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Black jack is an elegant card game that has its origins in 18th century France. While black jack requires skill from the player, to start off with, it is one of the easier card games to learn. Also known as twenty-one, it’s a game played against the house dealer. In its’ simplest form, the objective is for your final hand to be higher than that of the dealer, without going over twenty-one. A hand totaling twenty-one holds the highest value. There are many variations of black jack, so be sure to read the rules so that you are informed of each game’s nuances. Here we’ll cover the most fundamental of black jack rules.

Scoring a black jack hand
In black jack the suits of the cards hold no significance over the game. Picture/face cards have a value of 10, while cards numbered 1 to 10 are worth their face value. Aces can be worth either 1 or 11, a decision which is determined by you.

If for example, you hit a 5, a 3 and an ace card, counting the value as 19 is much closer to 21 than counting it as 9 would be. You’ll notice the term soft hand and hard hand being used- when an ace is used as an 11, as in the above example it would be called a soft 19. A 10 and 9 card would be a hard 19. If you draw a face card (10) on the soft hand your ace automatically takes a value of 1 and your total will still be 19, but on the hard 19 you’ll go bust.

Basic black jack playing sequence
When you enter an online blackjack suite, you’ll decide your bankroll, and place bets accordingly. Bets are placed by choosing the value of the chips you wish to play and placing it in your designated playing area at the table. After you and if applicable, other players, have made their bets, the hand is dealt. You will receive two cards face up. The house dealer receives one card face up and the other face down.
From here you’ll have a few playing choices at your disposal.

  • Black Jack
    Should your first two cards total 21 (Ace and 10/J/Q/K), you’ve scored a natural black jack and the payout will be 1 and half times your original bet, as opposed to the 1:1 payout you usually receive for other winning hands.
  • Stand
    Should you believe that your hand will be higher than your dealers you will choose to stand and receive no additional cards. For example, if you have a king and a jack and the dealer has a value seven card, chances are slim that your hand will improve and so you choose to stand, calculating that for the dealer to reach twenty-one has even lower odds.
  • Hit
    Taking a hit means that you will receive an additional card. You can ask for as many additional cards, ensuring that you base your decision on what the likelihood is of you getting a higher hand than the dealer without exceeding twenty-one.
  • Double
    Doubling down your bet gives you the opportunity to double the value of your bet, but you’ll only be able to take that one additional card. You can only double down after your first two cards are dealt, or after a split.
  • Split
    When you have two cards of the same value you may want to choose to split them. This will mean you double your bet, and that you will essentially be playing two hands each of whose outcome is independent of the other. Gauging whether to split or not will be determined by whether you think splitting the one hand into two playing hands will be of incremental benefit.
  • Surrender
    Some forms of online black jack will give you the opportunity to surrender after your first two cards, if you judge that the odds of the dealer winning emphatically outweighs the odds of you winning. This usually occurs when the dealer draws an ace as his first face up card, increasing his odds of hitting a black jack. When you surrender you lose half your original bet, and you will not receive any more cards.
  • Insurance
    An alternative to surrendering when the dealer’s first face up-card is an ace is to insure the bet. Here you’ll be betting up to half your original bet that the dealer will indeed hit a black jack. If he does you’ll be paid 2:1 for the insurance bet, which means that you don’t end up losing or winning any money when he gets a black jack.

 
Dealer Draws
When deciding whether to play, one needs to bear in mind that in most online casinos, when a dealer’s hand totals 16 or less he is compelled to draw another card. If he hits seventeen he is compelled to stand. Some operators require that their dealers draw another card on a soft seventeen.

Once you’re feeling comfortable with these foundations of black jack you can head over to one of our recommended black jack suites to start gaining the experience which will help in making your future gaming experience a fulfilling one.

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