# Casino Blackjack: Rules of the Game

Insurance is simply a side-bet offering 2: The rules of any particular game are generally posted on or near the table, failing which there is an expectation that casino staff will provide them on request. The "original bets only" rule variation appearing in certain no hole card games states that if the player's hand loses to a dealer blackjack, only the mandatory initial bet "original" is forfeited, and all optional bets, meaning doubles and splits, are pushed. Gambling mathematics Mathematics of bookmaking Poker probability. After all the players have completed their hands, he deals his own second card and completes the hand.

Sometimes a casino might ban a card counter from the property. The use of external devices to help counting cards is illegal in all US states that license blackjack card games. Techniques other than card counting can swing the advantage of casino blackjack toward the player. All such techniques are based on the value of the cards to the player and the casino as originally conceived by Edward O. Shuffle tracking requires excellent eyesight and powers of visual estimation but is more difficult to detect since the player's actions are largely unrelated to the composition of the cards in the shoe.

Arnold Snyder's articles in Blackjack Forum magazine brought shuffle tracking to the general public. His book, The Shuffle Tracker's Cookbook, mathematically analyzed the player edge available from shuffle tracking based on the actual size of the tracked slug. Patterson also developed and published a shuffle-tracking method for tracking favorable clumps of cards and cutting them into play and tracking unfavorable clumps of cards and cutting them out of play.

The player can also gain an advantage by identifying cards from distinctive wear markings on their backs, or by hole carding observing during the dealing process the front of a card dealt face down. These methods are generally legal although their status in particular jurisdictions may vary. Many blackjack tables offer a side bet on various outcomes including: The side wager is typically placed in a designated area next to the box for the main wager.

A player wishing to wager on a side bet is usually required to place a wager on blackjack. Some games require that the blackjack wager should equal or exceed any side bet wager. A non-controlling player of a blackjack hand is usually permitted to place a side bet regardless of whether the controlling player does so. The house edge for side bets is generally far higher than for the blackjack game itself.

Nonetheless side bets can be susceptible to card counting. A side count, designed specifically for a particular side bet, can improve the player edge. Only a few side bets, like "Lucky Ladies", offer a sufficient win rate to justify the effort of advantage play. In team play it is common for team members to be dedicated toward counting only a sidebet using a specialized count.

Blackjack can be played in tournament form. Players start with an equal numbers of chips; the goal is to finish among the top chip-holders. Depending on the number of competitors, tournaments may be held over several rounds, with one or two players qualifying from each table after a set number of deals to meet the qualifiers from the other tables in the next round. Another tournament format, Elimination Blackjack , drops the lowest-stacked player from the table at pre-determined points in the tournament.

Good strategy for blackjack tournaments can differ from non-tournament strategy because of the added dimension of choosing the amount to be wagered. As in poker tournaments, players pay the casino an initial entry fee to participate in a tournament, and re-buys are sometimes permitted. Some casinos, as well as general betting outlets, provide blackjack among a selection of casino-style games at electronic consoles. Video blackjack game rules are generally more favorable to the house; e.

Video and online blackjack games deal each coup from a fresh shoe, rendering card counting much less effective. Blackjack is a member of a large family of traditional card games played recreationally all around the world. Most of these games have not been adapted for casino play. Furthermore, the casino game development industry is very active in producing blackjack variants, most of which are ultimately not adopted for widespread use in casinos.

The following are the prominent twenty-one themed comparing card games which have been adapted or invented for use in casinos and have become established in the gambling industry. Twenty-one or "Siebzehn und Vier" German: An ace can only count as eleven, but two aces count as a blackjack. It is mostly played in private circles and barracks. A British variation is called "Pontoon", the name being probably a corruption of "Vingt-et-un".

Blackjack is also featured in various television shows. Here are a few shows inspired by the game. In , professional gamblers around the world were invited to nominate great blackjack players for admission into the Blackjack Hall of Fame.

