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How to play black jack?

Learn to play blackjack: whether playing blackjack online, at home or in a casino, this guide will take you through the basic rules of blackjack.

The basics

The player competes against the blackjack dealer to reach a total of 21 points. The dealer places two cards in front of the player (or each player) and two in front of himself, one face down (the hole card). The player chooses to 'stick' (stay with their current cards) or 'hit / twist', take another card. If the player goes over 21, he "busts". When the player's turn is over, the dealer turns over his hole card and compares hands. In typical casino rules, the dealer deals to himself until he reaches 17 points or higher, or busts.

Card values

Cards correspond to their numerical value, up to 10. All face cards are 10. Aces can be soft, valued either 1 or 11.

Betting

In blackjack, betting occurs before the cards are dealt. The player wagers chips against the dealer. If a player beats the dealer, the house doubles its chips. If the dealer reaches closer to 21, or the player goes bust, the player loses his chips. If the player ties with the dealer, his chips are returned.

Being dealt a "Blackjack"

In the event of being dealt a blackjack, the player is paid 2.5x his wager. Blackjack occurs when an Ace and a 10 card, or face card, are dealt together. If the player is dealt a blackjack, he is paid immediately. If the dealer is dealt a card valued 10, or an Ace, he checks for blackjack - if the dealer is dealt blackjack, the hand ends there.

Insurance

Before the dealer checks for blackjack, players may be offered to bet chips on 'insurance'. If the dealer has blackjack, the dealer doubles the insurance value. If not, the insurance is lost to the dealer.

Double down

The player can double down his bet on his first two cards and take one more card, ending his hand. This is most common with a hand like A/six (seven or 17), where the majority of cards dealt will make a good final hand.

Splitting

When the player is dealt a pair of cards, they can split the pair into two hands. This requires an extra bet for the additional hand. The dealer deals an extra card to each hand, and play continues as though the player has two hands.

Further information

For blackjack, many game charts exist. Basic strategy is a blackjack strategy where moves correspond to their most likely average return, based on probability. Visit websites like Wizard of Odds for more detailed discussion of play. Practice by playing free blackjack online. Most online casinos offer practice tables for no charge.

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