The cards that a player is dealt in the game of blackjack are random, however players have a number of choices as to how they can proceed throughout the game. To begin, each player is dealt two cards by the dealer and the dealer deals himself two cards, as well – one face down and one face up. Play then proceeds around the table with each player deciding how to play their hand in order to maximize their chances of winning. Players aim to achieve a hand as close to 21 points as possible, without going over.
Hitting is one of the most common choices in blackjack. If the player would like to receive another card, he hits, in which case the dealer deals him one more card. If his hand total remains below 21, he is able to hit again if he chooses. He is able to hit until he holds five cards below the total of 21 or until he goes bust, in which case he loses.
Standing is the other most common choice in the game of blackjack. Standing means that the player does not wish to receive any more cards, but wants to hold his cards as they are until the end of the game. At any point in his turn that he remains below the total of 21 points, he can choose to stand.
Doubling down is one of the first choices a player has. This can be done only when the player is holding his original two cards. If a player chooses to double down, he must double his bet and then he will be dealt one more card and his turn will end.
If a player is dealt two identical cards, he is able to split his hand into two, in which case he must place another bet on the second hand that is identical to the first. He will then be dealt another card into each hand and he will play them both separately. Splitting is recommended when a player holds two eights as sixteen is unlikely to win as it is, but playing an eight and another card may improve your chances.
Surrender is in fact the first decision that a player will be faced with and not all casinos will allow it. Surrender gives the player the opportunity to fold his hand while only losing half of his bet. Most casinos will only allow a late surrender which means that the player will be able to surrender only after the dealer has checked his hand and found that he does not have blackjack. Some casinos may allow early surrender which allows the player to surrender his hand before the dealer has checked for blackjack.
If the dealer’s up card is an Ace, the players will have the right to take out an insurance bet against the dealer having blackjack. If the dealer does, in fact, have blackjack, the player will lose their original bet, but will win their insurance 2:1. Insurance is not a safe bet for the player.
By Ryan D.
Ryan is Chief Editor at UK gambling portal, Gambling Kingz. In-depth strategy, daily news and UK white listed casinos and bonuses.