How to Play Blackjack


Blackjack is one of the most popular casino card games. It is played between a dealer and a player, with all bets placed against the house. Players aim to have a higher hand value than the dealer without going over 21. The game is usually played with one or more standard 52-card decks. Cards two through ten are worth their face value, while aces can be worth either 1 or 11. Suits do not count in a hand. The rules of the game vary slightly between casinos, but most offer similar gameplay.

To start a round, players place a bet in the betting areas on the table. The minimum and maximum bets are posted on the table. After all players have placed their bets, the dealer deals each player two cards, face up. Players then decide whether they want to hit (receive additional cards) or stand (keep their current hand). If a player’s first two cards add up to 21 or a pair of aces, they win immediately. This is known as a ‘blackjack’ and is considered the best possible hand in blackjack.

The dealer will then draw additional cards to make a hand. If the dealer’s up card is a 10, they can take a bet called insurance, which pays out 2-1 if the player has blackjack. This is a good option if you have a strong hand and the dealer has a weak one.

If the dealer has a 10 and you have a blackjack, it is a tie. If you have a 20 and the dealer has a 20, it is also a tie. If the dealer has a 21, you lose your bet and the dealer wins.

Some games allow you to split a pair of matching cards, receiving a second card for each. If the new cards have the same rank, you can play them separately. Other games allow you to double down, which means increasing your original bet by as much as 2 times (though this can be limited depending on the rules of the game).

Once all players have acted, the dealer checks their own card with a special viewing window in the table. If they have a ten underneath, they get a blackjack and pay out any insurance bets. Otherwise, they continue the game like normal.

If the dealer has a blackjack, all remaining players who did not bust win their bets back. If no player has a better hand than the dealer, the players who did not bust win their bets returned and the dealers bet is swept. However, if the dealer has a blackjack, they will not return any of the player’s bets and the players who did not have blackjack will lose their bets. Blackjack is fundamentally a two-person game, and players should always keep this in mind. If they lose sight of this fact, their strategy will suffer. They may be tempted to try to beat the other players at the table, but this is not an effective strategy in blackjack.