18 July 2010
This is the document that will teach a newbie the basics of Blackjack from the general look of the table, what to expect, hand gestures, terminologies, and other things that a Pro knows.
The Blackjack Table
The “21” or the blackjack table is set up with 7 wagering spots for a casino game. Though, you may find some other game houses, which provide only five spots for betting.
The Dealer and the Cards
He or She is the one who stands behind the table and acts for the house. The dealer is in charge of shuffling and distributing the cards for each and every round. After shuffling the card, a player will be asked by the dealer to “cut” the deck using a cut card. The dealer will then divide the deck and place the cards into a card box called a “shoe” if the dealer has two or more decks to deal. The first card will be burned or taken out of the deck. After everyone has placed their bets at proper amounts, the dealer will distribute the cards to the players. Card distribution begins with the player positioned on the farthest left of the dealer and then proceeds until everyone on the table has two cards each. The last card to be drawn out of the deck is the “hole card”, the face down card of the dealer.
After each player receives two cards, the dealer will start acting on every hand again starting on the farthest person on his/her left. You will know when it is your turn when the dealer points to your cards.
Handling the Cards
If the players are allowed to touch the cards, this time the cards are distributed face down, use only one hand to pick up the cards. The cards must never be removed from the table or hide them from the view of the dealer. The deck of cards is the dealer’s responsibility and he or she must make sure that the cards are not tampered or replaced.
In some casinos, the cards are not allowed to be touched by the players, hence distributed face up. Only the dealer can handle the chips and the cards for security purposes and keeping fairness at all times.
Objective of the Game
Beat the dealer with your card. Anyone who gets a total value point of 21 (or closes to it) is the winner. The number 21 is reached by summing up the values of the cards. The royalties (Jack, Queen, and King) and the tens are valued at ten points, the Aces can be valued as 1 or 11 (player’s discretion), and the other remaining cards have values equal to their true numerical values.
Soft Hand vs. Hard hand
A hand with an Ace valued at 11 is a “soft hand”. All other cases belong to the “hard” hand family.
To Hit or To Stand
A player may ask for another card, “hit”, by scratching the table with his/her hand. There are security cameras inside the casinos and the hand signals are made for those who are monitoring the tables. A verbal call will not be recognized by the dealer.
A “stand” can be made by a palm down waving of the hand. This means you don’t want to take any more cards. Do this anytime you don’t want to add cards anymore.
When cards are allowed to be handled, make a hit by scratching the edge of the cards on the table. Make a stand by sliding your cards under the chips inside the betting area.
The Rules of the Dealer
The dealer plays by a very simple rule: take a card for a hand with less than 16 points, stand for a hand with 17 or more total points. This strategy is fixed and the players must always remember this rule because this is how they can strategize their moves.
Double Down and Splitting
If a player wants to increase his/her bet in the middle of the hand, he/she can ask for a double down. This is one of the nicest things in Blackjack because there are times when players feel that their hand is a really good one and they should have increased their bets to win more. This is the answer to their prayers. However, a double down is also a risky call because upon increasing the original bet, the player agrees to receive another hand.
Splitting is another way of increasing the bet in the middle of the hand. When the two original cards are sometimes dealt in pairs, the player can split it into two and play separate hands.
Those are just some rules of the game. There are still much to learn to be a successful Blackjack player.