The Basics of Blackjack


Blackjack is a card game in which the objective is to beat the dealer by getting closer to 21 than they are. It is played on a semi-circular table with seats for up to seven players (or “spots”). Players make their bets by placing chips in the betting circle. A dealer stands behind the table and chip rack and interacts with the players to create an atmosphere at the table. The dealer also enforces the rules of the game.

The game began in 17th and 18th century Europe as a combination of several different card games, and later came to America. Today, it’s one of the most popular casino table games in the world.

After each player has placed their bets, the dealer flips over two cards. The first is called the dealer’s up card, and the second is known as the dealer’s hole card. If the dealer has a blackjack, the game ends and all players lose their bets. If the dealer has an ace showing, the players have the option to place an insurance bet of up to half of their original bet. The dealer will then check the hole card to see if it is a ten, and if it is, they pay off the insurance bets (2 to 1) and continue playing the hand as usual.

If a player has a higher value than the dealer and doesn’t go over 21, they win the hand. If they have a Blackjack, they are paid 6 to 5. Ties are a push and the player’s bet remains on the table.

In addition to the standard game of blackjack, some casinos offer variations on the game. For example, some have reduced the payout for blackjack to only 6 to 5, increasing the house edge and making it more difficult for counters to win.

There are a variety of side bets available in blackjack, most of which require the player to make a wager at the same time they place their main bet. These side bets include doubling down, splitting pairs of cards, placing bets on the dealer having a blackjack, and betting on whether or not the dealer will bust.

Novices should avoid these side bets, as they are not beneficial to the player. Many of them have a high house edge and can easily break a player’s bankroll. In addition, they can distract the player and lead to a loss of concentration and focus.

There are a few basic rules of blackjack that all players should be familiar with before they play. Face cards are worth 10, and numbered cards are worth their printed values. Aces are worth 1 unless they would produce a point total in excess of 21, in which case they count as 11. In addition to the standard rules, there are some important exceptions and nuances to the game that novices should be aware of.