How is blackjack played in the casino?
This game is played with 1, 2, 4, 6 or 8 decks of cards. Some casinos usually use a continuous shuffling machine for the decks of cards. In both double and single deck blackjack games, it is the dealer who holds and deals out the cards. In multi-deck games, there is a tray-like box called a shoe which deals out the cards. For hand-held games, the cards are usually dealt face down then the player picks up his cards. For shoe games, cards are usually dealt face up and the player is not allowed to touch their cards. The basic rules of gameplay for both is the same.
The main objective of this game is usually to beat the dealer. For you to beat the dealer, you have to follow the basic rules. All your cards must total more than those of the dealer without exceeding 21. You should, therefore, try to avoid getting close to 21. In case the dealer`s hand or your goes past 21, you can “Bust” and in this case, you automatically lose if you bust. If it is the dealer busts but you do not, then you win. The player has to act first.
The Card Values
The groups of blackjack cards have no effect on the game. All Cards from 2 to 10 are usually counted at face value regardless of their suit. All the face cards have been given a value of 10. An ace counts as one or eleven. A five and a queen equal 15 while a five and an ace totals either 6 or 16. Any hand without an ace is called a Hard Hand since it has just one value.
A hand which has an ace is called a Soft Hand since the value can change. The hand will become a hard hand if in case you draw a soft hand but the 3 cards total a number that puts you over 21 when the ace is counted as eleven.
The Blackjack Table
The Blackjack game is dealt on a unique table which has a semi-circular shape. There is also another circle or square for every player. When you sit to play, you have to bring chips from a separate table or buy them from the dealer. You then place your bet on the betting circle at the fore of the dealer. It is only the chips placed in the betting circle that will count as the bet and after all the bets are made, you begin to play.
For example, every player is issued with two cards face up in a shoe game. The dealer then receives a single face-up card and another one face down – the hole card. After dealing the cards the dealer asks every player to make their decision and the player who sits on the left side of the dealer (the first base) must act first. The person who acts last is in a position referred to as the third base.
During the game, you make your decision on how to play your hand according to the two cards you were dealt and the dealer’s up card. As a rule of thumb, a beginner can assume that the dealer is having a 10 in the hole. However, this is not usually the case. It only makes easier to rely on this premise as you decide. You use a hand signal if you want to let your decision be known. This way, the game keeps moving and verbal misunderstandings are eliminated.
If either you or the dealer has been dealt an Ace with a card with a value of 10, you will have a 21 referred to as a blackjack. If you get this blackjack, you get paid 3 – 2 for the bet you make as long as the dealer does not have one of those at the same time. If you both have the blackjack, it`s a push, but if it`s only the dealer who has it then all the players lose.
When playing blackjack, you may decide to hit or stay. Taking a hit when you play blackjack means that you want to draw another card. If you want to indicate to the dealer that you need to hit, you beckon with your hand or tap the table before you. You do the same if you wish for another card after the initial one.
Again you, have the option to hit or stay. If you are contented with your initial cards or after hitting, you give a signal to the dealer to show you want to stand. You do this by waving your hand above your cards.
When you play blackjack, this means you are able to double your bet once you have received your two initial cards. You can then get only one card on your hand. Note that most casinos allow players to double down any two cards (DOA) but some casinos will limit the doubling to hands totalling 10 or 11. DOA is an advantageous rule to the players. To notify that you want to double down, you place an additional bet following your original bet as long as it meets the table minimum. But this seems foolish, you should only double in advantageous situations and doubling for the maximum is to your advantage.
In case you are dealt two cards that have the same rank (a pair), you are allowed to split them to two separate hands. You then have to make an extra bet that is equal to your initial bet. To notify the dealer that you want to split, you put your second bet next after your first one in the betting circle. Note that you should never put this bet at the top of the initial bet.
You should not separate the cards because the dealer will do that. You will then play a hand at a time. You will be offered a second card that will go with the initial split card and you will decide whether to hit or stand. After playing out this hand and you stand, you will then move to the next split card then the process shall be repeated.
In case up card of the dealer is an ace, he will offer an insurance. You will not be actually insuring a hand. It is a side bet that you make while wagering half of your initial bet in which the dealer has a 10 in the hole. If you decide to make this bet, and the dealer has the 10, you will be paid 2 to 1. In this case, you lose your initial bet but win in the insurance bet. In case you have a blackjack while the dealer owns an ace, you may be asked if you wish for even money for the blackjack instead of getting a 3 to 2. In case you decline the even money, you get a push in case the dealer has a blackjack.
In some casinos, you might be allowed to surrender your hand then give up half of your bet on the first to cards after a dealer checks for the blackjack. This is referred to as late surrender. This option gives you an advantage if you play it the right way.
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