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Blackjack Rules for the Beginner

Simple Blackjack Rules


Blackjack Rules for the Beginner

Standard Blackjack Table

Photo courtesy of (Angel Fire Press)

The dealer will always hit until they get at least 17. When the dealer's up-card is 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 they will have to take a card. Hit to improve your hand but try not to go over 21. When you get to 17 on a hard-hand, stop hitting. When you have 12 or more and the dealer has to hit, stand.

Double Down

A double down allows you to bet up to an amount equal to your original wager on the draw of a single card. The table limit sign will tell you what two cards you are allowed to double down on. You need to turn your cards over to indicate a double down, usually done when the player has two cards that total 10 or 11.

You may also be able to double down on soft-hands, where your first two cards are an ace and a small card. Don't do this against a dealer's up card of 8, 9, 10 or ace, or when you hold 19 or 20.


Anytime your first two cards are the same value, such as a deuce and a deuce, you may split them and play two separate hands. While a double down can be played for any amount up to your original wager, a split hand must be for the same amount originally bet.

Match your original bet and the dealer will handle the cards for you and get you started on the first hand. You will get a second card on the hand to your right. You then have the option of hitting, standing, or splitting again. You may split to make up to four hands at most casinos.

Some clubs allow the player to double down after a split, a good option for the player.

You should always split aces, but when you receive a ten on an ace you will have 21, not blackjack. Therefore you will not be paid 3-2.


Some casinos offer a surrender option: "early surrender," if you can take the option before the dealer looks under a ten for a blackjack; and "late surrender," if they only allow surrender after the dealer peaks for blackjack.

Either surrender option can be helpful for the player, as you will sometimes find yourself with a terrible hand like hard 15 or 16 against a dealer up-card of 10 or ace. If you use the surrender option, the dealer takes half your bet and your cards - you are done with the hand.


Blackjack is the most popular card game found in most casinos. The number of decks used and other house rules change the casino's overall win expectation. However, as long as the casino offers most of the options presented here, you should be able to have a good time playing blackjack.

To improve your chances of winning, read some Tips and Strategy to increase your fun and get the most out of your blackjack experience.

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