The goal of each round of Blackjack is to earn a higher number of points, not exceeding 21. Each card has its value in points. The face value of cards from 2 to 10 corresponds to the point value of these cards. Jacks, Queens and Kings worth 10 points and Aces can worth 1 or 11 points, depending on your wish.
If the game is dealt from one or two hand held decks, it is called Pitch game and the players cards are dealt face-down, so only the players know what their cards are. If it is dealt from a shoe with 4 or more decks, the cards are dealt face-up and exposed to everyone at the table. Before players receive their cards, the dealer deals two cards for himself and exposes one of them. The second card, called Hole Card, is not revealed until all players make their turns.
During their turn players can perform one ore a number of the following actions:
- Hit: take another card from the deck.
- Stand: take no more cards and finish his turn.
- Double Down: double the wager, take one more card and finish his turn.
- Split: divide the hand in two, placing an additional wager. Split can only be performed if the player has two identical cards in his hand.
- Surrender: exit the round, sacrificing a half of the wager.
If the total number of points exceeds 21, it is called a bust. If both the player and the dealer bust, the dealer always wins. If two initial cards worth 21 points exactly (it can happen if one of the cards is an Ace and the second one is worth 10 points) it is called a Blackjack or a Natural. A player who has a Blackjack wins automatically. At most casinos blackjacks are paid 3:2.
After all players make their turns, the dealer plays his. House rules say that the dealer must hit while he has less than 17 points. Some tables have a Hit Soft 17 rule, which means that the dealer hits when he has 17 points composed of an ace and a 6.
If the dealers exposed card is an Ace, players can make an insurance bet, worth half of the original bet, which is put aside and is paid 2:1 if the dealer has a blackjack.
Each casino has its own house rules, that can exclude or modify some of the classic rules listed above. Therefore it is highly advisable to find out what are the rules for a certain blackjack table before starting to play.