Blackjack – Card Game Rules



The north american english game of Blackjack, besides known as 21, has been one of the most popular casino games of the last hundred years and has spread throughout the worldly concern. In the twenty-first century it has been overtaken in popularity by Slots ( time slot machine games ), but it remains one of the most democratic casino circuit board games and is available in about all casinos both on and offline .
Blackjack is a casino bank crippled, meaning that players compete against the house rather than each other. The objective is to get a hand total of close to 21 than the dealer without going over 21 ( busting ) .
At the begin of a Blackjack crippled, the players and the dealer receive two cards each. The players ‘ cards are normally distribute confront up, while the dealer has one face down ( called the hole poster ) and one face up. The best potential Blackjack hand is an open deal of an ace with any ten-point calling card .
The firm advantage of this crippled is derived from several rules that favour the principal. The most significant of these is that the player must act before the dealer, allowing the player to bust and lose their bet before the trader plays.

Players should be mindful that there is another wag game called Black Jack in the UK which is an wholly different tease game, efficaciously the same as Crazy Eights .
Note. Gambling can be perilously addictive. You can find information and advice on our creditworthy Gambling foliate .
We would like to thank the trace collaborator sites for their digest :
An overview of casinos that offer Online Blackjack in New Zealand is available at, which has been recommending dependable on-line casinos to New Zealand players since 2016 .
information about Online Blackjack in South Africa and its different variations can be found at, which since 2017 has provided advice on gambling options using south african currency. Dedicated to providing accurate information about on-line gamble and the legal aspects involved since 2015, John Isaac ‘s team at have produced a overplus of on-line blackjack resources for players .


Blackjack table layout
The Blackjack table is usually, though not always, semi-circular in shape with a green felt surface. The dealer is seated at the straight side of the table with the chip tray in front of the dealer, the dealing shoe to dealer’s left and the discard tray to dealer’s right. Around the curved side of the table are betting circles at which the players sit.
Casino betting chips
The betting chips come in multiple denominations that vary from casino to casino and sometimes from table to table depending on the betting limits offered by the table. As a standard rule, white chips are worth 1 currency unit, red chips are worth 5 units, green 25, black 100 and purple 500.
Cut card inserted into the deck
The cut card

Blackjack is played with a standard international pack of cards of cards with the Jokers removed, leaving 52 cards. originally the game was played with a individual deck. however, as a counter measure to card count, casinos introduced multi-deck games, based on the false presumption that if there were more cards in play it would be harder for the circuit board buffet to keep racetrack of them all. As a resultant role, Blackjack is now normally offered in either single deck, doubly deck, 4 deck, 6 deck or 8 deck variants. It should be noted that there are exceptions in on-line casinos where far larger numbers of decks can be used than would be practical to manage offline .
aside from the cards, the bet on requires a table, chips, a discard tray, cut card and a shoe .
After the dealer has shuffled a musician will be selected at random and asked to take the cut menu – a color plastic batting order matching the play cards in size – and place it at a random put within push-down storage of cards. The principal will then move the cards above the cut card to the back of the batch. This technique is intended to demonstrate to the players that the dealer can not have rigged the deck. The cut wag is then reinserted into the stack of cards by the principal at a pre-defined put and when this card is reached this indicates the final manage of the game before the cards are shuffled .
Where multiple decks are used, after the shamble the cards will be placed into a dispenser called a brake shoe. This man of equipment has two purposes : to hold big stacks of cards in multi-deck games and make the commit of hole carding ( cheating by catching a glimpse of the dealer ’ s trap tease ) more difficult. In fact hole tease is not illegal in the huge majority of jurisdictions. If the dealer is ill trained or sloppy enough to fail to protect their depressed batting order from being seen by a player at the table this is not the player ‘s demerit and the player is not obliged to look away to prevent themselves seeing the polish circuit board. If however the player uses any form of device, for case a metallic barge to observe the reflection in, or an accomplice off table signals the data to them, this is cheating. Hole card is only legal where the player can see the card naturally from one of the actor positions at the board .

