How to Play Blackjack | Rules, Odds, Tips

How to play blackjack?

Blackjack rules are not as simple as they may look and it is a game which is played with 4 or 6 decks depending on the rules in the casino where the blackjack table is located. Most of the casinos offer the 6 deck game because it makes it harder for the players who try to count the cards during the game. The goal of the player is to have a better hand than the dealer. The hand needs to be 21 or as close to 21 as possible without exceeding it which is called busting. All face cards (jack, queen, king) are valued 10 points, the Ace is 1 or 11 points, and all the other cards are valued according to their rank (6 of spades is 6 points, 9 of hearts is 9 points and etc.). In order to have the game started, one or more of the players must have placed a bet on the blackjack table. After that the dealer passes his hand through the boxes that have bets placed on them and accepts the bets. When the bets are accepted, the dealer deals one card to each of the players and one to himself (all cards face-up). If the dealer’s card is an Ace, he offers the players to make an insurance bet (learn more about the insurance bet here) that is equal to half of the initial bet. After the blackjack players decide whether to place an insurance bet, the dealer deals one more card to each of the players and to himself.

When a player has Blackjack, this means that his first two cards’ value is equal to 21. If the dealer has less than 21, then the player wins. In case the player has a blackjack hand then the casino pays out 3:2 compared to a win without a blackjack when it is 1:1. If the player has got blackjack and the face up card of the dealer is an Ace, then the dealer offers Even Money to the player (to pay him half of the bet). After the dealer has dealt the cards, he points to the boxes and announces the values of the hands (if the player has an Ace, the dealer needs to announce both values, 1 and 11).

If one of the players on the blackjack table has got value of his cards equal to 9, 10 or 11 the dealer offers him to double – to double his bet. In this case the player may hit one more card only and hopes to get face card (jack, queen or king) and if he beats the dealer, he will win double.

When a player has 2 one of a kind cards (2 jacks, for example), the dealer offers a Split. If the player chooses to do a split, his cards are divided into two, the bet is doubled and the player gets two cards more (one per each split). After that the blackjack game continues as usual but the player plays with two hands (the two splits). Some casinos’ blackjack rules allow split of Aces, but then you are not allowed to have additional cards.

When the player hits, exceeds 21 and gets busted, the dealer announces Too Many and the player loses. The dealer is obliged to hit until he reaches 17. If his hand exceeds 21, he pays to all the blackjack players on the table.

Blackjack odds

A very important thing for every player is to know what the blackjack odds for certain situations to happen are and the odds for their outcome. For example, the chance for you to get blackjack, or to hit a 10 and etc. In this section you may see the odds for the outcome of different situation.

House edge

The percentage advantage of the casino over the players was first calculated by John Scarne – 5.9% . The advantage that the blackjack dealer has over the players is given by the simultaneous busts. It is important to know that the dealer busts 28% of the time, while the chance for both the dealer and the player to bust in the same time is 7.84%.

Bust after a hit

In the chart below you can see the chance for you to bust if you hit depending on your hand value before you hit.


Card removal impact

The removal of certain cards has different impact on the players’ odds. If you take a look at the chart below you will notice that the removal of a 5 or an Ace from the blackjack deck has the biggest impact on the odds of the dealer and the player. The removal of a 5 from the deck improves the odds of the player, while the removal of an Ace improves the odds of the dealer (casino).


Dealer bust

Here you will see the chance for the dealer to bust depending on his up card. This is important to know because it will help you make the right decisions and will improve your chances to win during the game of blackjack.


Hand value chances

In the chart below, you can see different hand values and the chance for you to get such total value of your first two cards.


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