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Play Blackjack Like A Pro


By: Matt Solice

The basics:

The object of the blackjack game is to accumulate cards with point totals as close to 21 without going over 21.

Face cards (Jacks, Queens and Kings) are worth 10 points. Aces are worth 1 or 11, whichever is preferable. Other cards are represented by their number. If a player and the House tie, it is called a “push” and no one wins. Ace and 10 (Blackjack) on the first two cards dealt is an automatic player win at 1.5 to 1, unless the house ties. A player may stand at any time.

Playing The Game of Blackjack:

To win you need to beat the dealer without going bust. When your cards total more than 21, you go bust and you automatically lose. The winner is whomever’s cards total closest to 21. You get to 21 by adding up the numbers of the cards.

The blackjack table seats about 6 players. Either six or eight decks of cards are used and are shuffled together by the dealer and placed in a card dispensing box called the ‘Shoe’.

Before receiving any cards players must place a wager. Then the players are dealt two cards face up. The dealer gets one face up, one face down. Each player in turn either stays or takes more cards to try and get closer to 21 without busting. Players who do not bust wait for the dealer’s turn. When all the players are done, the dealer turns up the down card. By rule, on counts of 17 or higher the dealer must stay; on counts of 16 or lower the dealer must draw.

If you make a total of 21 with the first two cards (a 10 or a face and an Ace), you win automatically. This is called ‘Blackjack’. If you have Blackjack, you will win one and one-half times your bet unless the dealer also has Blackjack, in which case it is a Push or a Tie (or a Stand-off) and you get your bet back.

The remaining players with a higher count than the dealer win an amount equal to their bet. Players with a lower count than the dealer lose their bet. If the dealer busts, all the remaining players win. There are other betting options namely Insurance, Surrender, Double Down, Even Money and Split.

Insurance: side bet up to half the initial bet against the dealer having a natural 21 – allowed only when the dealer’s showing card is an Ace. If the dealer has a 10 face down and makes a blackjack, insurance pays at 2-1 odds, but loses if the dealer does not.

Surrender: giving up your hand and losing only half the bet.

Early Surrender: surrender allowed before the dealer checks his cards for blackjack.

Late Surrender: the dealer first checks to see if he has blackjack (21). If he does, surrender is not allowed.

Double Down: you may double your initial bet following the initial two-card deal, but you can hit one card only. A good bet if the player is in a strong position.

Even Money: cashing in your bet immediately at a 1:1 payout ratio when you are dealt a natural blackjack and the dealer’s showing card is an Ace.

Split Hand: split the initial two-card hand into two and play them separately – allowed only when the two first cards are of equal value. Use each card as the start to a separate hand and place a second bet equal to the first.

Hard Hand: A hand without an Ace, or with an Ace valued at 1 is said to be Hard in that it can only be given one value, unlike a Soft Hand. (You can value an Ace 1 or 11 to suit you).

Soft Hand: A hand that contains an Ace counted as 11 is called a soft Hand.

House advantage:

Without basic strategy about a 7% average. With basic strategy 0.5% or less. Card counting can reverse the advantage up to 1% to the player.

Soon you’ll be on your way to play with the big dawgs in Vegas!

Copyright 2006 Matthew Solice All Rights Reserved.

Matt Solice is an avid blackjack player, who enjoys casino games, but says that there’s always a limit. Matt’s reviews the best casinos, and online games at

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