Card Values

When playing Blackjack the numeral cards 2 to 10 have their boldness values, Jacks, Queens and Kings are valued at 10, and Aces can have a measure of either 1 or 11. The Ace is always valued at 11 unless that would result in the bridge player going over 21, in which case it is valued as 1 .
Any hand with an Ace valued as 11 is called a ‘ soft ’ hand. All early hands are ‘ hard ’ hands .
A starting bridge player of a 10 valued card and an Ace is called a Blackjack or natural and beats all hands other than another Blackjack. If both the player and principal have Blackjack, the result is a push ( tie ) : neither the player nor the bank wins and the bet is returned to the player .

Order of Play and Playing Options

Example game

Blackjack deal
This shows the table after the initial bets have been placed and the cards have been dealt.
double down
This player originally bet 200 units (two black chips) was dealt a total of 11 (6+5) and doubled down, betting another 200. They were then dealt a King for a total of 21, which will win unless the dealer also makes 21.
split sixes
This player has split a pair of Sixes and received an Six and an Ace, and then split the new pair of Sixes receiving a Five and a Jack and creating three hands. The player has doubled down on the 6+5 hand but unfortunately received only a 2 as the third card for this hand.
dealer is bust Here the deal ends with the dealer bust, so the dealer has paid out on all the unbust hands belonging to the players.

Each player sitting at the mesa places their coveted bet in the dissipated encircle directly in front of them. In most casinos if there are untaken dissipated circles, the players sitting at the mesa can choose to play more than one hand at a time. The minimum and maximum bet size varies from casino to casino, by and large with a ratio of 40 to 100 between them. For exercise with a $ 25 minimum bet the maximum will normally be somewhere from $ 1000 to $ 2500. Once the bets are placed the dealer will move their pass across the postpone from their left to their right sign that no far bets can be placed. The dealer then deals cards one at a clock time clockwise around the table, from the dealer ‘s bequeath to the trader ‘s right : first a card confront improving to each betting circle that has a bet in it, then a card face up to the dealer, and then a second wag face up to each betting r-2 with a count and ultimately a second base poster face down to the trader .
In many places the principal ‘s beginning wag is initially deal face down. The dealer ‘s second base card is used to flip the beginning card face up and then slid underneath the first base card. The demand dealing protocol varies from place to place as determined by the casino management .
If the trader has a 10 or an Ace face up players are offered the option to place an Insurance count. insurance is a side bet on whether or not the dealer has a Blackjack, unrelated to the final examination consequence of the beat. If a player chooses to take indemnity they place an extra bet equal to half of their original count. This indemnity bet wins if the dealer has Blackjack .
The dealer now checks their down wag to see if they have Blackjack. If they have Blackjack they expose their down card. The turn is concluded and all players lose their original count unless they besides have Blackjack. If a player and the trader each have Blackjack the result is a push and the player ‘s stake is returned. Any insurance bets are paid out at 2:1 .
If the principal does not have Blackjack any policy bets are lost and any players who have Blackjack are paid. It is then the turn of the remaining players to take their actions. Starting with the actor sitting furthest to dealer ‘s leave they have the pursue options :
Stand – If the player is glad with the total they ’ ve been dealt they can stand, taking no far action and die to the next player. The actor can take this legal action after any of the other musician actions ampere long as their hand full is not more than 21. The hand signal to Stand is waving a apartment hand over the cards .
Hit – If the musician wishes to take another card they signal to the dealer to by scratching the feel beside their pass or pointing to their hand. A single calling card is then played face up onto their hand. If the handwriting total is less than 21 the player can choose to Hit again or Stand. If the total is 21 the hand automatically stands. If the full is over 21 the pass is flop, the player ’ randomness bet is taken by the house and the turn to act passes to the adjacent player .
Double Down – If the musician considers they have a favorable hand, by and large a sum of 9, 10 or 11, they can choose to ‘Double Down ‘. To do this they place a second bet equal to their beginning beside their first base bet. A player who doubles down receives precisely one more calling card face improving and is then forced to stand careless of the entire. This choice is only available on the actor ‘s two-card starting hand. Some casinos will restrict which starting bridge player totals can be doubled .
Split – If the actor ’ s first two cards are of matching rank they can choose to place an extra count equal to their master stake and split the cards into two hands. Where the player chooses to do this the cards are separated and an extra card is conduct to complete each hand. If either hand receives a second tease of matching rank the actor may be offered the option to split again, though this depends on the rules in the casino. generally the actor is allowed a maximum of 4 hands after which no farther splits are allowed. The separate hands are played one at a fourth dimension in the rate in which they were dealt, from the dealer ‘s left to the principal ‘s correct. The player has all the usual options : stand, hit or double down. Some casinos restrict the card ranks that can be split and may besides restrict the option to Double after splitting a couple .
A musician who splits Aces is normally merely allowed to receive a single extra calling card on each hand. Normally players are allowed to split two non-matching 10-value cards, for example a King and a Jack. however, some casinos restrict the burst of ten value cards to pairs of the same rank ( two Jacks for case ). It should be noted in any case that splitting 10 ‘s is about constantly a poor people play for the player. If Aces are split and the player draws a ten-spot or if Tens are split and the player draws an Ace, the leave hand does not count as a Blackjack but only as an average 21. In this sheath the actor ‘s two-card 21 will push ( tie with ) principal ‘s 21 in three or more cards .
Surrender – Some casinos allow a player to surrender, taking back half their bet and giving up their hand. surrender must be the player ‘s first and only natural process on the hand. In the most common version, known as late surrender, it is after the principal has checked the hole poster and does not have a Blackjack. It has become increasingly rare for casinos to offer the surrender option .
After all players have completed their actions the trader plays their hand according to fixed rules. First they will reveal their down card. The dealer will then continue to take cards until they have a total of 17 or higher. The rules regarding soft 17 ( a full of 17 with an Ace counted as 11 such as A+6 ) vary from casino to casino. Some require the trader to stand while others require extra cards to be taken until a sum of hard 17 or 18+ is reached. This convention will be intelligibly printed on the feel of the postpone.

