Blackjack Professor

Blackjack Table Layout

Blackjack is played at a table like the one shown below. You should always note the important rule information printed on the table cover and on the card next to the dealer. Some casinos offer single deck games where the dealer actually holds the deck and distributes the cards, but most casinos run multiple deck games. Two or eight decks are stored in a box called a shoe. The dealer pulls the cards from a slot at the front of the shoe.

The players’ cards are usually dealt face down in a single deck game. Multiple deck games can be either face up or face down. Your chances of winning are the same either way, although playing face up gives you more information about other cards that are in play and are therefore unavailable.

Most blackjack tables, either at online casinos or land based casinos, have anywhere from 5 to 7 betting spots or seats around the table. The game begins when you sit down. Any seat is fine. You have an equal chance of winning at all of them. The seat to the dealers far left is commonly called first base. The seat at the other end of the table, the dealer's far right, is known as third base. The terminology is of no consequence in the game, but it may help you in a conversation with an experienced blackjack player.

The cards will be shuffled and you or another player will be allowed to cut the deck(s). In a single-deck game, this is simply lifting a top portion of the deck and laying it next to the bottom portion. In multiple deck games you will use a plastic card-sized stop. Put it somewhere near the middle. The dealer completes the cut, and burns the new top card by discarding it in a tray or putting it face up towards the end of the deck. At this point it's time to bet. Put your wager in the circle in front of you and don't touch the chips again. You'll either lose them at the end of the hand or be given more chips by the dealer.

Starting on his or her left the dealer gives one card to each player and then one card face up to herself. A second is card dealt to each player and the dealer receives another card called a hold card. This time it's face down.

You can see only one of the dealer's cards. Let's say it's a ten. Does the dealer have blackjack? Does the dealer have nineteen? Does the dealer have thirteen? If you have twenty-one or twenty it doesn't matter; you'll stand and probably win or tie. But what if you have thirteen? Should you hit? What's the dealers other card?

How to Play Blackjack Section 1

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