Aim of the Game

How to Beat the Dealer

“The main aim of Blackjack is simple; you just have to Beat the Dealer”
There are two ways to do this in Blackjack:

  1.  By getting a higher total than the dealer without exceeding a total of 21
    (total face value of the cards).
  2. By having the dealer go over 21 (bust) with your cards still on the table.

blackjack cards

The Card Values in Blackjack

One of the first things you need to understand when playing blackjack is how to ‘Total’ or ‘Value’ the cards, and as a result, value your blackjack hand. Card values in blackjack are as follows:

  • In Blackjack, cards 2 through 10 have their face value. For example: 2=2, 9=9 etc.
  • Jacks, Queens and Kings (called face cards in Blackjack) all have a value of 10.
  • Aces are counted as either 1 or 11 depending a player’s preference at the time.
  • Suites have no meaning in the game of blackjack.

The Hand Values in Blackjack

Simply adding the card values gives you the total hand value. For example, a Jack and a Queen is a hand of 20. An Ace and a 4 can be either 5 or 15.

Hand Types in Blackjack


Blackjack is the most desired hand.

Blackjack is a total of 21 in your first two cards. Also called a ‘Natural’. Blackjack can only be an ace and a 10-value card.
A dealer with a Blackjack beats everyone at the table, even those with four or more cards totaling 21. Only a player with a ‘Natural’ (Blackjack) is immune to losing their hand and that person will tie (push) the dealer and retain their original bet.

Pat Hands

Hard totals of 17 through 21 are considered ‘Pat’ in the game of Blackjack.

Players who follow Basic Blackjack Strategy or just exercise simple common sense and logic will not draw additional cards on a ‘Pat’ Hand.

Soft Hands

As mentioned earlier, an Ace can be counted as either an 11 or a 1.
As a result, a soft hand is one that contains an ace and can have either value without making the hand bust.
For example, if you are dealt an ace and a 3, you have a soft hand of 14. If you draw another ace after that, you would have a hand that could be worth either 5 or 15.

Hard Hands

Basically this is a hand that does not contain a Double-Action Ace (either because the ace, in that instance, can only be counted as a one or because the hand doesn’t contain an ace at all.
For example, a hand of 9 and 4 is a hard 13. If you were to be dealt an ace after this, you would have a hard 14.


Commonly known as the gambling word for a Tie or Draw. A hand of equal value to the dealer’s hand is a ‘Push’ and no money is will be exchanged. The player will, however, retain their original bet.


When a hand value exceeds 21, it ‘Busts’, and it loses.