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 Rules of blackjack

The player must wager before any cards are dealt. He does this by placing his bet in front of his table position. Next, the dealer deals two cards to each of the players and two to himself. (One of the dealer's cards is dealt face up, one is dealt face down). Face cards count as ten, ace counts as one or 11, and all other cards are counted at their face value.

A blackjack occurs if the player's first two cards are an ace and a ten or face card. This is usually a winning hand, although if the dealer also has a blackjack, it is a tie. A winning blackjaack pays the player three to two.

The dealer must draw on 16 and stand on 17. (Note that some casinos will alter this rule slightly.)

Basic terminology

Hit or Stand - Hit means to draw another card, which the player signifies by tapping the table with his cards or a similar hand motion. Stand means that the player wants no more cards, which the player signals by placing his cards under his wager or holding his hand in a horizontal direction. If the player hits and busts (goes over 21), his wager is lost.

Double down - The player is allowed to double his original bet on his first two cards, then draw one more card.

Splitting - If the first cards a player is dealt are a pair, they may be split into two hands which are played seperately. The bet on each hand must be the same amount. Aces receive only one card. After splitting, Ace-ten counts as 21, and not as blackjack.

Insurance - A bet not exceeding one-half of the original bet. When the dealer's up card is an ace, the player may take insurance. If the dealer's down card is a ten or face card, the player wins two to one. Any other card means a win for the dealer.

Surrender - To give up after the deal of the first two cards. Only one-half of the original bet is lost. Not all blackjack games offer surrender.

For more blackjack definitions, read our terminology section.

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