Basic blackjack tutorial

Sign Language during a game

Hand-held game

Shoe-game

Pack One or two decks Three or more decks
Cards Face-down Face-up
Handling of cards Touch first two cards with one hand and hold them over the table. Players are not allowed to touch their cards.
Hit Lightly scrape one corner of your first two cards against the felt. Tap the table with your fingers.
Stand Use one hand and slide the edge of your first two cards under your chips. Wave your hand, palm down over your area.
Split and double down Lightly toss your first two cards face-up in front of your chips.
Place a matching bet next to your original bet.
Place a matching bet next to your original bet.
Bust Turn your cards face-up. No motion is required. The look of defeat will be acceptable.
Blackjack Immediately turn your cards face-up. No motion is required. The look of victory will be acceptable.

Hitting and Standing

One you have received your two cards, you will need to decide if you wish to hit (get another card) or stand (stay with your current total).

If you want to hit, tap the table with your finger. You may take as many cards as you want before you bust or decide to stand. To stand with your current total, wave your hand with your palm over the betting circle or cards. If you draw a card that causes a bust, your bet will be collected immediately and it will be added to the dealer’s tray of chips. Your cards will be discarded, immediately.

Doubling down:

Doubling down provides you with a chance to increase your wager in a potential advantage. You place an amount up to the value of your original bet next to your first wager and you will be given one final card. In a shoe game, the final card is sometimes placed next to your original two cards to show that it is the last card to be dealt to that hand.

In the hand-held game, the dealer will place the double-down card under your chips. You are allowed to look at that card right away but you will appear more intimidating if you wait until all the hands at the table are resolved.

Any payouts or losses are determined by your new total wager. The only exception would be if the dealer has a blackjack. This would cause you to lose your original wager.

Splitting pairs:

If your first two cards are a pair, you gain the opportunity to play two independent hands. You may indicate that you want to split by placing an equivalent stack of chips next to your original bet. The dealer will separate the cards, deal another card to the first hand, resolve the hand with you and repeat the process with your second card.

With the exception of split aces, each hand is played out as any other would be.

Insurance

After everyone has been dealt the starting two cards and the dealer’s upcard is an ace, you will be offered insurance before the game resumes. It is a side bet which is supposed to “protect” a player against the dealer’s potential blackjack. Insurance bets are made at half the value of your original wager. The bet is placed in the stripe on the table that says, “Insurance pays 2 to 1” and in fat it does happen like that.

If a player does have a blackjack, they can request “even money” when the dealer shows an ace. The reasoning behind this bet is that a player may push with the dealer and no win will occur. Once a player is willing to accept even money, they can get paid before the dealer check the hole card for blackjack. This is probably one of the easiest and daring decisions to make in blackjack.

Surrender

This offer will not be offered by all of the casinos but it is an advantage for the player. If it is available, this option would allow you to “surrender” half of your bet, rather than playing out the hand. It is important to note that surrender is not an option after you have taken other action on your hand.

Surrender is the only blackjack play made verbally.

Dealer’s play

When the final player has completed their decisions on their hand, it will be the dealer’s turn. The dealer has no decision to make. The casino will make the decision for the dealer and it will be printed clearly for all the players to see.

Mos of the casinos use one of two variations:

  1. “Dealer stand on all 17s”: The dealer hits his hand until it totals at least 17.
  2. “Dealer hits soft 17s”: The dealer hits his hand until it totals a hard hand of 17 or higher, a soft hand of 18 or higher.