If the dealer busts all non-busted player hands are mechanically winners .


If the actor and dealer have equal unbusted totals the pass is considered a push and the musician ’ sulfur stake is returned .
If a player wins a hand they are paid out at 1:1 on the total bet wagered on that hired hand. For exercise if the player wagered $ 10 and then doubled down placing a promote bet of $ 10 on the hand and south korean won, they would be paid a total of $ 40, their $ 20 bet back and $ 20 winnings .
If the player has Blackjack they are paid at 3:2, sol that a bet of $ 10 the player would be paid a total of $ 25, their $ 10 bet back plus $ 15 winnings .
If the player has placed the Insurance count and the dealer has Blackjack, the player ’ s hand loses but the Insurance bet is paid out at 2:1. so if the actor had bet $ 10 on the hand and $ 5 on the Insurance stake, they would lose the $ 10 and be paid a total of $ 15 – their $ 5 Insurance bet returned and $ 10 winnings. This effectively results in a push overall for the hand .



In some casinos the players ‘ initial two-card hands are deal face down. All extra cards share to the musician are given face up. The initial cards are revealed by the player if the hand goes female chest, or if the actor wishes to split a pair. Otherwise the trader reveals the cards at the end of the circle when it is time to settle the bets. This style of game is rare nowadays : casinos do n’t like to allow players to touch the cards, because of the risk of circuit board stigmatize .
In European style games only the dealer ’ s face up card is dealt at the begin of the round. Dealer ‘s second wag is deal after all players have acted, and the dealer checks for Blackjack at this luff. Player Blackjacks are paid at the end of the polish if the principal does not have Blackjack. If the principal has Blackjack the rules regarding Doubled and Split hands vary from casino to casino. Some casinos will take both bets while others will merely take the initial stake and return the other .

Blackjack payout

It should be noted that some casinos have started to offer a reduced payout on Blackjack, most normally 6:5. This is very bad for the actor, increasing the House Edge significantly. any game offer a reduced payout on Blackjack should be avoided by players .


