There’s a reason that Blackjack (or “21”) is the world’s most popular casino table game. And it’s not because it pays that much more money. It’s popular because it’s simple. Even the beginning card player, who would be overwhelmed by the rules of poker, can understand Blackjack’s basic concept: Keep taking cards until you get as close to 21 as possible, without going over. Let’s take a look at exactly how to play blackjack—and better yet, how to win at it.
Before learning how to play blackjack, you need to learn the Blackjack language. Here are the basic terms you’ll hear the most.
HIT: Simply means to take another card after the first two have been dealt. A player who feels he is not yet close enough to 21, and wants another card, says “Hit me.”
STAND: This means that the player does not want any more cards. That is, he either has 21, or he feels that another card would put him over.
BUST: This means that the player’s or dealer’s cards total more than 21, which is an automatic loss.
DOUBLE / DOUBLE DOWN: Both terms mean the same thing. A player doubles down after the first two cards have been dealt, but only if he thinks he has an excellent chance of winning the hand on the next, third card. If he predicted correctly, he wins double the bet.
SPLIT: In some games, a player might receive two cards with an identical value, and he can then split these cards into two separate hands. However, to split, first the player must submit a second bet identical to the first one before he receives his next card.
SURRENDER: This option is given to players in some Blackjack casinos, allowing them to give up half their bet, as well as their cards, if they feel their card is not likely to win against the dealer’s hand.