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There are blackjack games too, in which making a blackjack pays on players' bet and significantly increases the house edge when compared to standard blackjack games.
Hit: You 'hit' when you want another card. In live games, you tap the table with your finger in case you want another card.
Stand: You 'stand' when you don't want any additional cards. The signal in live games is to wave your hand over your cards. Double Down: When 'doubling down', you double your bet and receive exactly one more card.
After having doubled down, you won't be able to request additional cards. You can only double down with the first two cards so if you've been dealt three cards, you can't double down anymore.
The signal in live games is to place another bet next to your original bet. The name reflects the fact that the hand can't break if you draw another card.
It's "soft". We no longer have the option to count the Ace as 11, because that would go over This hand is now a hard 17, despite having an Ace in it.
Once all the bets are placed, the dealer will deal the cards to the players. He will make two passes around the table starting at his left your right so that the players and the dealer all have two cards each.
The dealer will flip one of his cards over, exposing its value as the "dealer upcard". In games dealt from a shoe, the players' cards will be face-up, and players are not allowed to touch the cards.
If you are just beginning, this is the best kind of game, because you don't have to worry about handling the cards.
Hand-held games are slightly different. In these games, the players' cards are dealt face down, and players pick up the cards.
When handling the cards in a hand-held game, here are a few important things to remember. Once the initial hands are dealt, play proceeds around the table starting at the first seat to the dealer's left, also called "first base".
Each player in turn indicates to the dealer how he wishes to play the hand. All of those choices are explained in the next part of this series.
After all of the players have finished their hands, the dealer will complete his hand, and then pay the winning bets and collect the losing bets.
The dealer will first flip over the "hole card" to reveal his two-card starting hand. The dealer is then required to play his hand in a very specific way, with no choices allowed.
He must draw cards until he has a total of 17 or more. The dealer has no choice in how to play the hand.
He must continue taking cards until his total is at least A slight variation of this rule is discussed below. After flipping over the hole card, the dealer's hand was Ace, 5.
That makes a hand value of 16, so he must draw another card. He drew a 7, making the hand value 13 the Ace can no longer be counted as With a total of 13, he must hit again.
He drew a 6, making the hand total Since that is "17 or more", the dealer stops with a final total of If you draw a card that makes your hand total go over 21, your hand is a bust.
That is an automatic loser. The dealer will immediately collect your bet, and discard your hand. Assuming you did not bust, the dealer will play out his hand at the end.
If he busts by going over 21, all the remaining players win their bets. If his total is higher than yours, you lose the bet, and he will collect your bet and put the chips in his tray.
If your total is higher than his, you win the bet, and he will pay the entire amount you have bet.
After he pays you, you'll have your initial bet plus the amount you won in the circle. So, what happens if you and the dealer tie, with the same exact total?
Nothing at all. A tie is called a "push", and you do not win or lose your bet. Your chips stay in the betting circle where you can leave them for the next hand if you want, or you can add to or remove from them as you wish before the next hand.
A blackjack, or natural, is a total of 21 in your first two cards. A blackjack is therefore an Ace and any ten-valued card, with the additional requirement that these be your first two cards.
If you split a pair of Aces for example, and then draw a ten-valued card on one of the Aces, this is not a blackjack, but rather a total of The distinction is important, because a winning blackjack pays the player at 3 to 2.
A player blackjack beats any dealer total other than blackjack, including a dealer's three or more card If both a player and the dealer have blackjack, the hand is a tie or push.
The dealer will usually pay your winning blackjack bet immediately when it is your turn to play. In the face down games, this means that you should show the blackjack to the dealer at that time.
Some casinos may postpone paying the blackjack until after the hand is over if the dealer has a 10 card up and has not checked for a dealer blackjack.
Other casinos check under both 10 and Ace dealer upcards, and would therefore pay the blackjack immediately. Regardless, when you are dealt a blackjack, turn the cards face up, and smile.
It only happens about once every 21 hands, but it accounts for a lot of the fun of the game. The most common decision a player must make during the game is whether to draw another card to the hand "hit" , or stop at the current total "stand".
You will be required to make hand signals rather than just announcing "hit" or "stand" to the dealer. This is to eliminate any confusion or ambiguity in what you choose, and also for the benefit of the ever-present surveillance cameras.
If you go over 21, or "bust", the dealer will collect your bet and remove your cards from the table immediately. In the face-up shoe game, you indicate that you want another card by tapping the table behind your cards with a finger.
