No matter where you choose to play blackjack there are a few things you can depend on. There will always be blackjack rules and blackjack card values that govern how the game is played. This is true for blackjack in a live casino, and it also applies to online blackjack for real money. While the card values in a blackjack games remain the same and do not change, some blackjack games have rule variations. Rules can also vary from casino to casino.
About Blackjack Rules
All gambling card games have rules. These rules are what allow the game to proceed in an orderly fashion. Unlike slot machines which are a simple automated form of gambling, card games cannot be conducted without rules which define the game and its objectives for the player.
Blackjack rules also serve another important purpose for the casino. It is the rules of blackjack which help to determine the house edge. Blackjack has been constructed in such a way that the house is always guaranteed to win in the long run if the player follows the rules. Of course, by using basic strategy and card counting a player may overcome the house advantage to some degree. Still, blackjack rules are there to create profitability for the house.
There are two very specific rules which make blackjack different from every other game in the casino:
- The winner of a blackjack hand is determined by who comes closest to a total of 21 without going over.
- The dealer (house) must abide by a strict set of rules concerning hand actions, and no deviations from these rules are permitted.
Let’s look at each of these specific rules. The first one is very simple on the surface. You are trying to make a total of 21. The dealer is also trying to make this total. Whichever one of you comes closest will win the hand, but there is a catch! The dealer always gets to check his total before you act on your hand. If he has been dealt a 21, or blackjack, on his first two cards, you do not get an opportunity to reach 21. You can only tie the dealer if you also have a blackjack on your first two cards.
Can you see how this benefits the house? Imagine a blackjack game where you were allowed to try and reach 21 after the dealer showed blackjack. You would fail in most cases, but players would succeed often enough that the house edge would fall.
In the second example we see a blackjack rule that makes the game suitable for use in a casino. Blackjack Dealers, unlike players, do not get to weigh in with their thoughts when it comes to acting on a blackjack hand. The casino has already established what the dealer can and cannot do. In most casinos both live and online the dealer must hit all totals of 16 or less and stand on all totals of 17 or more. In some regions the dealer may also be required to hit a soft 17 total, or a starting total of 17 that includes an ace. There is no card in the deck that will bust a soft 17.
There are other blackjack rules which govern the actions that a player may take on their own hand. These include the following:
- When to hit or stand in blackjack
- When to split in blackjack
- When to double down in blackjack
- When to take insurance in blackjack
- When to Surrender in blackjack
In all cases the rules are there to provide a smooth game which is designed to always give the house an edge. If there were no rules to the game of blackjack the game would devolve into a state of chaos and there would be no way to determine if the player or the house won the game. Here you can play free blackjack.
Blackjack Card Values
Blackjack is a game in which precise values are assigned to each card in the deck. These blackjack card values never change no matter where you play. They remain true for online blackjack and they are also true in a live casino.
The blackjack card values are:
- Ace = 1 or 11
- 2-9 = Face Value
- 10, J, Q, K = 10
There is a very good reason why these card values cannot and will not change. If they were to change it would not be possible to make a blackjack. Without the ability to achieve a total of 21 on two cards there would be no game of 21. The only way to make 21 with two cards is if one card is valued at ten and the other is valued at 11.
Like the basic rules of blackjack that we mentioned earlier, these blackjack card values can present some sneaky ways for the casino to preserve its house edge. Particularly, the casino loves a blackjack card value of 17. This total presents a lot of problems for the blackjack player.
17 is the point at which hands begin to take on a losing or winning quality. Most players tend to stand on 17 because the odds of improving the hand with a hit are very poor. The problem is that the dealer must also reach a total of 17 before they are allowed to stand on their hand. So, either the dealer is going to reach a total of 17 or more or they are going to bust. End of story.
This results in a lot of 17 blackjack totals for the player turning into a losing hand. It looks good when the dealer shows a 6 as an up card, but it looks very bad when the dealer is showing a ten. A player with a 17 is like a sitting duck. They really cannot do anything but watch to see if the dealer will beat their total.
What to Remember About Blackjack Rules & Blackjack Card Values
As a player there is really only one thing you need to know about blackjack rules and blackjack card values. These are the elements that make blackjack what it is. Without them we would not have access to the game that we all love.
Players should not feel like rules and card values for blackjack are a hindrance. They should take the approach that these elements are what make the game beatable. The rules which govern dealer actions are what will allow you to have success when you are counting cards. The card totals are what will allow you to receive a blackjack and be paid off at 3-2.
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