BlackJack : How to Play : Cards

Card Values

Numbered cards are worth the number shown on them regardless of suit.
10s, Jacks, Queens, and Kings have a value of 10.
Aces have a value of 1 or 11, whichever makes the better hand.
Jokers are removed from the deck and not used in Vegas-Style Blackjack

Deck Composition

Due to the fact that 16 of the 52 cards in a single deck are of 10 value, we know that about 32% of the cards in the deck are 10 value. There are 4 times as many 10 value in the deck than any other value, and your chances of drawing a 10 value card is proportionately higher. File this in the back of your mind.

The Play

Play begins when the player places a bet in the betting circle. The dealer will move their hand accross the felt signifying that betting is closed for this hand. From this moment on, the player is not allowed to touch their chips. Adding or removing chips to this wager (aka capping and string betting respectively) will get you warned by the dealer once, repeated violations will get you kicked out of the casino. When betting is closed, the dealer deals (from a plastic shoe containing a shuffled pack of 6 decks of cards) one card face up to all players and one face down to the dealer in a clockwise motion, then deal another round of cards face up to the players and one face down to the dealer. If any of the players are dealt BlackJack (an Ace and a 10 value card) they are immediately paid 3:2 on their original wager. The dealer then flips over their first hole card and lays it directly on top of the second face down card. If the dealers up card is an Ace, they will ask the players if they would like to buy Insurance on their hands against a dealer blackjack.


Insurance is the act of placing a new wager on the table worth 1/2 of your original wager that the dealers up card (Ace) and hole card will make a blackjack. After Insurance bets have been closed, the dealer will peek at their hole card (either by lifting the edge and looking at it, or using one of a couple of different mechanical devices embedded into the table). If their hole card is a 10 value the will turn their cards over - Dealer Blackjack. All Insurance bets are paid 2 to 1, and all other wagers except for ties are removed from the table and a new hand is dealt. If the dealer does not have blackjack, the insurance bet is lost and play continues as it did before. Insurance is one of the worst bets in the casino. Do not take insurance.

... Play Continues

If the dealers up card is a 10 value card, they will peek at the hole card to see if it is an Ace. If an Ace is detected, the dealer will flip their hole cards and all hands except for a tie BlackJack have automatically and their wagers and cards are removed from the table. If there is no Ace detected, the dealer will then turn their attention to the player in the first position (aka First Base) . It is then the players turn to decide whether they would like to:

  • Stand - Draw no more cards to their hand, and stand on their current total.
  • Hit - Draw another card from the shoe
  • Double Down - Double their wager in exchange for only one more card
  • Split - Split pairs of cards (if dealt) into two seperate hands
  • Surrender - Give up 1/2 of their wager and declare their hand dead.

Let's explore these options on the next page before progressing further.