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Blackjack cards on table

In the midst of all the casino games available to a player, Blackjack or ‘21’, is definitely the favorite.  Blackjack game is played only between the player, the dealer and a deck of 52 cards. The aim of the game is to reach a card total of 21 or Vingt-et-un,as it is known by the FrenchBlackjack is a game of strategy and if played with a mathematical mind, can prove to be very rewarding indeed. The dealer will deal two cards to each player (as there can be up to 7 players seated at a table) and players have the option of drawing cards, in order to bring their hand to a 21, or as close as possible.

This brief guide can offer the player an approach to a game that is exceptionally diverse and should assist the player in any questions he/she might have about Blackjack.

Basic Rules & Play Flow

The card values are as follows: the number cards have the value of the number on the cards, the picture cards - Jack, Queen and King have a 10 value and the Ace can be either an 11 or 1 – depending on whether the players hand needs an 11 or a 1 to win.

Hand Signals
Hit Signal
Above: The signal to "Hit" - ie, take another card.

Stand signal
Above: The signal to "Stand" - ie, take no more cards.

At the start of play, three players will deposit their bets into a betting box on the table. Players can bet in different boxes on one table, but cannot place multiple bets in a synonymous box or play at different tables at the same time.

Each box is dealt two respective cards, which are placed face up for the players to see. The dealer’s first card is also dealt face up and immediately a second card is dealt to the dealer, face down – the dealer will glance at the card, without the players being aware of its value, unless it makes the dealers hand a Blackjack. In this circumstance, the dealer will say aloud, Blackjack!

To win money, the player’s goal is to produce a hand of cards that will have a point total higher than the dealer’s hand, without exceeding 21. If the number 21 is exceeded, it’s called a bust and you lose the round. In a bust, all the bets are immediately taken away. When the dealer busts, all the remaining players hands win. If the dealer doesn’t bust then all the remaining hands, whose point total is higher than the dealer’s, will win and the hands that are lower will lose.

Each player has a turn in which they must either hit (take another card from the dealer), stand (skip your turn to take a card), double down (double your bet, take one card and finish), split (if player has two of the same cards, which can be split to make two separate hands)or surrender (give up half your bet to the house and retire). The dealer can’t split, double or surrender, so when all the betting boxes have completed their play, the dealer’s hand is then played out by receiving cards until the hand busts or at least achieves a value of 17 or higher.

Hand signals are crucial to show the dealer when you would like to hit, stand, double or split:

  • Hit – scrape the cards in your hand, on the table face up. Then tap the table and wave your hand toward your body.
  • Stand – slide the cards under the chips, faced upwards and wave your hand parallel to the table.
  • Double Down – place extra chips next to the original bet and point with one finger at the extra chips.
  • Split – put more chips next to the original bet, but outside the betting box and point with two fingers in a V formation.
  • Surrender – no hand signal is require in this move.

push or standoff is when there is a tie in the scores and the original bets are then returned to each player. A Blackjack beats any hand, except another Blackjack.  If there are two players who both have a Blackjack, they are paid out 1:1. A single winning Blackjack is paid out 3:2 (R3 for every R2 bet; say you bet R100 - you will receive a R150 payout).

Want to learn more about blackjack? Take the next step and visit our "Blackjack Strategies Page"