The game commences by the players placing their wagers. The dealer then deals two cards to each player. The dealer also deals two cards to himself; the first face up and the other face down. Each player plays in turn. The player can either ask for another card, “hit”, or indicate that he does not want another card, “stand”. If the player hits and his hand value exceeds twenty-one, he busts and loses his wager. After all the players have played their hands it is the dealer’s turn to play his hand.
In blackjack the dealer has to play as per predefined rules. If the hand value of the dealer is sixteen or less he has to hit. If the dealer busts then the players still in the game win and are paid out 1:1. If the dealer does not bust then his hand value is compared with the hand values of the players still in the game. The players who have a hand value higher than the dealer win and are paid out 1:1. The players who have a hand value lower than the dealer lose and forfeit their wagers. In the event of a tie the players take back their wager.
The game is named after a special two-card hand having a value of twenty-one. Originally this hand consisted of the jack and ace of spades, and therefore the name blackjack. Today blackjack consists of any ace and any card with a value of ten. If the player gets a blackjack he is paid out at 3:2. If the dealer gets a blackjack then the player loses his wager.
There are a number of special moves in blackjack. One such move is “double down”. In this move the player can double his wager after seeing his dealt cards. The catch is that he has to take one more and only one more cards. The opposite of double down is “surrender”. After seeing his dealt hand the player can surrender by forfeiting half his wager. An interesting move is “split”. If both the dealt cards of the player are of the same denomination, the player can place an additional bet equal to his original bet and play the hand as two separate hands. Some casinos play a move called insurance. If the dealer shows an ace as his open card, the player can place a side bet that the dealer will get a blackjack. This acts as a hedge against losing his main wager.