What makes Blackjack such a popular game for many people is the fact that you are in total control of your hand. You make the choices that ultimately result in a win or a loss at the end of the blackjack hand.
Below are a few choices that are available when trying to beat the dealer at blackjack.
Hit or Sit in Blackjack
Once you have received your initial two cards in blackjack, you have to decide whether you are going to ‘Hit’ or ‘Sit’.
‘Hit’ means to take another card while ‘Sit’ or ‘Stand’ means to stay with the total that you presently have. In blackjack the usual method for taking another card is to tap the table with your finger or palm of your hand (you will see a large and strange variety of methods of tapping for another card at land based Casinos). As you hit, you can accept as many cards as you want until you think you have a total good enough to beat the dealer or until you bust.
The usual method in blackjack for signaling that you’d like to sit or stand is to wave your hand with your palm facing down over the table. Sometimes in the excitement and the heat of the moment, you may accidentally tap for another card instead of wave to sit. Depending on what type of blackjack dealer you have at the time, he or she may ask you again to make sure of your decision rather than throw a card down on your Hard 17, for example. If you receive a card that makes you bust, your wager will be collected and your cards will be removed immediately.
Doubling Down in Blackjack
‘Doubling Down’ in blackjack offers you the chance to raise your bet in a potentially beneficial situation. A two-card total of 9, 10 or 11 are the best totals to double down on in blackjack depending, of course, on the blackjack dealer’s face card. You simply place an amount up to the value of your original bet (never over) next to your first wager, and you’re given a third and final card. Any wins or losses are now based on this new total wager. The only exception to this is if the blackjack dealer has blackjack; if that is the case, only your original wager is lost. The blackjack dealer will usually say, “Dealer has Blackjack and takes original bets only” If you are lucky enough to win a few good double downs, you can increase your chips in a very short amount of time.
Splitting Pairs in Blackjack
If your first two cards in blackjack are a pair, you have the chance to play two independent hands. You indicate that you want to ‘Split your Pair’ in blackjack by placing an equivalent stack of chips next to your original bet. When playing in a land based Casino, never touch the cards when splitting! If you do the blackjack dealer will quickly remind you to please refrain from doing so 🙂
The blackjack dealer will separate your cards, deal another card to the first hand, complete the hand with you and then repeat the same procedure with your second card.
When Splitting Aces in blackjack it is important to remember that you will only receive one more card for each ace. All other split hands are played as any other would be.
A common practice by the novice blackjack player is to split 10’s or two picture cards. It would have to be one of the worst decisions in blackjack, as the object of the game is to get as close to 21 without going bust. 20 is a impressive total in blackjack and gives you a great chance to win the hand! You’d be crazy to throw it away!
Insurance in Blackjack
If the dealer’s face card is an ace, the blackjack dealer will offer you ‘Insurance’ before continuing the game. In blackjack, insurance is a side bet that can protect you against the dealer potentially getting blackjack. You can place up to half of your original wager on insurance. There is a special section on the table where it says “Insurance pays 2 to 1”. If the dealer has blackjack then players with blackjack are tied (push) while all other hands lose, and insurance bets are paid off.
Statistically, making an insurance bet in blackjack is not that great an idea and in most cases the casino ends up with the bet.
Surrender in Blackjack
This blackjack method is quite advantageous for the player and is not that common in casinos. If you are not happy with your bet or think that you are going to be beaten, it allows you to ‘Surrender’ half of your bet rather than playing out the blackjack hand.
Surrender is not available as an option after you’ve hit, split or doubled down. Surrender is also the only blackjack play that is made verbally. If you wish to surrender you do so by simply saying “surrender” before playing your hand out.
The Dealer’s Hand in Blackjack
When the last blackjack player on the table has completed making decisions about their hand, it’s then the blackjack dealers turn to finish his or her hand. The blackjack dealer has no decisions to make. He or she sticks to the rules of blackjack at that particular casino. You can usually see it printed clearly on the table for everyone to see. You will find that most Casino Blackjack Rules will state that the dealer must take a card on 16 and stand on a total of 17 (soft or hard total).