The hand with the highest total wins as long as it doesn’t exceed 21; a hand with a higher total than 21 is said to bust or have too many. Cards 2 through 10 are worth their face value, and face cards (jack, queen, king) are all worth 10. An ace’s value is 11 unless this would cause the player to bust, in which case it is worth 1. A hand in which an ace’s value is counted as 11 is called a soft hand, because it cannot be busted if the player draws another card.
Each player’s goal is to beat the dealer by having the higher, unbusted hand. Note that if the player busts they lose, even if the dealer also busts. If both the player and the dealer have the same point value, it is called a “push”, and neither player nor dealer wins the hand. Each player has an independent game with the dealer, so it is possible for the dealer to lose to some players but still beat other players in the same round.
Example of a Blackjack game. The top half of the picture shows the beginning of the round, with bets placed and an initial two cards for each player. The bottom half shows the end of the round, with the associated losses or payoffs.The minimum/maximum bet is printed on a sign on the table and varies from casino to casino and table to table. After initial bets are placed, the dealer deals the cards, either from one or two hand-held decks of cards, known as a “pitch” game, or more commonly from a shoe containing four or more decks. The dealer gives two cards to each player including himself. One of the dealer’s two cards is face-up so all the players can see it, and the other is face down. The face-down card is known as the “hole card”. In European blackjack, the hole card is not actually dealt until the players all play their hands. The cards are dealt face up from a shoe, or face down if it is a pitch game.
In American blackjack, if the dealer’s face-up card is an ace or a ten-value, the dealer checks their hole card to see if they have a blackjack. This check occurs before any of the players play, but after they have been offered insurance (if the face-up card is an ace). If the dealer has blackjack, all players lose their initial bets, except players who also have blackjack, who push.
A two-card hand of 21 (an ace plus a ten-value card) is called a “blackjack” or a “natural”, and is an automatic winner (unless the dealer has blackjack as well, in which case the hand is a push). A player with a natural is usually paid 3:2 on his bet. Some casinos pay only 6:5 on blackjacks; although this reduced payout has generally been restricted to single-deck games.
When playing online a big advantage is claiming a sign up bonus. You can claim thousands in bonus dollars and instantly double or triple your starting bankroll. You do want to look at the terms and conditions when claiming a blackjack bonus. Most bonuses will come with a rollover requirement meaning you must make a certain number of bets before being able to cash out the bonus. A 30x’s rollover for example means you must bet the amount of your bonus 30x’s before cashing out. So if you claimed a $100 bonus you will need to bet $3000. These rollover requirements vary from casino to casino so you want to find the lowest or easiest bonus to earn.
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