Blackjack is both a challenging and fast-moving game in which you can match your skills against the house. Generally, the higher the level of skill, the better you're going to do against the house, because there are mathematically sound strategy decisions that can be followed. It also carries different rules, according to which variation you're playing.

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Blackjack At Its Basic Level

Learn about how blackjack is played both at land based casinos and at online casinos featured here in this section of our site.

How To Play Blackjack:

In the game of blackjack, you are, for the most, going to be dealt two cards, face-up of course, while the dealer (representing the house) will have on card face-up and one card face-down. You are then presented with options for playing decisions. Those options are to hit, stand, double, split, and in certain cases, surrender or take insurance. Your objective in this game is to get closer to the total of 21 to that if the dealer, or to stay under the total of 21 while the dealer exceeds it. Thus, you will find yourself playing offensively in some circumstances, and defensively in others.

A couple of notes should be made about the options at your disposal. You'll see icons on the screen representing the options, and you'll click on one of them to proceed, but you'll only get the options that are applicable for the situation. So for example, if you don't have a pair you won't be offered the "Split" icon and so forth.

When the dealer has a possible two-card 21, which is known as a "blackjack," there will be an "insurance" option given to you. The insurance bet is an amount equal to half your original bet. If you win the insurance bet, you are going to be paid at odds of 2-to-1. There will be versions of the game where you'll be to double after splitting, or split an unlimited number of times. In other versions, you may be restricted along these lines.

Blackjack Tips:

Here are some tips that will help you have more of a fighting chance at blackjack:

• Try to learn something called the "Basic Strategy," which is a set of rules for your playing decisions that offer you the best mathematical move in each situation. You will find that there are subtle variations on this, according to the game rules. Theoretically, this should bring you as close to a break-even game with the house as you can possibly get.

• There are certain pairs you are always going to split, no matter what the dealer's upcard is. These are Aces and eights.

• Look for games that allow you to double after splitting, re-split, and double on soft hands (that is, hands that contain an Ace).

• Avoid insuring a hand if at all possible. You will not get value out of it, because it pays 2-to-1 but is 2.18-to-1 against winning.

• Take advantage of surrender if you find a game that has it. This can allow you to salvage money on certain hands that have little chance of winning by enabling you to take back half your bet.

• When you see games that appear to offer you something extra, like Double Exposure (where the dealer shows both cards), make sure you read the rules and understand what you are giving up in return for that "edge."

• If you are going to resign yourself to playing Basic Strategy as an approach, stay faithful to it. Hunches will lead to long-term defeat.