Monday, October 6, 2008

How To Play: Blackjack

How To Play: Blackjack

Blackjack is a one-on-one game between player and banker. The rules are surprisingly easy, but the pace is fast, so it really tests a player’s skill and memory, which is why it is so popular around the world.

The key aim in Blackjack is to have more total points than the banker with a maximum of 21. The banker deals two cards to each player and one to himself. Players look at the sum of their cards and decide whether to stand, hit, split, or double down. A player can take cards until he senses the total is sufficient or if the total points exceeds 21, which is a bust. When all players have drawn their cards, the banker takes his second card and then hits for himself.

Calculation of points

In Blackjack, the ace scores either one point or 11 points; the number cards from 2 to 9 score at face value; and 10, jack, queen and king score 10 points.


Players can draw a card with any point total, while the banker must draw cards for all totals less than or equal to 16.


If the sum of the first two cards equals 21, it’s called a blackjack. It’s possible to achieve 21 with more than two cards, though this combination is not called a blackjack.

Splitting Pairs

If a player has two cards of the same value, such as two aces or two 9’s, he can split them into two different hands.

Doubling Down

When a player receives the initial two cards, he has the option of doubling his bet. After doubling, a player can only draw once.

Take Insurance

If the banker’s first card is an ace, the players can make a supplementary bet called “insurance”. If in the end the banker gets Blackjack, the player who has taken insurance can win twice that supplementary bet.

Five Dragons

As long as the banker’s first card is not an ace, a player with 5 cards totalling no more than 21 points can demand to be paid half his bet. However, this is not the standard practice in Macau casinos.

Commonly Used Gestures

Hit: Use your fingers to tap lightly in front of your cards or brush towards you
Stand: With palm facing down, shake your hand from left to right over your cards (without touching them)
Pass: Slide your fingers on the table from left to right.

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