Blackjack Rules and Strategy

Blackjack Rules and Strategy

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Although there are slight variations on the casino rules, Blackjack is a fairly simple game to master. Blackjack strategy is also not complicated and is based on probability theory. You have to make an effort to remember the best approach depending on your cards and the dealer.

Each player and the dealer are dealt two cards. The game aims to get as close as possible to the number 21 by combining the values of your cards without going over. An ace can be counted as an 11 or a one, and jacks, queens, and kings count as 10s. The players compete against the dealer. If either the player or the dealer exceeds 21, they are disqualified and whoever remains wins automatically, as long as they are still under or equal to 21.

The players’ cards are visible, but only one of the dealers is visible. This is what gives the house its advantage. Upon seeing the two cards, the player must decide whether to “Stick” or “Twist. Stick means that the player has decided not to risk adding another unknown card to his total and to take his chances of being closest to 21 with what he has. If the player Twists, the dealer will give him an additional card. The player and the dealer can choose to Twist as often as possible. Until you pass 21, you ‘Bust’ and lose the game.

A ‘Blackjack’ is when you are dealt an ace and ten with your first two cards, and you automatically win, without the dealer also getting a chance to reach 21. Depending on the casino rules, the player usually wins 1.5 of the original bet if a Blackjack comes up.

‘Double’ is a call the player can make and means that the initial bet is doubled and one more card is dealt. When a player has two cards of the same value, he can also call a ‘Split.’ This splits the hand into two, and two hands are played simultaneously. This also doubles the bet because the player must match the initial bet for the split hand. Doubling and splitting can only be done as an initial move by the player or as the initial move on a new split hand.

Blackjack theory is a table of the possible combinations between the player’s hand and the dealer’s one card that can be seen. Based on probability theory, it recommends whether Sticking or Twisting is statistically advisable in each possible scenario. Although the odds of winning are still in the casino’s favor no matter what the player does, memorizing the strategy table will certainly help.

Stephen Hill
Stephen Hill


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