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The rules of Blackjack

First of all, Blackjack is played around a table. The players are in a semi-circle with the dealer at the center. This game can be played with six decks of cards that are dealt using what is known as a 'shoe'. As a point of interest, originally the game was played with a single deck of 52 cards. Card counters have enabled some casinos to raise the standard by using six decks of 52 cards.
There must be between one and seven players. The basic rule of Blackjack is that all the cards have values.

  • Picture cards, such as Jack, Queen, King = 10 points
  • Ace = 1 or 11 points (optional)
  • other cards (from 2 to 10) = have the nominal value of the card (e.g., card 5 = 5)
At any given time, you can decide to keep your hand. If you go over 21 points, you say that you are 'bust'. You then lose your initial bet.

If the player gets a total of 21 points, he has a 'natural' or a 'Blackjack' or 'natural blackjack'. The dealer (or banker) always has the advantage over the player when there is a tie.

To begin with, you pick a card to decide who will open the betting. The dealer gives two cards to each player and keeps two for himself.

The cards are laid down in front of each player, one face down and one face up (later, the dealer will deal further cards that will remain visible to the other players). The player sitting to his left begins as soon as he receives his second card. He will ask for a card by saying 'card!' until he reaches his objective (to be as close as possible of the required 21 points).

If the player goes over 21, he is bust and he loses his initial bet. The dealer goes to the next player. If the player decides to stop, he says 'stand' and the dealer will move on to the next player. This procedure will be repeated by the dealer until each player has decided to stand. As far as the dealer is concerned, it is at that moment that he begins to play. The rules for him are simple and codified. The dealer will take another card until his total reaches 17 or greater. He then stands. If he gets more than 21, all the remaining players win. On the other hand, if he gets a total between 17 and 21, the winner will be decided between the players and the bank according to the highest hand. If there is a push, the player keeps his bet but doesn't win anything. Rules are slightly different according to the casino when it comes to the dealer.

Each player shows his cards and compares them the dealer's. The players who have more points than the dealer win. The others lose their bet. If there is a tie (or push), as explained before, between a player and the dealer, the dealer wins.

There are hundreds of ways to play Blackjack. Therefore, the first thing a player should know is 'what are the rules that apply in the casino he has chosen'.

A box placed in front of each player allows him to bet when the dealer says 'place your bets'. If the banker has a natural, meaning he has a total of 21 points with his two first cards (e.g. an ace and a 10 or a picture), he collects the bets of the players (except if a player also has a natural, in which case there is no payout). On the other hand, if the player is the only one to have a natural - the dealer doesn't have one - he must call it and then he can collect his winnings. If the dealer doesn't have a natural, the game continues with the player sitting to the left (clockwise). The player sitting to the left can ask for as many cards as he wants, as long as he doesn't go over 21, the maximum number of points. He receives the cards face up. If he goes over 21, he says he is bust. He calls "bust", and the dealer collects his bet. When the player judges that he shouldn't take any more cards, he says "stand", and the dealer moves on round to the next player in the same way.

When all the players have been dealt their hands, the dealer then deals his own. Once he judges his hand to be ready, everyone lays their hand on the table.

If the banker is bust, he will have to pay all the remaining players equally. If he is not bust, he will still have to pay equally all the players whose total is higher than his and collect the bets of the players whose total is less than his. If the number of points is identical to his, between one or several players, the round has no value and each one gets his bet back. Consequently, the cards that have been used are not used again.

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