How Blackjack Works

Blackjack Basics

The rules of blackjack are quite simple, which is a major reason for the game's enduring popularity. The object is to get a hand with a value as close to 21 as possible without going over. A hand that goes over 21 is a bust. The players at a blackjack table do not play against each other; they play against the dealer. Each player only has to beat the dealer's hand.

In blackjack, the suits have no meaning. Number cards have a value equal to their number, while all the picture cards (Jacks, Queens, and Kings) are worth 10. Aces can be worth 11 or one, whichever is more beneficial to the person holding the hand. For example, a hand with an Ace and an Eight is worth 19 (the Ace is valued at 11, known as a soft Ace). A hand with an Ace, a Four, and a Nine is worth 14 (the Ace is valued at one, known as a hard Ace, because if it were valued at 11 the hand would bust).

A blackjack table is a semi-circle. The dealer stands at the center of the straight side, and the players sit around the arc of the circle.

Casino tables have betting limits, usually posted as a minimum and maximum bet. To join a game, a player simply sits down at an open seat and places a bet in the small marked area on the table directly in front of him or her.

Now let's see what happens after the bets are placed on the table and the dealing begins.