To start the game every player including the dealer is dealt 2 cards. As a player you play against the dealers hand only. If your hand value is nearer to 21 than that of the dealer’s (without exceeding 21), you will win your hand. The object of the game, obviously, is to have a hand value as near 21 as possible, without exceeding 21. However for the expert player this is most defiantly NOT the case as the expert’s aim is simply to beat the Dealer.
“Blackjack” with your first two cards, is the best hand to have. An ace and a ten value card is what makes up a “Blackjack”. Unless the dealer also as blackjack, you will be paid three chips for every two that you have played should you be dealt a Blackjack.
When to Hit (be dealt another card) and when to Stand (Stop being dealt cards) is determined by you as the player. With regards to the dealers play there are fixed rules. Until the dealer has reached seventeen or more he has to hit and then must stand. Whoever’s hand value is less than or equal to 21 and which is greater than the dealers hand value, wins the amount equal to his wager. However should the value of the dealers hand be less or equal to 21 and/or greater than that of the players, the player loses his bet.
Should the same hand value be had by both the dealer and the player this is called “push”. This is not a win or a loss and gives you a full refund.
A “Bust” is when you go over 21. You lose your bet. At this stage the dealer has his greatest advantage over the players.
Keep in mind, that as a player, you have four options and can therefore be flexible. A player gets to determine when to Hit, Stand, Split (when you play 2 separate hands) and when to Double Down (double your wager in a favorable situation).
You may only split when the 1st 2 cards that you are dealt are of equal value. Remember that all face cards and tens are equal in value. When you split you are effectively playing two individual hands. When you split, you 1st play out of your right hand set of cards, followed by play of the left hand. When splitting, should you have a ten and an Ace is drawn, this can NOT be taken as “Blackjack”. Keep in mind though that the only way that the dealer can beat any hand of 21 is by dealing himself a blackjack.
You can “Double Down” on a hand when it consists of two cards, which then doubles your original wager. You can only be dealt one additional card to your hand when you have doubled down. There are a few casinos that do have restrictions with regards to “doubling down”, where you are not allowed to double down when you either have a split and/or only allowing when your two card hand values total ten or eleven. Should you double your wagers in a favorable situation, this adds heavily to your advantage. Therefore it is advisable to locate casinos that have the least restriction in rules of play regarding “Double Down”.
Insurance – When the dealer shows an ace, you get the chance to take insurance against him having a blackjack. The insurance option is just another form of wager that is accessible to the players. One-half of your original wager is the cost of the bet for the insurance option. If the dealer does in fact have blackjack then your payoff is two-to-one. A two-to-one payoff on a wager that is one-half your original wager is an amount equal to your original wager. Therefore, should you win the insurance bet, the dealer will simply pay you by leaving your original wager on the table. We consider this a sucker bet and you should not normally take insurance.
To better the Casinos odds, some changes were made to the game of blackjack over the years. The casinos introduced new technology like shuffling machines, and multiple decks to help beat the odds of those who were counting cards and watching the card decks closely. These changes along with the realization that the blackjack systems in the books were hard to master, brought back the casinos edge to a zone which they considered acceptable.