The utmost number of hands that can be created by splitting depends on the rules in the casino : some only allow one split .
When splitting 10 value cards, not all casinos will allow players to split non-matching 10 cards. For example, in some casinos you could split two Jacks but could not split a King and a Jack. Some casinos will limit which card ranks can be split, for example no divide of 10s or splits only allowed on 8s and Aces .
House rules will dictate whether the musician is allowed to Double after cleave, and whether a musician who splits Aces is allowed to receive more than one extra poster on a hand .


not all casinos offer the Surrender option .
A few casinos may offer early Surrender in which the actor can take back half of their stake and give up their hand before the dealer checks for Blackjack. This is identical rare nowadays
In european style games there is normally no Surrender option. If Surrender were offered it would of class have to be early on Surrender.

Five Card Charlie

The side rule is rarely offered. When it is in effect, a player who collects a hand of five cards ( two cards plus three hits ) without going break is immediately paid even money, regardless of the dealer ‘s hand .

Home game blackjack

blackjack oak can be played at home, quite than in a casino. In this case a fondness Blackjack mesa is not needed : precisely at least one pack of cards and something to bet with – cash, chips or possibly matches. Unless the players have agreed in progress that the master of ceremonies should deal throughout, to ensure a carnival game the participants should take turns to be the principal. The turn to deal can pass to the following musician in clockwise ordering after every hand or every five hands or whatever the players agree. If playing with a single deck of cards, it is desirable to re-shuffle the cards after every hand .

Swedish Pub Blackjack

Nightclubs and pubs in Sweden much offer a Blackjack form that is less golden to the players. All the essential rules are the same as in the casino version unless the player and trader have an peer total of 17, 18 or 19. In the casino translation the player ‘s stake is returned in these situations, but in swedish pubs the house wins .
Although public house stakes may vary, they are frequently much lower than in casinos with a minimal stake of 20 or 40 Krona and a utmost of 60 Krona ( about US $ 7 ) for each handwriting .

Optimal Strategy

Basic Strategy table for one of the more commonly available rule combinations (6 decks, Resplit to 4 hands, Dealer Stands on Soft 17, Late Surrender, Double After Split).

basic strategy
The table shows every possible starting player hand running down the left-hand side of the table and all possible dealer upcards running along the top of the table. Cross referencing the two will tell you the correct play to make.

first and foremost, as a general rule the musician should never take Insurance. Unless using an advanced and mathematically test strategy that will alert the actor to the rare situations in which Insurance is worthwhile, it should be avoided as a bad count for the actor .
future, it should be understand that every possible combination of player hands and dealer up card has a mathematically right shimmer. These can be summarized in what is known as a Basic Strategy table. however, certain plays in the board need to be modified according to the specific combination of rules in force. To be sure of playing correctly, it is necessary to generate a Basic Strategy mesa for the particular rules of the bet on being played. respective tools are available on-line to do this. We would recommend this Blackjack Basic Strategy Calculator .
It should be noted that even playing perfect Basic Strategy for the rule set in fun, the player will even normally be at a disadvantage .

Card Counting

Card Counting provides the musician a mathematically demonstrable opportunity to gain an advantage over the house. It must be sympathize that this does not guarantee that the actor will win. Just as a regular musician may win though good luck despite playing at a disadvantage, it is absolutely possible for the Card Counter to lose through an run period of bad luck even though playing with a small advantage over the House .
The basic premise of Card Counting is that mathematically speaking, first gear cards on average are beneficial to the trader while high cards favour the actor. There are many elusive reasons for this but the most significant are :

  • A player who receives a Blackjack (a ten value card and an Ace – two high cards) is paid one and a half times their bet. The dealer however only receives the player’s bet when dealt a Blackjack.
  • While the player can stop taking additional cards at any time, rules require the dealer to continue drawing cards until they reach a total of 17. The player can choose whether or not to take an additional card on a total of 16 whereas the dealer has to take one. In this situation small cards are less likely to cause the dealer to bust are thus favour the dealer, while big cards cause the dealer to bust more often and favour the player.
  • The majority of situations where it is correct of the player to double are starting hands that would be made very strong by the addition of a ten value card or an Ace. Therefore, doubling becomes more favourable when there are more ten value cards and Aces left in the deck.

