There are many basic strategies for blackjack, depending
on the casino's rules and the number of decks used. The basic
strategy outlined here is based on the four-deck game as
played in Las Vegas. The object of the game is to beat the
dealer with a total equal to or less than 21, without going
over 21 or bust.
Rules of the Game
Before any cards are dealt, the player must wager. He does
this by placing his bet in the designated space in front
of his table position. The dealer then deals two cards to
each of the players, and two to himself (one of the dealer's
cards is dealt face up and one is dealt facing down). Face
cards (kings, queens and jacks) count as 10, ace counts as
one or 11 (as the player chooses) and all other cards are
counted at their face value.
If the player's first two cards are an ace and a 10 or face
card, he wins. However, if the dealer also has a blackjack,
it is a standoff, as are all ties or pushes. A winning blackjack
pays the player 3 to 2.
HIT or STAND
Hit means to draw another card (which the player signifies
by scraping the table with his cards or a similar hand motion).
Stand means no more cards (which the player signals by placing
his cards under his wager or moving his hand in a horizontal
direction. If the player hits and busts (goes over 21), he
immediately turns his cards over and his wager is lost.
The player is allowed to double the bet on his first two
cards and draw one additional card only to improve his hand.
If the first two cards a player is dealt are a pair, he may
split them into two separate hands, bet the same amount on
each and then play them separately. Aces receive only one
additional card. After splitting, A-10 counts as 21 and not
If the dealer's up card is an ace, the player may take insurance,
a bet not exceeding one-half his original bet. If the dealer's
down card is a 10 or any face card, the player wins 2 to
1. Any other card means a win for the dealer.
Where permitted, a player may give up his first two cards
and lose only one-half his original bet.
The dealer must draw on 16 and stand on 17. In some casinos,
the dealer is required to draw on soft 17.
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