When you decide to stand, just wave your hand in a horizontal motion over your cards. In the face-down game, things are a little different.
You will hold the first two cards with one hand. To let the dealer know that you want to draw another card to your hand, scratch the table with the bottom of your cards lightly.
Watch another player at first to see how this works. The dealer will deal your additional cards on the table in front of your bet.
Leave those cards on the table, but mentally add them to your total hand value. If you go over 21, just toss the two cards in your hand face up on the table.
The dealer will collect your bet and discard your hand. When you decide to stand, tuck the two cards you are holding face-down under the chips in your betting circle.
This can be a bit tricky the first few times. Don't pick up the bet to place the cards underneath.
Remember, once the cards are dealt, you can't touch the chips in the circle. While a count of 17 is a good hand, the player may wish to draw for a higher total.
If the draw creates a bust hand by counting the ace as an 11, the player simply counts the ace as a 1 and continues playing by standing or "hitting" asking the dealer for additional cards, one at a time.
When the dealer has served every player, the dealers face-down card is turned up. If the total is 17 or more, it must stand.
If the total is 16 or under, they must take a card. The dealer must continue to take cards until the total is 17 or more, at which point the dealer must stand.
If the dealer has an ace, and counting it as 11 would bring the total to 17 or more but not over 21 , the dealer must count the ace as 11 and stand.
The dealer's decisions, then, are automatic on all plays, whereas the player always has the option of taking one or more cards.
When a player's turn comes, they can say "Hit" or can signal for a card by scratching the table with a finger or two in a motion toward themselves, or they can wave their hand in the same motion that would say to someone "Come here!
If a player's first two cards are of the same denomination, such as two jacks or two sixes, they may choose to treat them as two separate hands when their turn comes around.
The amount of the original bet then goes on one of the cards, and an equal amount must be placed as a bet on the other card.
The player first plays the hand to their left by standing or hitting one or more times; only then is the hand to the right played.
The two hands are thus treated separately, and the dealer settles with each on its own merits. With a pair of aces, the player is given one card for each ace and may not draw again.
Also, if a ten-card is dealt to one of these aces, the payoff is equal to the bet not one and one-half to one, as with a blackjack at any other time.
Another option open to the player is doubling their bet when the original two cards dealt total 9, 10, or When the player's turn comes, they place a bet equal to the original bet, and the dealer gives the player just one card, which is placed face down and is not turned up until the bets are settled at the end of the hand.
With two fives, the player may split a pair, double down, or just play the hand in the regular way. Note that the dealer does not have the option of splitting or doubling down.
When the dealer's face-up card is an ace, any of the players may make a side bet of up to half the original bet that the dealer's face-down card is a ten-card, and thus a blackjack for the house.
Once all such side bets are placed, the dealer looks at the hole card. If it is a ten-card, it is turned up, and those players who have made the insurance bet win and are paid double the amount of their half-bet - a 2 to 1 payoff.
When a blackjack occurs for the dealer, of course, the hand is over, and the players' main bets are collected - unless a player also has blackjack, in which case it is a stand-off.
Insurance is invariably not a good proposition for the player, unless they are quite sure that there are an unusually high number of ten-cards still left undealt.
A bet once paid and collected is never returned. Thus, one key advantage to the dealer is that the player goes first. If the player goes bust, they have already lost their wager, even if the dealer goes bust as well.
Why do this? Another popular play that could double your potential winnings—and losses—on a particular hand is the double down.
The double down allows you to double your wager after the initial bet, but you only get one more card. Many skilled players use a strict system based on statistical probability to determine the ideal times to double down.
As with splitting cards, that assessment includes what the dealer is showing off the deal, plus other cards that might already have gone into play.
The number of decks used also affects the ideal strategy for playing 21 and considering when to double down on your bet.
Many casinos play by the traditional 21 rules that were once popular on the Las Vegas Strip, which is traditionally called American 21 Or Vegas Rules.
These games are more common online and at small casinos that focus on locals. Yet, the game has many other versions with their own subtle rules changes.
This rule is not favorable to the player because doubling down with a soft is favorable in a lot of situations when playing Most countries outside the U.
That leaves an extra card in the deck for the players to get, and it could be an Ace at just the right time. They are not offered at all tables and are more common online than offline.
The only side bet that is standard at just about all tables is insurance. There are a very wide variety of blackjack side bets.
Side wagers almost universally have a much higher house edge than the game of blackjack itself and are usually not regarded as a good bet for the average player.
