Blackjack Basic Play

Every person plays Blackjack for themselves and against the dealer. The participants include a dealer and up to 8 players at a table. Bets are placed in the appropriate space before cards are dealt. The dealer shuffles his/her stack of cards that contains 1- 6 decks of cards and passes out two cards face up to everyone at the table. The dealer also has two cards. The first is face up and the second is face down.

The objective is to have all of your cards reach 21 without going over. All number cards are worth their face value. The face cards such as jack, queen, king are worth 10 points. An ace is allowed to be used as a 1 or a 10. This is up to you.

After the initial cards are dealt, play begins to the dealer’s right where he/she will ask you if you wish to hit or stand. Once you stand, the dealer moves on to the next player, until all of the players have had a turn. The dealer takes their turn last.

Know Your Terminology

Showing up at a Blackjack table without understanding the basic vocabulary and blackjack rules is a bit like trying to teach a football player how to dance ballet. Telling him to pas de bouree’ across the floor will only leave him scratching his head. The same goes for you before tackling the casino scene.


  • Twenty-One – Getting a perfect winning score.
  • Hit/hit me – Not a literal statement; you do not believe your current hand is enough to win so you are asking the dealer for an additional card. You can say the words “Hit/hit me” or use a hand guessture such as a “give me” motion or tapping the table beside your cards.
  • Stand – You do not want additional cards. You indicate this by waving your hand over the top of your cards when it is your turn. This can be done after the initial two cards are dealt or after being “hit”.
  • Bust – This means that your card values add up to more than twenty one and you lose the hand.

Advanced Blackjack Rules

  • Double Down – This is something generally only allowed if the two original cards dealt equal 9,10,11, or 12. You are allowed to place an additional wager down beside your original wager. The catch is that you are only allowed one extra card or one “hit”. The timing of being allowed to double down as well as the amount of the second bet you are allowed to make depends on the actual casino. Ask or read the rules of a particular casino before playing.
  • Split – If the first two cards dealt are a pair then you can “split” them and play two separate hands simultaneously. There aren’t any differences in playing these hands than you would one normal hand. You must place a second bet that meets the minimum betting requirements of the table. Each of these hands will win or lose only the bets related to them.
  • Insurance – The dealer will ask if you want insurance if his up card is an ace. This means that you can place a side bet, half your original bet, as to if the dealer has blackjack or not. If the dealer does in fact have a ten card face down then insurance pays 2 to 1 on your side bet.