The Basics of Blackjack


Blackjack is a casino card game that involves betting and the accumulation of cards to form a hand with a point value closer to 21 than that of the dealer. The game is played with one or more standard international 52-card decks without the jokers and there are various rules of play that govern player strategy options including surrender, splitting, hitting, and standing. Blackjack has a long history of evolution and is one of the most popular casino table games.

There are many misconceptions about the objective of blackjack but at its simplest level all you are trying to do is beat the dealer. This can be achieved by obtaining a starting hand of an Ace and a ten valued card or by a total of 21 in your first two cards. If your unbusted hand exceeds the dealer’s total, you win and are paid at 1:1 odds. If your hand and the dealer’s hand total the same, the hand is a push (tie) and you get back your original bet.

A common misconception about blackjack is that a pair of 10’s cannot be split. However, this is incorrect and it is possible to have a pair of Aces that can be split. In most cases, it is advisable to only split aces that are of the same suit. Splitting a pair of 7’s or 8’s, for example, is generally not a good idea since you are likely to lose the majority of your bet on each hand.

In addition to the rules of blackjack there are certain procedures and etiquette that must be followed to ensure that the game is fair and enjoyable for all players. These rules also protect the integrity of the game and help to ensure that it is not rigged in favor of the casino.

While most casinos offer multiple variations of the game, the basic rules are largely the same across the board. The most significant differences are in the number of decks used, how the dealer deals the cards, and the payouts. A dealer will usually deal the cards out of a box or shoe and may also use an automatic shuffling machine.

Originally, blackjack was played with a single deck of cards but in an effort to counter card counting a number of casinos introduced multi-deck games. Some online casinos even offer a version of the game using a far greater number of decks than would be practical to manage offline.

When you take your seat at a blackjack table, you will need to place your cash in the betting circle before the dealer begins the round. The dealer will then exchange your cash for chips and place them on the table in front of you. The dealer will then place a marker over each betting spot to indicate where you can place your bets for the current hand.