a 2 is worth 2 points, a 5 is worth 5 points and a 9 will be worth 9 points.

  • K / Q / J. These figures are given 10 points, as are the cards with the number 10.

  • A. The Ace can have two different values: 1 or 11, depending on what favors the player more. However, there are exceptions depending on the game mode when it comes to using aces to form a blackjack.

In blackjack, the rules say that the combination of cards that adds up to 21 will create this hand, the strongest of all and the one that gives the game its name. But to form a blackjack, the invincible hand, a number of conditions must be met.

A blackjack must be formed by an Ace and any other card with a value of 10 (K, Q, J, 10). For the blackjack to be valid, it must be completed on the first two cards dealt. That is, an initial card combination 5♦ 3♣,  to which 2♥ A♦ is then added would not be valid to form it.

Blackjack normally awards prizes at a 1:1 ratio. This means that, if you have bet 10 chips and win the hand, you will receive 10 chips as a prize. But in black jack there are rules that allow you to make different bets to try to diversify and not lose 1:1 in case the dealer wins.

For example, we are talking about splitting or doubling down. In some circumstances, there will be alternatives that will allow you to split a hand in two to increase your chances of winning, or double the initial bet.

Splitting a hand

When the two initial cards are dealt, the player has the possibility of splitting the hand to increase his odds. Blackjack is just that: odds. When should you split your hand? When there is a high probability of being in no man's land if you play only one hand.

For example, with 69♥. If your cards add up to 15, you have a good chance of going over if you hit, but you will keep too low a value to try to beat the dealer. It is an almost certain loss.

Splitting allows you to play two interesting hands: one starting from 6 and one starting from 9. With both you have a better chance of getting cards approaching 21 without going over.

There are restrictions: for example, when you split two aces. In all variants of the game, you are only allowed to deal one card and not two for each of the new hands. This limits the player when drawing cards or doubling down, since each ace can be used as 1 or 11.

Doubling the initial bet

When the two initial cards are dealt, it is possible to create an extra bet, equal to the initial bet. As a condition, the player will only receive one extra card if he asks for a card, not two.

Depending on the variant you play, you may be able to double the bet after splitting.

Some online casinos allow the player to fold by selecting the Surrender option. This allows you to get back 50% of the money wagered, although it depends on the variant and the house that hosts the game. It is a kind of early cash out, very useful to encourage a proper management of the bankroll if the dealer does not stop winning and it is necessary to cushion damages.

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