The Basics of Blackjack


Blackjack is a card game played against the dealer. The player’s goal is to beat the dealer by getting a hand closer to 21 than his or her own. During play, the player may choose to double or split a hand and, if desired, buy insurance or surrender it.

To score a hand, the player must add up the values of all of the cards in it. The rank of each card, from A to 10, is worth one point; the value of a face card is 10 points; and an ace can be either 1 or 11 points. This information is useful because the rank of a card can tell you how close to 21, or how far away from it, your hand is.

If your hand is closer to 21 than the dealer’s, you win an amount equal to your bet. If your hand is a blackjack (an ace and a ten-value card), you receive 3:2 on your bet, as long as the dealer does not also have a blackjack. If your hand is over 21, you bust and lose your bet.

In some games, the dealer also has the option of taking insurance. The cost of the insurance bet is added to the player’s original wager, and the dealer is paid out 2:1 if he or she has a blackjack. In the long run, however, players who take insurance will lose money. The reason? The dealer’s ace shows up less than a third of the time.

The game is popular with players of all ages and income levels, but it’s especially appealing to people who enjoy thinking strategically. In fact, a team of US Army mathematicians who have gone down in the history of Blackjack as the Baldwin group developed what is considered to be the first mathematically correct strategy for the game in 1956.

Despite all of this, Blackjack is a game that can seem daunting for someone who’s never played it before. This article is designed to ease the trepidation of new players, and to help them understand that Blackjack is actually quite simple.

Now, before you head off to the casino and throw down your chips, I’d like to invite you to join our ranks of savvy Blackjack players. It’s a fun and rewarding way to spend your evenings, and I think you’ll agree that it’s well worth the effort!