Understanding the Blackjack rules
The Blackjack concept:
The concept of the game of blackjack is that you need to have a hand with a total of 21 or closer, higher than the dealer’s without going over the said value. You do not need to get concerned about the other players. Each player aims to beat the dealer. The rules of the game for the dealer are very precise and strict so they make no decisions as to the outcome of the game. That means even if the dealer sees your hand, or other players, there is no worry. In a shoe game, your cards will actually be dealt facing up. If you are just starting out, it would be best to ask the dealer and other players questions and show your face up cards.
The card values in blackjack are:
• The Ace has double value, changing either from 1 to 11.
• The cards 2 to 9 are valued as their corresponding numbers.
• The number 10 and the face cards have the value of 10.
The suits do not have a bearing in this game. The value of the hand is calculated by adding the points from each hand. If you have a hand that has a 10 and ace, the value of the hand can be either 11 or 21. That is the great advantage of having an ace. It can adapt depending on your needs to prevent busting or going over the value of 21. For example, you have an ace and 6. That could be calculated as 17 with ace valued as 11. Say you want a hit, and you get a 3. That means you are up to 20. However, had you got a card with a higher value, you could use the ace to revert back to 1 and prevent busting. If you have a hand that has an ace, it is known as the soft hand. If you have a hand that does not have an ace or the ace can only be counted as a 1, then the hand is called hard.
Once the bets are made by the players the dealer will start dealing the cards to the participants. The first card dealt out will be given to the player on the left of the dealer and so on. Depending on the blackjack version that you are playing, the dealer will deal one of the cards facing up. In some shoe games, the cards of the players are dealt facing up and that means the players are not allowed to touch them. If you wish to get started with blackjack, it would be best to start with a game where you do not need to handle the cards. In some games where you can hold the cards, the cards are facing down when dealt. Now, there are some additional points that you need to know in the game of Blackjack.
• You can only hold the cards with one hand. If you are a poker player, this rule of holding the cards with one hand takes some time to get used to. You do not actually have to arrange the cards.
• The cards should not leave the top of the table.
• The cards that the dealer has dealt after the first deal are left on the table and should not be mixed with the original cards.
Once the deal is done, the game starts from the left of the dealer. Every player will be given the chance to improve the hand. Once the player is satisfied, the dealer moves to the next player and so on till he reaches the last player. After everyone has their cards fixed, the dealer then will complete the hand.
There is an exception, in some casinos, usually in Europe, they only give the dealer one face up card till the players are done with their hands. The dealer will then deal a second card and this will finish the dealer´s hand. This is the no hole card rule in Europe. This can alter the strategy of the player if the dealer hits a blackjack. In some casinos, they will deal only a card first to the dealer and will refund the splits and double downs if the dealer actually has a blackjack. It does not really affect the overall strategy for the player.
The dealer’s hand
There is a specific way for the dealer to play his hand he can´t play it any other way. There are a couple of variations to the rules that can help in determining the total the dealer must draw. In a casino, check the top of the table of the gaming area for printed rules.
The dealer will stand on 17. This means that the dealer must keep on getting cards until reaching 17. The ace in the dealer’s hand is only counted as 11. If the dealer has an Ace and 8, that would mean 19 and the dealer will opt not to take anymore cards. On a 17, the dealer will stand. On a 16, the dealer hits, i.e. takes more cards.
In some casinos, the dealer hits on a soft 17. The Ace 6, Ace 5 Ace or Ace 2 4 can mean a soft 17. If this happens, he will stand on 18, a hard 17 or better. The house edge that is against the players is increased when this rule is used. Whether or not the dealer must hit on a soft 17 differs from casino to casino. You might even find blackjack tables with different rules within the same casino.
A blackjack is also known as natural and is the sum of the first two cards totaling to 21. The blackjack can be an ace and a card valued at 10. If the aces are split, and you get a 10, that is not a blackjack but just a score of 21. This is a very important aspect since an actual blackjack means 3:2 payout. If the dealer also has a blackjack, the result is a tie or a push.