They can be put to use by skilled card counters in certain situations, however. At a live casino , the table limits are usually posted prominently on a sign at the table.
The rules may be printed on the table, or you may have to ask the dealer about them. At brick and mortar, policy varies from property to property, but it is very common for casinos to allow players to use strategy cards.
Some properties may not want it placed on the table, however as part of a general policy of not allowing anything on the table.
Some may also ask players to put it away if other players feel it is slowing down the game too much. However, they also tend to make up for this with very poor payout rates for natural blackjacks, and also may give the dealer the win with certain types of pushes.
By showing you one card, the dealer allows you to make an educated estimate of the eventual outcome and play your cards accordingly.
One simple way to look at it is to play as if the dealer's facedown card is a Since value cards 10, jack, queen, king comprise four of the 13 denominations in the deck, that is the single most likely value of any unseen card.
Therefore, if you have 16 and the dealer's up-card is a 7, you are guessing that the most likely dealer total is The dealer would stand on 17 to beat your 16; therefore, you must hit the 16 to have the best chance to win.
On the other hand, if you have 16 and the dealer's up-card is a 6, your assumption would be that his total is 16, making the dealer more likely than not to bust on the next card.
Therefore, you stand on 16 versus 6. That's an oversimplification, of course, but very close to the way the percentages work out when the effect of multiple-card draws are taken into account.
The most common decision a player must make is whether to hit or stand on a hard total -- a hand in which there is no ace being used as an Basic strategy begins with the proper plays for each hard total faced by the player.
You can refer to this simple chart:. Many players seem to hit the wall at 16 and stand regardless of the dealer's up-card.
But that 16 is a loser unless the dealer busts, and the dealer will make 17 or better nearly 80 percent of the time with a 7 or higher showing.
The risk of busting by hitting 16 is outweighed by the likelihood you'll lose if you stand. Basic strategy for hard totals is straightforward enough, but when it comes to soft totals many players become confused.
They seem lost, like the player aboard a riverboat in Joliet, Illinois, who wanted to stand on ace-5 --a soft against a dealer's 6. The dealer asked if he was sure, and another player piped in, "You can't HURT that hand," so the player finally signaled for a hit.
He drew a 5 to total 21 and was all grins. In a facedown game, no friendly advice is available. Once, at a downtown Las Vegas casino, the dealer busted, meaning all players who hadn't busted won.
One player turned up two aces and a three. Though it worked out that time, five or 15 never wins without the dealer busting, and the player could have drawn at least one more card without busting.
That's too big an edge to give away. Nothing you could draw could hurt a soft 16, or a soft 15, or many other soft totals. Just as with hard totals, guesswork is unnecessary.
A basic strategy tells you to what to do with soft hands. The hand of ace and 6 is the most misplayed hand in blackjack.
People who understand that the dealer always stands on 17 and that the player stands on hard 17 and above seem to think 17 is a good hand, but the dealer must bust for 17 to win.
If the dealer does not bust, the best 17 can do is tie. By hitting soft 17, you have a chance to improve it by drawing ace, 2, 3, or 4, or leave it the same with jack-queen-king.
That's eight of 13 cards that either improve the hand or leave it no worse. And even if the draw is 5, 6, 7, 8, or 9, you have another chance to draw if the dealer shows 7 or better, and you're still in position to win if the dealer busts while showing 2 through 6, and all you've given up is a chance to tie a You can refer to this chart for soft-hand strategies:.
Standing on soft 18 will lose the player money in the long run when the dealer shows 9, 10, or ace. When the dealer shows 3 through 6, the chances of the dealer busting are strong enough to make doubling down the best play here.
The final category of hands consists of those in which the first two cards match. Then the player must decide whether or not to split the pair into two hands.
You can refer to this chart for pair splitting advice:. Many casinos allow the player to double down after splitting pairs. This is a good rule for players -- in fact, any rule that allows a player an option is a good one if the player knows when to take advantage of the option.
If you split 8s against a 6, for example, and a 3 is dealt to your first 8, you now are playing this hand as an 11, and it is to your advantage to double down if the house allows it.
You can find many single-deck games in Nevada, and they pop up occasionally in other parts of the country. You will need a few variations for single-deck blackjack.
Basic strategy is much the same as in the multiple-deck game, with a few twists, given below:. If you have 9: The difference comes when the dealer shows a 2.
In multiple-deck you hit; in single-deck, double down. If you are holding ace, 8: As good as that 19 looks, it is to the player's advantage to double down against a 6.
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