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 How to Play Blackjack

Most Blackjack tables have spots for 7 players. Players can enter a game at any time. To start playing at a table, sit down at any open spot and place your money in front of you towards the dealer to exchange for chips. Never place money in the small betting circle in front of your seat because it may be interpreted as a single bet by the dealer.

All face cards have a value of 10. Cards 2 through 9 are counted at face value. Aces can count as either one or eleven. At the beginning of each hand players make bets by placing chips in the circle in front of them. After all players have placed their bets the dealer deals out two cards to each player and two to her hand. The dealer’s first card, or “upcard”, is visible, but the dealer’s second card, or “hole card”, is dealt face down.

If the dealer’s upcard is an Ace, players are given the option of placing an Insurance bet. An Insurance bet is equal to 1/2 of a player’s initial bet and pays 2 to 1 if the dealer has Blackjack. After asking for Insurance bets, the dealer will check her hole card for a ten, making sure it is not exposed for players to see. If the dealer’s hole card is a ten she will turn it over, pay off Insurance bets and collect all losing bets. In some casinos if the dealer’s upcard is a 10 she will check her hole card for an Ace.

If the dealer does not have Blackjack play starts with the first player to the dealer’s left. Depending upon their initial hands, players may Stand, Hit, Double-Down, Split, or (on very few tables) Surrender [top right].

“Busting” occurs any time a player’s hand exceeds 21. If a player busts the dealer will immediately collect his bet. If a player is initially dealt an Ace and a ten value card this is known as a Blackjack, or “Natural”. This hand pays a bonus on the initial bet (usually 3 to 2) except in the case where the dealer also has Blackjack which results in a Tie, or “Push”.

After all players have resolved their hands, the dealer plays out her own hand. The dealer makes no decisions herself, but plays out her hand according to the rules of the casino. If the Dealer busts, all non-busting players win. If a player’s hand is higher than the dealer’s hand, the player wins. If the dealer and player’s hands are equal, it is a Push, and the player’s bet is returned. If the dealer’s hand is higher, the player loses.



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