Hands in Blackjack are scored according to the value of their point total. All the cards 2 through 10 are worth their face value and the face cards (jack, queen, and king) are all worth 10 points. The ace can be 1 or 11, depending on whether it will make the points total more than 21 (bust) or not. The hand with the highest total wins if it doesn’t go over 21. If the points are more than 21, it is called a bust. When a player busts, the game is over for him/her.
All the players play against the dealer. In blackjack rules, the player loses when he/she busts, whether the dealer also busts or not. When the player and the dealer end up with the same points, it is called a “push” and neither the player nor the dealer wins. The player needs to have the highest un-busted hand to win.
After all the players place their bets, the dealer deals the cards. The cards are usually dealt from a shoe (card holder) containing 2 decks. The dealer then deals 2 cards for each player including himself. One of the dealer’s cards is always dealt face down and the other one, face up. If the face-up card of the dealer is an Ace, the players all have the chance of taking out blackjack insurance. The card that is dealt face down is known as the “hole card”. All the rest of the cards are dealt face up from the shoe.
Originally, if a player’s hand consisted of the ace of spades and a blackjack, (either the jack of spades or the jack of clubs), according to the blackjack rules, it was called a “blackjack”. These days any two-card hand of 21 (an ace plus any ten-value card) is called a “blackjack” or a “natural” and automatically beats the dealer. In this case, the player usually gets paid 3:2 on his / her bet. On other normal wins, the player usually gets paid 1:1 on his / her bet.
This is how play proceeds after the dealer dealt all the cards according to the blackjack rules:
If the player has a blackjack, and the dealer doesn’t, the player automatically wins.
If the dealer on the other hand has a blackjack and the player doesn’t, the dealer automatically wins.
If both the player and the dealer have a blackjack, it’s a push and nobody wins.
If neither has a blackjack, the play goes on starting with the first player who plays out his entire hand followed by the second player, and so forth.
The dealer plays his hand out after all the players have finished.
Options for the player’s hand are as follows:
Hit (takes another card).
Stand (no more cards – the player finishes his / her hand).
Double down (double the bet and take only one more card).
Split (when the player has identical value cards such as 3,3, he/she can split it, place another bet, and play each card as the first one of 2 different hands).
Surrender (the player surrenders and forfeits half of his / her bet. Most casinos don’t offer surrender).
It’s the end of the player’s turn when the following happens:
He/she doubles down and receives one more card.
When all the players have played out their hands, it’s the dealer’s turn. The dealer then has to reveal the hole card and hit until he/she has at least 17. At some casinos, the dealer even has to hit a soft 17 (ace and 6). It will be indicated on the felt whether the dealer should hit a soft 17 or not.