Black Jack is the most popular casino game of all. Black Jacks popularity is so high because if played right the odds are much higher than in any other game. The rules are slightly different from area to area and from casino to casino. This means you have to make sure you inform yourself about the exact rules for black jack and guidelines each casino has, before you start gambling. In Black Jack you do not play against any other players – only against the dealer. The main objective in Black Jack is to get a hand higher than the dealers without going over 21.
The game starts with every player making their opening bets. Make sure to read the sign next to the dealer which indicates the minimum and maximum table limit. Most online casinos have table limits from as low as $1 up to $100. After all the players placed their bets the dealer will start dealing the cards. Starting with the player to his left he gives every player one card, face down, including himself. This is the dealers down card. Then he deals a second round of cards, face down but this time the card he deals himself will be face up. This is the dealers up card. You now can look at both of your cards and find your total by simply adding the values of your cards.
The values of the cards in Black Jack from two to ten are at face value. Jacks, Queens and Kings count ten and the Ace counts eleven or one. The Ace always counts eleven except if your total exceeds 21 – then the value of the Ace is reduced to one. A hand with one Ace having the value of eleven is called a soft hand and a hand with all Aces having the value of one is called a hard hand. In Black Jack for instance, if you get an 8 and Ace dealt it would be a soft 19 while an 8, 10 and Ace would be a hard 19. Getting a start total of 21 is called a Black Jack and you have to show your hand immediately. If the dealers up card is an Ace he checks for a dealer black jack first and then continues the game. Exceeding a total of 21, and already counting all the aces you have in your hand as one, means you are bust and lose your bet
By turn each player will then have to make one of the following five decisions.
- Hit = If you are not satisfied with your current total you can ask the dealer to hit you which means he deals you another card in addition to your two. You are hit until you are satisfied with your total, or until you bust.
- Stand = You stand if you do not want any more cards.
- Double = If you think you will win without getting more than one card you double. You have to add an amount equal to your original wager and receive only one card. If your total is higher than the dealers after receiving the card you win.
- Split = If your starting hand contains two cards of the same type (i.e. two 9s) you can split them up into two new hands. You have to add an equal amount to your wager and get two more cards dealt forming two separate new starting hands.
- Insurance = Insurance is offered to the players if the dealers up card is an Ace, to protect against a dealers Black Jack. You will have to pay half of your original bet and will get 2:1 odds when the dealer has a Black Jack. Unless you also have a black jack your original bet is lost.
- Surrender = This decision is quite rare and not offered is most casinos. After you see your starting hand and the dealers up card and you do not think you can win, you have to give your cards back to the dealer immediately. If you surrender you will only lose half of your original bet. You cannot surrender if the dealer has a Black Jack.
After all the players have made their decision the dealer will then play his hand. The playing of the dealers hand must follow certain rules. He must hit on every total less than 17 or otherwise stand. Some casinos even let the dealer hit when he has a soft 17. The rules which the dealer has to follow will be written clearly on the Black Jack table, so there will be no confusion.
You win if either the dealer busts or has a total less than yours. The odds are 1:1. If the total is the same it is a draw or a push and your original wager is returned to you. A black jack beats an ordinary 21 and is paid 3:2 odds.