Seven members were inducted in , with new people inducted every year after. Members include Edward O. Thorp , author of the s book Beat the Dealer which proved that the game could be beaten with a combination of basic strategy and card counting ; Ken Uston , who popularized the concept of team play; Arnold Snyder , author and editor of the Blackjack Forum trade journal; Stanford Wong , author and popularizer of the "Wonging" technique of only playing at a positive count, and several others. Novels have been written around blackjack and the possibility of winning games via some kind of method.

An almost identical theme was shown in the Canadian film The Last Casino. In The Hangover , an American comedy, four friends try to count cards to win back enough money to secure the release of their friend from the clutches of a notorious criminal they stole from the previous night while blacked out. A central part of the plot of Rain Man is that Raymond Dustin Hoffman , an autistic savant , is able to win at blackjack by counting cards.

Scarne's new complete guide to gambling Fully rev. Flor del Viento Ediciones. Retrieved 21 May Wizard of Odds Consulting, Inc. Retrieved 30 April Fine points of basic strategy in single-deck blackjack. Retrieved December 8, Retrieved December 19, The theory of blackjack: A Winner's Handbook ; by Jerry L.

Thorp Ken Uston Stanford Wong. Gambling mathematics Mathematics of bookmaking Poker probability. Casino game Game of chance Game of skill List of bets. Category Commons Wiktionary WikiProject.

Retrieved from " https: Use mdy dates from June Pages using deprecated image syntax All articles with unsourced statements Articles with unsourced statements from December Articles with Curlie links. Views Read Edit View history. In other projects Wikimedia Commons Wikibooks. Blackjack master Bill Kaplan organized the team like a startup. Don't sit down at a Blackjack table without first memorizing a "basic strategy" chart.

This is a one-page chart that specifies every hit, stand, double down, and split decision to be made at the table for every possible combination of cards in your hand and the dealer's "up" card. You can find this online or in countless Blackjack books. Once you've learned basic strategy, your disadvantage at the game will be. You're about to be redirected We notice you're visiting us from a region where we have a local version of Inc.

You may not bring down the house, but here are 11 of his tips that will give amateur gamblers an extra edge. Always hit a soft 17 i. He will make two passes around the table starting at his left your right so that the players and the dealer all have two cards each.

The dealer will flip one of his cards over, exposing its value as the "dealer upcard". In games dealt from a shoe, the players' cards will be face-up, and players are not allowed to touch the cards. If you are just beginning, this is the best kind of game, because you don't have to worry about handling the cards.

Hand-held games are slightly different. In these games, the players' cards are dealt face down, and players pick up the cards. When handling the cards in a hand-held game, here are a few important things to remember. Once the initial hands are dealt, play proceeds around the table starting at the first seat to the dealer's left, also called "first base". Each player in turn indicates to the dealer how he wishes to play the hand. All of those choices are explained in the next part of this series.

After all of the players have finished their hands, the dealer will complete his hand, and then pay the winning bets and collect the losing bets. The dealer will first flip over the "hole card" to reveal his two-card starting hand.

The dealer is then required to play his hand in a very specific way, with no choices allowed. He must draw cards until he has a total of 17 or more. The dealer has no choice in how to play the hand. He must continue taking cards until his total is at least A slight variation of this rule is discussed below. After flipping over the hole card, the dealer's hand was Ace, 5.

That makes a hand value of 16, so he must draw another card. He drew a 7, making the hand value 13 the Ace can no longer be counted as With a total of 13, he must hit again. He drew a 6, making the hand total Since that is "17 or more", the dealer stops with a final total of If you draw a card that makes your hand total go over 21, your hand is a bust. That is an automatic loser. The dealer will immediately collect your bet, and discard your hand. Assuming you did not bust, the dealer will play out his hand at the end.

If he busts by going over 21, all the remaining players win their bets. If his total is higher than yours, you lose the bet, and he will collect your bet and put the chips in his tray. If your total is higher than his, you win the bet, and he will pay the entire amount you have bet.

After he pays you, you'll have your initial bet plus the amount you won in the circle. So, what happens if you and the dealer tie, with the same exact total? A tie is called a "push", and you do not win or lose your bet. Your chips stay in the betting circle where you can leave them for the next hand if you want, or you can add to or remove from them as you wish before the next hand.

