Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games. But did you know you can also enjoy it at home? This Blackjack game rules guide explains how it’s played.
Blackjack, also often referred to as 21, is an exciting betting game where players aim to get as close to a certain amount of points in their hands as possible without getting over it.
Key highlights of this Blackjack game rules guide:
- What is Blackjack
- Blackjack Game Rules
- Blackjack Scoring
- Blackjack Game Rules in Pictures
- How to play Blackjack (Video tutorial)
Continue reading and learn how to play Blackjack at home.
What is Blackjack?
In Blackjack, the players use their intuition, concentration, simple math skills, and luck to beat the dealer. It is a straightforward yet unpredictable game played with chips or real money.
Number of Players: 4
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Length of Play: 10 – 30 minutes
Type of Game: Probability-based betting game
Similar to: Pontoon, Twenty-One, In Between
Main Objective: Collect cards with a common value as close to 21 as possible.
Our Take: Blackjack has simple rules but many options to show off your intuition and strategic skills, which makes it one of the world’s most beloved betting games.
What You’ll Need to Play Blackjack
To play Blackjack, you need to have the following:
- Decks: 1
- Number of Cards: 52
- Cards Omitted: Jokers
You will also need a set of casino chips or anything else the players can use for betting.
Blackjack Game Rules
Blackjack is considered the most-played casino game worldwide. Understandably, it has many variations, alternative rules, and different interpretations.
This Blackjack rules guide, however, focuses on simplicity and accessibility so that even a total beginner can enjoy this great game almost instantly.
First, players place their bets on the upcoming round: How much do they believe they can perform better than the dealer?
Place as many chips as you wish in front of you, ensuring they will not mix up with other players’ bets.
Next, the dealer gives everyone (including themselves) one up-facing card.
Then they hand out one more card for each player, but while everyone receives it face-up, the dealer keeps their second card facing down.
How to Play Blackjack
Now take a look at your cards and count their value (see the Scoring section below):
- If your cards are worth exactly 21 points, this is called Blackjack.
- If one of the players has Blackjack, check the dealer’s cards and see if they don’t have Blackjack too.
- If they don’t, the player with Blackjack wins 1.5x the amount of their initial bet, and they’re out of the round.
- The dealer always reveals their cards last.
But let’s take one step back and discuss the range of options each player can take advantage of before officially getting into the gameplay or during the game itself.
Insurance & Surrender
Insurance and Surrender are two options that can save a player from defeat if used smartly,
- Insurance is in the amount of the initial bet and it guarantees returns back to the player if the dealer has Blackjack.
- Surrender is a voluntary resignation in cases when players are confident their hand will lose. This saves half of the player’s bet, the rest goes to the dealer.
Next, starting with the player to the dealer’s left (the gameplay continues clockwise), players try to get their hand asclose to 21 points as possible (without exceeding it).
There are 4 actions players can take to achieve this goal:
- Hit: Say” Hi” or tap the table, meaning you ask for an additional card from the deck. If you exceed 21 through hitting, it’s called a “Bust, ” and you lose your bet.
Hit as many times as you wish until you achieve Blackjack or go Bust.
- Stand: Wave your down-facing palm above the cards in front of you. This ends your turn preserving the cards you’ve has already been dealt.
You can choose to stand after previously hitting or right away.
- Split: If the cards you’ve received form a pair (e.g., two Aces), you can split them into two individual hands.
The dealer gives you two additional cards, completing both your hands. Then, again, you can decide on any of these four actions for each of the hands.
- Double down: Double your initial bet if you dare to. Next, the dealer gives you one more card, after which you must stand.
When a player stands or gets busted, the next player’s turn begins. When each player is out or standing, the dealer finally reveals their down-facing card and may also hit or stand.
When the dealer is done with their action, everyone compares their hands to the dealer’s (see the Scoring section below).
When the round ends, discard all the cards, BUT don’t automatically reshuffle the deck before starting the next round.
You can shuffle the deck of cards only once you’ve used it up completely.
Before diving into the Blackjack scoring, let’s see how the cards in this game are ranked and their value.
Card Rank & Card Value
In Blackjack, the cards have the following value:
- 2 – 10: respective face value
- J, Q, K: 10 points each
- Ace: 11 or 1 – whichever is more advantageous
Evaluating the Bets
Once the dealer reveals their cards and settles on them by standing, each player still in play (i.e., not busted) compares the points in their hands to the dealer’s:
- You lose your entire bet if the dealer is closer to 21 than you.
- If your hand is closer to 21 than the dealer’s, or it’s exactly 21, you get your bet back AND win the same amount on top of that.
- If the dealer busts, each player who didn’t wins an amount equal to their bet.
- If you and the dealer both have 21, it’s a tie known as “Push.”
Blackjack Card Game Rules in Pictures
Each player bets on performing better than the dealer. The dealer deals two up-facing cards to each of them and one down-facing and one up-facing card for themselves.
The players now check their cards. If anyone has Ace+10/J/Q/K right away (Blackjack), they win 1.5x the amount of their bet and go out of the game.
Otherwise, players try to get close to Blackjack continuously. If they’re close enough (like the player on the left), they “stand.” If not, they “hit” another card like the player on the right.
If the cards you’ve received form a pair (e.g., two Jacks), you can also split them into two individual hands. The dealer gives you two additional cards, completing both your hands.
If a player “hits” and exceeds 21 points, they “bust,” losing their bets and going out of the game.
In the end, the dealer reveals their cards. Those who make it through compare their hands with the dealer’s, either winning, losing, or ending in a tie based on who’s closer to 21.
How to Play Blackjack – Video Tutorial
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Blackjack pure luck?
No, Blackjack does not depend purely on luck. While individual rounds can be lost or won based on chance, players can turn their luck around with good decisions in the long run.
What two cards equal 21 in Blackjack?
In Blackjack, Ace and 10, J, Q, or K (worth 11 and 10 points, respectively) equal 21, which is also called Blackjack.
Is Blackjack appropriate for kids?
Casino-style games, including Blackjack, are not generally appropriate for kids because they involve gambling.
However, many people consider playing Blackjack with kids at home without real money involved (no change either) safe and acceptable.
What are the odds of winning Blackjack?
Blackjack has the most favorable odds of all the casino games. On average, each hand has more than a 42% chance of winning and 8% chance of a tie (push).
Other Blackjack Online Resources
- Learn how Quantum Entanglement can help you win Blackjack in this Forbes article
- Find out interesting details on the Blackjack’s history in Britannica
Other Similar Games to Blackjack (Our Guides)
If you enjoy Blackjack, check out our guides to a few other games that involve betting: