The objective is always to beat the dealer, which means getting to — or as close as possible to — a total point score of 21. There are some misconceptions about the objective of the game of blackjack but at the simplest level all you are trying to do is beat the dealer.
The Play - Basic Rules
Blackjack is usually played at a table of 2-7 players and uses one to eight 52-card decks. All number cards (2-10) score the value indicated on them. The face cards (Jack, Queen, King) score 10 points and Ace can either be treated as 1 or 11.
At the beginning of each round, all players place their bets in their betting positions – also known as ‘boxes’. After the bets have been placed, all players are dealt two cards face-up in front of their respective betting positions. The dealer receives two cards, one face-up and another face-down.
Starting to the left of the dealer, each player is given a chance to draw more cards. The players can either ‘hit’ or ‘stand’. If the player calls out ‘HIT’, they are given an extra card. They can then either call out ‘HIT’ again, or ‘STAND’ if they do not wish to draw any more cards. The player can ‘HIT’ as many times as they wish, but have to aim not to ‘bust’ (exceed a total of 21).
If the player busts, they immediately lose their bet.
After each player has played and either stood or busted, the dealer takes their turn. They can, again, either ‘HIT’ or ‘STAND’. If the dealer’s hand exceeds 21, all players who didn’t bust win immediately – their bet is returned along with a matching amount from the dealer’s bank.
If the dealer reaches a valid hand, the cards are totalled and each player’s hand is compared to the dealer’s. If the player scored higher than the dealer, they win. If the player ties with the dealer, the original bet is returned to the player. Otherwise, the player loses their bet.
A perfect hand combines an ace with a 10, Jack, Queen or King and is known as a ‘Blackjack’.