A blackjack, or natural, is a total of 21 in your first two cards. A blackjack is therefore an Ace and any ten-valued card, with the additional requirement that these be your first two cards. If you split a pair of Aces for example, and then draw a ten-valued card on one of the Aces, this is not a blackjack, but rather a total of The distinction is important, because a winning blackjack pays the player at 3 to 2.

A player blackjack beats any dealer total other than blackjack, including a dealer's three or more card If both a player and the dealer have blackjack, the hand is a tie or push. The dealer will usually pay your winning blackjack bet immediately when it is your turn to play. In the face down games, this means that you should show the blackjack to the dealer at that time. Some casinos may postpone paying the blackjack until after the hand is over if the dealer has a 10 card up and has not checked for a dealer blackjack.

Other casinos check under both 10 and Ace dealer upcards, and would therefore pay the blackjack immediately. Regardless, when you are dealt a blackjack, turn the cards face up, and smile. It only happens about once every 21 hands, but it accounts for a lot of the fun of the game. The most common decision a player must make during the game is whether to draw another card to the hand "hit" , or stop at the current total "stand".

You will be required to make hand signals rather than just announcing "hit" or "stand" to the dealer. This is to eliminate any confusion or ambiguity in what you choose, and also for the benefit of the ever-present surveillance cameras. If you go over 21, or "bust", the dealer will collect your bet and remove your cards from the table immediately.

In the face-up shoe game, you indicate that you want another card by tapping the table behind your cards with a finger. When you decide to stand, just wave your hand in a horizontal motion over your cards. In the face-down game, things are a little different.

You will hold the first two cards with one hand. To let the dealer know that you want to draw another card to your hand, scratch the table with the bottom of your cards lightly. Watch another player at first to see how this works.

The dealer will deal your additional cards on the table in front of your bet. Leave those cards on the table, but mentally add them to your total hand value.

If you go over 21, just toss the two cards in your hand face up on the table. The dealer will collect your bet and discard your hand. When you decide to stand, tuck the two cards you are holding face-down under the chips in your betting circle. This can be a bit tricky the first few times. Don't pick up the bet to place the cards underneath.

Remember, once the cards are dealt, you can't touch the chips in the circle. Simply slide the corner of the cards under the chips. Describing these moves makes them sound complicated. Just pay attention to what other players are doing and you will fit right in.

Much of the excitement and profit in blackjack comes from hands where you are able to "double down". This option is available only with a two card hand, before another card has been drawn. Doubling down allows you to double your bet and receive one and only one additional card to your hand. A good example of a doubling opportunity is when you hold a total of 11, like a 6,5 against a dealer's upcard of 5.

In this case, you have a good chance of winning the hand by drawing one additional card, so you should increase your bet in this advantageous situation by doubling down. If you are playing in a hand-held game, just toss your original two cards face-up on the table in front of your bet. In either type of game, add an additional bet to the betting circle.

Place the additional bet adjacent to the original bet, not on top of it. The dealer will deal one additional card to the hand. In a shoe game, he will probably deal the card sideways to indicate that this was a double-down. In a hand-held game, the card will be tucked face-down under your bet to be revealed after the hand is over.

Depending on what the dealer makes on his hand, it can be an exciting wait to see that card revealed at the end! You are allowed to double down for any amount up to your original bet amount, so you could actually double down for less if you wanted. That's a bad move though. Remember that you do give up something for being allowed to increase your bet: If the correct play is to double down, you should always double for the full amount if possible.

And just when should you double down, you ask? For that information, just use our Blackjack Basic Strategy Engine. When you are dealt a pair of cards of the same rank, you are allowed to split the pair into two separate hands and play them independently. Let's say you are dealt a pair of eights for a total of sixteen.

Sixteen is the worst possible player hand, since it is unlikely to win as is, but is very likely to bust if you draw to it. Here's a great chance to improve a bad situation. If you are playing a hand-held game, toss the cards face-up in front of your bet just like a double down. Then, in either type of game, place a matching bet beside the original bet in the circle. Note that you must bet the same amount on a split, unlike a double-down where you are allowed to double for less.

