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Blackjack Rules and Strategies - Learn How to Play 21

How to play Blackjack and how to win

Blackjack outnumbers other casino table games by a margin of about two to one. The game is so immensely popular because, when played correctly, it offers better odds than any other game.

The purpose of the game is to get a hand total higher than the dealer’s without going over a count of 21. You play against the dealer, not against other players at the table. Whatever hand you end up with must be 21 or less, but higher than what the dealer has.

Cards between 2 and 10 are counted at their face value. Jacks, Queens, and Kings also have a value of 10. At you option an Ace can be counted as 1 or 11, whichever is more advantageous to your hand. Therefore, if you hold a 9 and a 5, you have 14, but a nine and an Ace can be either 10 or 20. When you get an Ace and a ten-value card, it’s called a blackjack, which beats all other hands except for another blackjack. So if you have a blackjack, and the dealer has 3 cards that add up to 21, you still win.

Before the cards are dealt, each player must put up a bet. Bets usually start at $5 minimum and range as high as $1,000 at some casinos. At online casinos you can find games with $1 minimum bets, allowing you to play and sharpen your skills without much risk.. To make a bet, simply place your wager (chips) in the appropriate box or circle.

After placing a bet, you are dealt two cards face up. The dealer also gets two cards, but only one of the dealer's cards is face up. You are then given the option of standing with the cards you have or you may take another card, called hitting. You may hit as often as you wish but if you go over 21, you bust, and the dealer wins automatically. The dealer will not take any cards until all players at the table have made their choices. The dealer's biggest advantage is here. Any players that bust lose their bet even if the dealer also goes bust.

Now the dealer shows his face down card. If his hand totals 17 or higher he must stand – he is not allowed to take additional cards. But if the dealer’s hand is 16 or under he must hit until the hand has a value of 17 or higher. If the exceeds 21 while taking additional cards, the dealers busts and loses.

The payoff if you win is even money (1 to 1). If you get a blackjack you are paid 1 ½ times your wager (bet 2 win 3). If the dealer gets blackjack at the same time, it’s a tie, you don’t win or lose.

Those are the primary rules. Pretty straight forward, right? However, there are a few more things you need to know about.

Now that you know the basics of how the game is played, the following is your best strategy as determined by computer testing. Always hit (take more cards) when you have 11 or less. Always stand when you have 17 or more. When the dealer's up card is from a 7 to an Ace, hit if your count is between 12 and 16, stand if the dealer shows a 2 to 6.

In most casinos, you may double down (double your bet) after your first two cards. However, there is one condition. When you double down, you can take only one more card. You can not receive any more cards after this. Always double if your two dealt cards add up to 11, except when the dealer has a 10 or Ace.

Another play is the splitting of pairs. If your first two cards of the deal are the same value, you may split the cards and play two hands by placing a bet of the same value as your original bet on the second hand. So if you split a pair of 8’s you create two separate hands, each with a value of 8. Then you proceed to play out each hand as you would do normally. Always split Ace-Ace and 8-8. Never split 10-10, 5-5 or 4-4.

You may buy insurance when the dealer’s up card is an Ace because there is the possibility that the dealer has a blackjack you automatically lose, unless you also have a blackjack, in which case it’s a tie. After all players and the dealer have 2 cards each, he will ask "insurance?" The insurance "premium" is 1/2 of your original bet. Payment is 2 to 1 if the dealer does indeed have a blackjack hand. Insurance bets favor the house and should generally be avoided. Don’t take insurance.

Be sure to memorize these six most important basic strategy rules:

1) Stand if you hold 12 to 16 and the dealers up card is 2 to 6.
2) Hit if you hold 12 to 16 and the dealer shows a 7 or higher.
3) Stand if your count is between 17 and 21.
4) Always split pairs of 8’s and Aces.
5) Never split 10’s, 5’s or 4’s
6) Double down on 11, unless the dealer shows a 10 or Ace.

How To Win Strategy:

Now that you know the elementary rules of how to play blackjack, let me show you the method I use in trying to win:

Risk your own money cautiously, but take the double or nothing approach with your winnings. Let’s assume you have a $100 stake and you are playing at a $5 table. Bet $5, when you win bet $10, win bet $20, win again bet $40, win once more bet $80. You might be reluctant to risk $80 in one whack, but look at it this way: If you lose the gamble has only cost you $5 of your own money . . .but if you win you’ll collect $160!

A $100 stake at $5 a hand gives you 20 chances to try this system. If Lady Luck is by your side and you get five winning hands in a row, don’t get greedy. Go back and start with a $5 bet, trying to repeat the process. Watch your chips closely, if you don’t get another lucky run in short order, stop playing while you’re ahead. You’ll feel much better if you quit a winner. Enjoy your blackjack and Good Luck.



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