The game of blackjack, which combines skill, strategy and chance, has long been the card game of choice for intellectuals, mathematicians and those with a real interest in beating the house. In the early days of the game, smart, disciplined players were able to do just that, which caused casino managers to panic and eventually mellow out as they realized that some players are just too stupid or immature to be good blackjack players.
The objective of blackjack is to have a hand value that is closer to 21 than the dealer’s without going bust. The player competes only against the dealer, and other players at the table are of no concern to the player. The player must make a decision to stand, hit, split, or double down based on the current value of their cards and those of the dealer.
In a standard blackjack game, the dealer gives each player two cards and then deals himself one card face up and one card face down. After all players have made their decisions, the dealer must hit on hands with 16 or less and stand on all hands with 17 through 21. The dealer must also play his or her hand, which may tie with a player’s or beat it with a better hand. The dealer’s unbusted hand is paid at odds of 1 to 1, while a player’s blackjack, or “natural,” wins and is paid at 3 to 2.
If the player holds a blackjack and the dealer shows an ace, the dealer will ask the player if they want even money. This is an attempt to trick the player into making an insurance wager, and it is a bad idea. If the dealer has a ten underneath, they will win the blackjack hand and all insurance wagers, and everyone else’s original bet will lose.
In some casinos, you will be able to buy blackjack chips with cash that you place on the table in front of the dealer. These chips will then be converted by the dealer into the actual casino chips that you use to make your bets. In other casinos, you will be required to wait until the dealer is finished dealing the current hand before placing your bets.
When a player is holding a blackjack and the dealer has an ace showing, they can indicate to the dealer that they would like another card by either making a beckoning motion with their hand or by tapping their hand on the table behind the cards lightly. The dealer will then check the dealer’s hole card, and if it has a ten underneath, they will pay off all players’ blackjack bets at odds of 1 to 1. If the dealer doesn’t have a ten, they will return everyone’s original bets. Even money isn’t actually even money, but it is a good deal when you play blackjack.