then the Card Counter looks for times when there are more high gear cards left to be played than a unconstipated deck would have. Rather than trying to remember each card that has been played, the Card Counter will normally use a proportion organization that offsets cards that are good for the actor against cards that are dependable for the dealer .
The most normally used Card Counting organization is the HiLo count, which values cards as follows :

High cards: 10, J, Q, K, A: -1
Medium cards: 7, 8, 9: 0
Low cards: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6: +1

To keep track the player starts at zero, adds one to the full every clock time a low tease is played and subtracts one from the sum when a high circuit board is played. This is called the ‘ Running Count ’. It may seem counter-intuitive to subtract one for high value cards that are good for the player, but a eminent card that has been played is one less high tease that is left to be played. Where the Running Count is plus the player knows that there are more musician favorable cards remaining to be played .
When kept correctly the Running Count will start at 0 and, if all the cards were to be played out, would end at 0. This is because there are an peer count of high cards and low cards. The HiLo consider is consequently refer to as a ‘ Balanced Counting System ’ .
Card Counting systems are generally not impeded by the addition of multiple decks to the crippled. At any pace multiple decks do not make it significantly more difficult for the Card Counter to keep track of the Running Count, since the Card Counter only needs to keep track of a single number, the Running Count. however many decks are used, the count begins at zero and would end at zero if there were no cards left, so no changes need to be made to the count work .
Where multiple decks do make a difference is in how much affect a positive Running Count has to the player advantage. If the Running Count is +10 and there are two decks remaining to play, this means there are an supernumerary 5 player golden cards in each deck. If there are 5 decks remaining to be played there are only 2 extra player favorable cards in each deck. The higher the concentration of extra musician favorable cards the stronger the player ’ s advantage. To estimate the potency of the musician advantage the Running count therefore needs to be divided by the number of decks remaining to be played. This digit is called the True Count .
With the True Count the player has a consistent measurement of how many extra musician favorable cards are contained within the cards remaining to be dealt. The player can use this information to vary their count and play strategy. Deviations from Basic Strategy are far less authoritative than placing big bets when the True Count is high and abject bets ( or preferably nothing ) when the True count is low or negative .
It is authoritative to note that sizing your stake correctly is critical to your long term achiever as a card buffet. This requires substantial extra cognition that is beyond the scope of this article. rather we refer interested readers to the books listed below for an insight into this complex aspect of wag count .
While Card Counting is legal in most jurisdictions, for obvious reasons casinos do not like players that can systematically beat them. They therefore hire counter measures and any players they identify as Card Counters will be asked to leave the casino. The most common method used to identify Card Counters is to watch for a big stake dispersed ( dispute between the minimal and maximum bet a player uses ) and to see whether boastfully bets correlate with player favorable counts. Card Counters have developed several methods to help them avoid detection. The two most common are :

  • Wonging / Back Counting. Named after Blackjack author Stanford Wong, this is the practice of watching the cards being played and only sitting down to play when there is a player favourable count. This practice reduces the bet spread the player uses as they only place bets in player favourable situations but casinos are now well aware of this strategy and watch out for players hanging around a table and not playing. The method is still useful, but not without its problems.
  • Team Play. This involves several trained Card Counters working together. Most commonly there would be several ‘Spotters’ sitting at different tables keeping track of the count and either back counting or playing minimum bets. When a table reaches a positive count the Spotter would signal to the ‘Big Player’ who would come over and bet big during the player favourable count. This allows both players to make very little variation in their bets. Casinos are aware of this strategy and watch for groups of players working together.

