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How to Play Blackjack

Terminology

In Blackjack there are many colorful terms used throughout the course of the game. It is helpful to understand the more common terms in order to follow the progress of the game.

Bust or Broke:
to go over 21.

First Base:
the first player to receive cards from the dealer.

Hit:
to take an additional card.

Hole Card:
the face-down card in the dealer’s hand.

Push:
when the player’s hand totals the same as the dealer’s hand, you neither win or lose.

Scratch:
the motion made by the player indicating that he wants to take a hit.

Soft Hand:
a hand wherein an Ace is counted as an 11 (i.e. an Ace and a 6 = Soft 17)

Stand:
to decline a hit by sliding cards under bet.

Stiff:
a hand that will bust if hit by a face-card or 10.

Third Base:
the last player to receive cards from the dealer.

The Object of The Game

The object of the game is to draw cards that total as close as possible to 21 without exceeding it. The dealer begins by dealing two cards facedown to each player and two cards to himself, one card facedown and one card face-up. Any Jack, Queen, or King will have a value of 10. All Aces count as 1 or 11. All other cards will have their face value. If your hand totals more than 21, turn your cards face-up immediately as you have automatically lost. If your hand is closer to 21 than the dealer’s hand, you have won; if it is less, you have lost. If it is the same, you have “pushed.” If your first two cards total 21 (any Ace with a face card or 10), you have a Blackjack and should turn them face-up immediately. You will be paid at the rate of three-to-two or one-and-a-half-to-one unless the dealer has a Blackjack, in which case you will have a “push.”

Multiple Deck “21”
After dealing the cards to each player and himself, the dealer then starts with the first player on his left to see if that player wishes additional cards. Players DO NOT touch their cards, which are dealt face up next to their respective bets. If the player wants a hit, he makes a scratching motion towards himself with his hand. If the player feels that his hand is closer to 21 than the dealer’s and wants to stand, he makes a waving motion over his cards. The dealer follows this procedure with the next player to the right until all players are satisfied or have gone “broke.” The dealer then exposes his down card and stands or draws more cards. The dealer must draw to any count up to and including 16 and must stand on 17, except a Soft 17. A Soft 17 is any combination of cards totaling 6 with an Ace that can be counted as 11 (i.e. Ace, 6; Ace, 4, 2).

Doubling Down:
A player may elect to increase his bet by any amount up to his original wager. A player may only double down on his two original cards, regardless of their value. The dealer will then give him one additional card face-up.

Splitting Pairs:
If the player’s first two cards are a pair (any two cards of the same value), he may elect to split them by matching his original wager. Split Aces get one card each facedown. All other splits may be hit as often as necessary.

Insurance:
In the event the dealer’s exposed card is an Ace, he will offer “insurance” to all the players before checking his hole card. Insurance pays at the rate of two-to-one, and the player may wager any amount up to one-half of his original bet.

Single Deck “21”
Single Deck 21 rules differ from Multiple Deck 21 as follows:

The Deal:
Players may pick up their cards, which are both dealt facedown. If he wants a “hit” he indicates so by scratching his cards on the tabletop by his bet. If he wants to “stand”, he simply slides his cards under his bet.

Doubling Down:
A player may only double down if his first two cards total 10 or 11. The dealer will then give him one additional card face down.