Blackjack Rules

One of the main reasons behind the constant popularity of blackjack is that it’s so easy to learn. The basic rules only take a few minutes to learn and then you can jump in and play at any casino in the world.

For players looking for a more strategic experience, there are also quite a few advanced blackjack bets available. With the right blackjack strategy, a skilled player can reduce the house advantage to nearly 0%. But for now, let’s just cover the basics.


The ultimate goal of blackjack is to get closer to 21 than the dealer without going over 21. If you go over 21 points, it’s called a “bust” and your bet is lost. Each card is worth a certain number of points:

  • The cards 2-10 are worth face value.
  • Face cards (Jack, Queen, King) are worth 10 points.
  • Aces are worth either 11 points or 1 point.

With aces, you get to decide if it’s worth 11 points or 1. This means that if you have a hand like Ace-5, you get to choose if your hand is worth 6 points (1 + 5) or 16 points (11 + 5).

Game Play

1. The players place their bets at the table.

2. Each player is dealt two cards face up.

3. The dealer receives one card face up (the upcard) and one card face down (the hole card).

4. Each player now gets the opportunity to draw as many cards as he wishes in the hopes of getting as close to 21 as possible. If a player wants to draw a card, it’s called a “hit” and if the player does not want to receive any cards, it’s called “standing.”

5. After all the players have had the opportunity to draw, the dealer reveals his hole card and hits or stands according to a predetermined set of rules.

6. When the dealer is finished, his hand is then compared to each player’s hand. The bets are then collected or paid out according to the following showdown rules.

Showdown Rules

Players who come closer to 21 than the dealer receive even money on their bets. Players who did not come closer to 21 than the dealer lose their bets. Players who tie with the dealer get their original bets back without any winnings.

If a player is dealt a 21 on the first two cards (an Ace and any other card worth 10 points), it’s called a “blackjack” or a “natural 21.” In these cases, the player gets a special payout bonus of 3:2 on his money. That means that if the player had bet $10, that player would win $15 instead of the normal $10 payout.

If the dealer has a blackjack, he automatically wins against all other players without a blackjack. If a player and the dealer both get a blackjack, the bet is considered a push and that player’s bet is returned.

If the dealer busts, all other players who didn’t bust win.

Five Card Charlie

The Five Card Charlie rule is used in some casinos as an alternate way for the players to win. If a player’s hand reaches a total of 5 cards without going over 21, it’s considered an automatic win. Depending on the casino, players who achieve a Five Card Charlie receive a special payout of 2:1 on their bets.

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