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Blackjack Rules

Blackjack rules are some of the easiest rules of any gambling game; they are simple and very quick to learn, however mastering the strategies can be a little more taxing. You should, of course, learn all of them in order to stand a better chance of winning regular money because otherwise you won't have the knowledge required to limit the house advantage and improve your own odds of winning.

The basic rules of blackjack is to get close to twenty-one than the dealer does without going bust. Going bust means your cards have a total value of over 21. The Ace can be worth either one or 11 and tens, jacks, queens and kings are all worth ten. The best hand you can get is a blackjack, which is any ten valued card and an Ace.

These are basically the blackjack rules excluding betting. If you are gambling at blackjack then you will be required to place a bet before you are dealt your cards. This can be anywhere between the table minimum and the table maximum value. Once you've placed your bet you can not remove it in most casinos. Blackjack rules mean that with each hand you have the options of staying, drawing, double down and split.

The most common scenarios are:

Pair splitting If the player has two identical-value cards, he may place an additional bet equal to the original bet and play two hands instead of one, using each of the two cards as the start of a hand. Any two 10-value cards are considered a pair, and so may be split. In most casinos, if one splits a pair of Aces, one receives a second card to each but can make no further plays on either hand. If a player has split, and the next card dealt has the same value, many casinos allow him to split again, often up to a total of four hands.

Doubling down
The player can double his bet and receive just one more card. Some casinos allow players to double down only if their initial point total is 11 or 10 (or, in some cases, 9).
Doubling down, whether the cards are split or unsplit, is a good idea when the player has an edge on the dealer in the hand, that is, the player should expect to win more often than lose if he takes just one more card. Therefore, this is usually done on a total of 10 or 11 when the dealer shows a weak card like a 4, 5 or 6.

If the dealer has, as his up-card, an Ace, the players are offered the option of insurance before the dealer views the hole card. This is a side-bet that pays back 2:1, the insurance wager needs to be exactly half the amount of one or more of the player's wagers. If the dealer has a natural, one wins on the insurance bet, but loses the original bet. This is considered a very poor option for the player-consequently, almost every casino offers it as an option.

Some casinos allow a player who has a bad hand to give up the hand and get half his bet back. If the player is allowed to surrender before the dealer checks for blackjack, this is called early surrender.

Rule Variations
Rule variations will have an effect on the player's expected return. The numbers below show the effect on the player's return under various rules and after taking into consideration proper basic strategy adjustments. These changes are relative to the following Atlantic City rules: 8 decks, dealer stands on soft 17, player may double on any first two cards, player can double after splitting, player may re-split to 4 hands.

Rule Effect
  Blackjacks pay 2 to 1 +2.27%
  Five card Charlie +1.46%
  Suited blackjacks pay 2 to 1 +0.57%
  Player 21-points is automatic winner +0.54%
  Early surrender against ace +0.39%
  Early surrender against ten +0.24%
  Player may double on any number of cards +0.23%
  Ace and 10 after splitting aces is a blackjack +0.19%
  Player may draw to split aces +0.19%
  Six card Charlie +0.16%
  Player may resplit aces +0.08%
  Late surrender against ten +0.07%
  Seven card Charlie +0.01%
  Late surrender against ace +0.00%
  Late surrender after splitting +0.00%
  Resplit to only 2 hands -0.01%
  No-peek: ace showing -0.01%
  Player may double on 9-11 only -0.09%
  No-peek: ten showing -0.10%
  Player may not resplit -0.10%
  European no hole card -0.11%
  Player may not double after splitting -0.14%
  Player may double on 10,11 only -0.18%
  Dealer hits on soft 17 -0.22%
  Blackjack pays 6-5 -1.39%
  Player loses 17 ties -1.87%
  Blackjacks pay 1 to 1 -2.27%
  Player loses 17,18 ties -3.58%
  Player loses 17-19 ties -5.30%
  Player loses 17-20 ties -8.38


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