The dealer will separate the two cards, and treat them as two independent hands. He will deal a second card on the first eight, and you will play that two-card hand to completion. Many casinos will let you double-down on that two-card hand if you want. No matter what happens on your first hand, when you are done with it the dealer will deal a second card to your next hand and the process starts all over. If you get additional pairs in the first two cards of a hand, most casinos will allow you to resplit, making yet another hand.

Typically a player is allowed to split up to 3 times, making 4 separate hands, with 4 separate bets. If double after split is allowed, you could have up to 8 times your initial bet on the table! Note that you are allowed to split any valued cards, so you could split a Jack, Queen hand.

However, this is usually a bad play. You will make more money on the pat 20 than you will trying to make two good hands from it. I wrote a post about just that: Why Splitting Tens is a Bad Move. Another oddity comes when splitting Aces. Splitting Aces is a very strong player move so the casino limits you to drawing only one additional card on each Ace. Also, if you draw a ten-valued card on one of your split Aces, the hand is not considered a Blackjack, but is instead treated as a normal 21, and therefore does not collect a 3: With all these limitations, you may wonder whether it makes sense to split Aces.

The answer is a resounding YES. For accurate advice on what other pairs you should split, consult the Blackjack Basic Strategy Engine. If you want to win at Blackjack, you will eventually need to learn basic strategy from a basic strategy chart or play the interactive strategy trainer. However, there are some quick rules and tips that you can learn as a beginner to decrease the house edge and formulate a strategy.

Remember there are more 10 value cards 10, J, Q, K than any other cards in the deck—so when a 10 will get you close to 21 and you are against a card that is bad for the dealer, you should double.

A player 9, 10, or 11 would always be a good double when a dealer is showing a 3, 4, 5, or 6. This is because the 3, 4, 5, and 6 are starting cards that are more likely to make a dealer bust. The Ace is such a powerful card because pulling a 10 on a split will give you a Even though a 21 gained through a split is still only paid 1: Two fives total 10—which is a hand much better suited for doubling. Insurance in blackjack is often misunderstood by players, and is a big money-maker for casinos.

Naming this side-bet "insurance" was a brilliant marketing ploy, and some otherwise solid players will frequently make this bad bet to "insure" when they have a good hand. But actually, insurance is not always a bad bet. For players who can recognize when the remaining deck is rich in ten-valued cards, this can actually be a profitable side-bet.

Insurance is a proposition bet that is available only when the dealer's upcard is an Ace. When the dealer turns up an Ace, he will offer "Insurance" to the players. Insurance bets can be made by betting up to half your original bet amount in the insurance betting stripe in front of your bet. The dealer will check to see if he has a value card underneath his Ace, and if he does have Blackjack, your winning Insurance bet will be paid at odds of 2: You will still lose your original bet unless you also have a Blackjack , so the net effect is that you break even assuming you bet the full half bet for insurance.

This is why the bet is described as "insurance", since it seems to protect your original bet against a dealer blackjack. Of course, if the dealer does not have blackjack, you'll lose the insurance bet, and still have to play the original bet out.

Insurance is simply a side-bet offering 2: Not surprisingly, the casino has a substantial edge on this bet. In a single deck game, there are 16 ten-valued cards.

Assuming that you don't see any other cards, including your own, the tens compose 16 out of 51 remaining cards after the dealer's Ace was removed. That creates a 5. It's even worse in six decks with a 7. Card counters can still beat the insurance bet, by only making the bet when they know that more than one-third of the remaining cards are tens. Unless you are card counter and know the deck is skewed sufficiently, just ignore the insurance bet.

It doesn't matter whether you have a good hand or a bad hand. If you have a blackjack when the dealer turns up an Ace, he is likely to offer you "even money" instead of the insurance bet. If you accept, the dealer will pay you the amount of your original bet and discard your hand of blackjack, before he even checks under his Ace to see if he has a blackjack as well.