BlackJack Rules and Gameplay

Perhaps the most well known table game in the world, Blackjack (or 21 as it’s sometimes called) is also one of the easiest to play.

Flash Game Instructions: Choose a chip amount on the bottom right, then click to add that bet to a betting circle then follow the on-screen prompts. You can play as many seats as you wish.

On top of being simple to understand and play, the sheer amount of player involvement and decisions gives the player far more control over the outcome of each hand than other casino games.

Although there can be slight changes in rules and gameplay depending on where you're playing the game, most casinos use the standard "Vegas" rules detailed below.

Place Your Bets

Before any cards are dealt a player must place their wager in the betting circle. The wager must be within the table minimum and maximum bet amounts.

The Deal

The dealer will deal every player two cards face up, but will keep one of his own two cards face down until all player options have been completed.


Your goal is to end with a higher value hand (calculated by adding up your cards, face cards being worth 10 and Aces being worth 1 or 11) than the dealer, without exceeding a maximum hand value of 21.

You can hit (receive an additional card) as many times as you like, or stay (lock in your hand at its current value). When in a casino you must tap your hand on the table to hit, and wave your hand above your cards to stay.

The Dealer

Once all players have busted (their hand value exceeded 21, forfeiting their bet) or locked in their hands, the dealer reveals his second card.

According to Vegas rules the dealer must:

  • Hit on anything at or below 16.
  • Stand on anything at or above 17.

Get Paid

If the dealer busts, all players with locked-in hands win.

If the dealer stands on a value higher than 16:

  • all players with a higher valued hand win (1:1 on their wager)
  • all players with a lower valued hand lose their wager
  • all players with the same value hand push (have their money returned).

Double Down

There are a couple of special options and scenarios which can arise in Blackjack, one of which is doubling down.

At the time of your first option (choosing to hit or stand for the first time on a newly dealt hand), you can choose to double down instead.

This means you double the size of your bet, and in return receive just one extra card to your hand. Regardless of what card comes and the new value of your hand, your turn is finished after choosing this play.


If you're dealt two cards of identical rank, you can choose to split them.

This means you match the size of your bet, and your two cards are split into two hands. Once you receive a second card for each split card you play both hands as if you had begun the game playing two seats.

NOTE: If you are dealt two aces and you choose to split (you should ALWAYS choose to split aces), you will only receive ONE additional card for each ace in most casinos. This means no matter what the value of each hand is, you are not allowed to hit for any additional cards.


If the first two cards you're dealt add up to 21 (an ace and a card with a value of 10), you immediately win 1.5:1 on your money (as long as the dealer doesn't also have a blackjack. See Insurance for more on this).


If the showing card of the dealer is an ace, the dealer will offer the table the option to buy insurance. If you decline insurance, and the dealer has a blackjack (they will check it immediately), all players lose their bets.

If you choose to you may buy insurance up to half of the original size of your bet. If the dealer has blackjack you will be paid 2:1 on your insurance, but lose your original bet. If the dealer does not have blackjack you will lose the insurance bet, but continue on with your original bet as per usual.

If the dealer does have blackjack at the same time as you having blackjack you will be paid even money on your own blackjack (1:1) rather than the usual 1.5:1.

Basic Strategy

Your goal is to get the highest value hand as possible, without exceeding 21. Also, it's important to remember that your goal isn't to get 21, but to have a better hand than the dealer.

  • You should always hit (or possibly double down) if the value of your two cards is equal to eleven or less.
  • If you hold a 12, you should always hit if the dealer shows anything but a 4, 5 or 6
  • You should always stand at 13 or higher if the dealer is showing a 6, 5, 4, 3 or 2.
  • You should always double down with eleven if the dealer is showing anything but an ace.
  • You should always split aces or eights.
  • You should always split a pair of 9's, 8's or 7's if the dealer is showing a 6, 5, 4, 3 or 2
  • Always stand on 20.

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Canasta 2011-05-18 00:08:32

Does anyone know the rules for a variation of blackjack called stuke (stook)?