How to Play Blackjack

Blackjack is a game of chance and skill in which players try to beat the dealer by obtaining a higher hand total than the dealer without going over 21. The game is usually played using one or more 52-card decks. All cards have a value, with numbers scoring the number they represent, face cards worth 10 points and aces scoring either 1 or 11 depending on the rules of the particular casino.

The game begins when the dealer and each player place their bets in the designated betting areas on the table. Each player then gets two cards. If the player’s first two cards add up to 21 (an ace and a card worth 10) then the player has a Blackjack and wins a payout of one-to-one on their initial wager.

If the player’s first two cards are of different values, they can choose to split them, forming two hands with each new hand getting a second card. Each new hand is then played independently. Doubling down is not permitted on split cards, and re-splitting after splitting is often not allowed either. If a player has two aces that are of the same value, they can only hit them once.

After the player has finished playing their hand, it is compared to the dealer’s. If the player’s hand is closer to 21 than the dealer’s, then they win and are paid out their original wager. If the dealer’s hand is closer to 21, then the player loses and their original bet remains on the table. If the dealer’s hand is the same as the player’s, it’s a push and the bets are swept away for the start of a new round.

Before a dealer starts dealing, they will ask if any players want to buy insurance. This is a side bet that the dealer has a blackjack, and pays out 2 to 1. The dealer will then check their hole card by looking through a small window in the table. If they have a ten underneath, the player who bought insurance will win their bet. If they don’t have a ten, the dealer will pay off any insurance bets and continue with the hand as normal.

If the dealer has a Blackjack, all players who have not yet busted will lose their bets. If a player has a Blackjack, they will win the round. Otherwise, the dealers hand is swept up and the round ends. The dealer collects all the cards, shuffles them and the players begin a new round.