How To Play
American Blackjack follows the same basic rules as the vast majority of Blackjack games. It is played with six decks of cards that are returned to the deck after each round and the deck is then shuffled. The aim of the game is to put together a hand of cards that is as close to 21 in value as possible, but without exceeding 21, which is known as going bust. At the end of a round, as long as your hand is closer to 21 than the dealer’s is then you have won.
As with most Blackjack games the numbered cards are worth their face values, the face cards (Jack, Queen and King) are all worth 10, and Aces are worth 1 or 11. This means that you can make 21 with just two cards, a ten card and an Ace. This is called Blackjack and it is the strongest possible hand.
At the start of a round you need to bet on each hand position that you wish to play. It is possible to play anything from one to five hands per round. After placing your bets click on ‘Deal’ and you will receive two face-up cards to each active hand position and the dealer will receive one face-up card and one facedown.
All hands then have a few basic options, ‘Hit’, ‘Stand’ and ‘Double’. You should choose ‘Hit’ if you want to receive another card to the hand, as long as it doesn’t send you bust then you will have the chance to draw another card. Choose ‘Stand’ if you are happy with the hand and want to leave it as it is. Choose ‘Double’ if you think that one more card will allow you to beat the dealer. You will receive one more card to that hand and the game then moves on to the next hand or dealer.
The dealer will always draw until his hand is worth at least 16 and then will stand as soon as it is worth 17. Winning hands are paid out at 1:1, except for Blackjack, which is paid at 3:2. If your hand is worth the same as the dealer’s is then your bet is returned as a push. Theoretically, it is possible to put together a hand of 10 cards without going bust, if you do this it is called a 10 Card Charlie and you will win as long as the dealer does not have Blackjack.
If your first two cards have the same value, for example two 6s, then you can split them into two separate hands by placing a second bet equal to the original bet. You can then draw additional cards to each hand, thereby giving you an extra chance of beating the dealer. If you have split Aces then only one card is drawn to each hand, but in American Blackjack you will be offered the chance to Double after splitting a hand. If a split hand has an ace and a ten-value card then it is considered 21 and not Blackjack.
If the dealer’s face up card is an Ace then you can take out Insurance against him having Blackjack. Insurance costs half of your original bet and if the dealer does have Blackjack you are paid at 2:1 on the insurance, thereby ensuring that you do not lose the original bet.
If you have Blackjack and the dealer’s face up card is an Ace then you will be offered the chance to take “Even Money”. This means that you are paid at 1:1 for the Blackjack instead of 3:2. You should take this if you think that the dealer has Blackjack as it will ensure that you still win something, as otherwise, if the dealer does have Blackjack your bet would be returned as a push.