Blackjack is played at a table with one dealer and up to 7 players. In front of each player spot is a betting square for bets to be placed.
The number of players is irrelevant, because each player is playing ONLY against the dealer.
Bets are in the form of colored chips. Each color means a different denomination and vary from casino to casino.
All bets are to be made BEFORE each hand is dealt and once the first card is dealt bets cannot be removed. If you do not place a bet the dealer will not deal you any cards. Bets are to be stacked in a single pile, with highest denomination chips on the bottom of the stack.
At each table there is a sign clearly stating the minimum and maximum bets allowed at that table. On the same sign, you will find any special instructions for the game, (ie. this is where you will be able to note whether Surrender is an active play). Find a table that suits your pocketbook, (in other words, don’t bet more than you can afford to lose).
Because there are many table games, it is important to make sure the table you are at is a BLACKJACK table. On the table surface you will see the phrase: “Blackjack pays 3 to 2” underneath you will find the dealer instructions concerning draws and Insurance payment.
Now that you are at the correct table, it is necessary to find out what KIND of game you are playing. The choices are Multi-Deck and Single-Deck.
Multi-Deck vs. Single-Deck
For a beginner, it has been suggested to start with the Multi-Deck game which consists of 6 or 8 decks and are dealt from a Shoe, (a box for holding the cards). The cards are dealt “face up”, so all the cards in play are showing. The reason for this is to get you, the new player, comfortable with the game and the casino enviroment. Also when selecting a table for “getting comfortable”, choose one that has the lowest minimum bet in the casino. The more decks being used, the more of an advantage the casino has.
Once you play for awhile and get the hang of the game, you may want to switch to the Single-Deck game, where the cards are dealt face down and the dealer only has one card showing face up.
Values for the Cards
Each player is given two cards, either face up or face down, and the dealer gets one card face down and one face up. The value of the hand is the sum of the cards.
If anyone is dealt a “ten” and Ace as their two dealt cards, they have twenty one and are paid back at a ratio of 3 to 2.
The suits are ignored, they don’t count in the game at all.
The cards with two to nine showing are taken at face value.
Tens, Jacks, Queens and Kings are valued at “ten”.
Aces can be counted as One or Eleven.
Mission of the Game
The player’s mission of the game is to get a score higher than the dealer and as close to “twenty-one” as possible. If the player or dealer exceed a score of “twenty-one, this is called a bust and that person loses the hand. If the dealer and player have the same score, it is called a push and nobody wins the hand. As explained before, the players DO NOT play against each other. The player must play first, if the players hand exceeds “21”, (busts), the player loses their bet, even if the dealer busts on his hand.
Soft and Hard Hands
Because Aces are capable of having two values, when they are first dealt, the value is indistinguishable. For example, if you are dealt an A and 6, the value of the hand can be viewed as 7 or 17. This is called a SOFT hand because it doesn’t exceed twenty one. If the player asks for another card and gets an 8, it is now considered a HARD hand because the value of the cards, (A+6+8, if the A is counted as eleven), is more than 21.