There are respective variations on team play designed to be employed in different situations and to different effects. These are covered more fully in the recitation resources detailed below .
successful Card Counting is broadly lone profitable in domain based casinos, not in on-line games. The scheme relies on the bet on having a “ memory ” in that cards are dealt from the cards remaining after former rounds have been played. Online Blackjack games are dealt by calculator and normally use a random number generator to shuffle the whole deck after every round of golf of play. Games of this sort are not countable .
There are some Live Blackjack games online, which are played over a video feed with a human principal. These could technically be counted but there are several significant disadvantages that make this unmanageable or not worth the player ‘s time :

  1. Games of this type are very slow to play. A slow game means less money made.
  2. The games generally offer poor “penetration”. This means that the decks are shuffled early, not allowing enough cards to be dealt out for many player favourable situations to develop. (The most favourable situations for the player tend to occur further into the shoe.)
  3. The casino’s software records every player bet and all the cards dealt. This makes it relatively easy for a casino to employ software to track the count and watch for players raising their bet or only playing when the count is favourable.

For the above reasons Card Counting has not become commonplace on-line .

Recommended Books

There is a big bargain more to card counting successfully than we can reasonable cover hera. many books have been written on this subjugate and we will recommend some of the better ones below :
Donald Schlesinger : Blackjack Attack – One of the foremost mathematicians in the Blackjack field, Schlesinger successfully compares the persuasiveness of diverse counting systems in different conditions .
Arnold Snyder : Blackbelt in Blackjack – One of the most well accessible authors on the subject of Blackjack, Snyder even provides everything you need to know to start on your journey .
Rick Blaine : Blackjack Blueprint – A beneficial book covering everything from Basic Strategy, through several counting systems and on to advanced techniques and team play .
Bryce Carlson : black flag for Blood – Discussion of assorted card counting systems and strategies to avoid being detected. Includes discussion of some strategies that unlike card count, may not be legal. As such we would powerfully advise user caution and research before engaging some of the strategies discussed .
Ian Andersen : Burning the Tables in Las Vegas – One of the best discussions of how to play successfully long terminus without being detected .
Olaf Vancura and Ken Fuchs : Knockout Blackjack – Credited as being the inaugural published unbalanced count system ( arrangement that did not require a True Count conversion ) .
Ken Uston : million Dollar Blackjack – An old ledger now but written by a serviceman celebrated for popularising the concepts of team looseness. This bible covers several counting systems alongside some advance techniques .
Kevin blackwood : Play Blackjack Like the Pros – This ledger covers Basic Strategy, a kind of counting systems, money management and team play .
Stanford Wong : professional Blackjack – One of the definitive books on the subject, the act of waiting for a golden deck before sitting down to play is to this day referred to as ‘ Wonging ’ .
Nathaniel Tilton : The Blackjack Life – A autobiographical account of a little issue of players implementing modernised team play strategies. very useful insight into how team gambling can still be effective .
Eliot Jacobson : The Blackjack Zone – A distribute of space is devoted to how to become a better player and debunking myths surrounding gamble, but this reserve besides has a good treatment of the basics of menu count .
Peter Griffin : The Theory of Blackjack – Peter Griffin was one of the most widely respected gambling mathematicians of all clock time. This book is mathematics heavy but very instructive .
There are early good books on this subject but the above are the ones we feel any actor should ensure they are familiar with before considering trying to win money by Card Counting.

Sites for blackjack rules, information and analysis

hera are some other utilitarian websites with rules and information about Blackjack ( 21 ) . provides a Blackjack Guide with rules, advice and casino reviews. The Basic Strategy part includes a comprehensive calculator that can generate the optimum basic scheme for about any rule combination alongside a paleness calculator to check your results . was once run by Kenneth R Smith but has now been acquired by an affiliate ad network. The forums on this site calm contain a wealth of information and discussion on the diverse aspects of tease reckon .
Blackjack in Color is an unusual rid Web-based Blackjack book providing an analysis of Blackjack and Card Counting illustrated by 139 charts. The writer Norm Wattenberger besides publishes the Blackjack Scams web site, which points out some short-cuts that will more likely monetary value you money than make a profit, runs Blackjack The Forum and publishes Casino Verite Blackjack Card Counting training software..

Wizard of Odds has a large Blackjack department with information on the game, its variants and scheme. They provide a flight simulator with which you can drill card counting .
James Yates has written a foliate Blackjack Solved, which explains Harvey Dubner ‘s Blackjack menu count system .
The Wikipedia Blackjack page needs little explanation. A well detailed and referenced information beginning on Blackjack .

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