Blackjack for Dummies: How to Play Blackjack Guide

The objective of blackjack: Beat the Dealer

Unlike other games like poker when you are going up against other players, in blackjack you are just trying to beat the dealer.

How do you beat the dealer you may ask? Well, you have to try to get closer to a value of 21 than the dealer, without going over 21.

How do you beat the dealer?

By drawing a hand value that is higher than the dealer’s hand value. By the dealer drawing a hand value that exceeds 21. Or finally, By drawing a hand value of 21 on your first two cards, when the dealer does not.

How do you lose to the dealer? 

If your Your hand value exceeds 21 or the dealer’s hand has a greater value than yours at the end of the round


How to find the value of a hand?

The value of your hand is dependent on the cards that you get.

  1. Cards 2-10 are face value. Meaning they are valued exactly the amount that is on the card.
  2. Ace counts as 1 or 11. This depends on the value that is most helpful to the hand.
  3. King, Queen and Jacks are all valued at 10.

blackjack card values


Layout of the Blackjack Table

Blackjack table layout

The blackjack table is designed to have the players sit on one side around a semi-circle, and the dealer alone on the other side with a chip rack and the cards to be dealt. Blackjack table sizes range from having as little as 5 players to as much as 12.


Let’s Play Blackjack

1. Purchasing Chips

When you play blackjack you are playing for money. That’s what makes it a casino game. Depending on where you are playing, in order to make a wager, you have to either buy chips from the dealer, on in the case of an electronic blackjack table, you will make bets using money put on a gaming card.

electronic blackjack

electronic blackjack table. Gaming card with funds is used instead of chips

2. Place a wager

Before the dealer hands out cards, you will have to place a bet for the first round. Depending on where you are gambling, there is a minimum bet, often times USD$5. So you will place chips that amount to $5 our place the best using your gaming card if playing on an electronic blackjack table.

3. Dealer deals cards to players

In a clockwise motion, the dealer deals cards to the players. Each player gets two face-up cards and the dealer will have one face-up and another facedown.

blackjack casino jamaica

4. How you want to play hand

The dealer will ask started from their left (otherwise called “first base”), how each player wants to play their hand. There are 5 ways you can play your hand but before we get there, there are some initial possibilities. If you have a card valued at 10 and an ace you automatically get a value of 21 and you “blackjack”, meaning you won the round against the dealer. You immediately get half of your wager added to your current amount (x1.5). If both the player and the dealer gets blackjack then it cancels out and you neither win nor lose your wager.

If neither you nor the dealer gets a blackjack then you will choose how you want to play your hand.

Stand – If your first two cards are acceptable. This means you don’t want the dealer to deal you another card that may risk you a “bust”, going over 21.

Hit – Remember now, to beat the dealer the total number of cards has to be closer to 21 without going bust. So if you want to improve your total, you will point using your index finger, or select hit if playing on an electronic machine. The dealer will deal cards until you tell him to stop or if you bust.

Doubledown – This is when you ask the dealer to hit you with 1 more card, and you double your wager. This should only be done if you think that you have a really good possibility of winning the round.

Split- If you have two of the same cards (for example two 5’s) or two cards of the same value (for example a king and a jack) you can split the hand into two hands and place two separate wagers.

Surrender- if you don’t think you have a chance of winning based on your hand. You can give up half your wager and surrender. This is better than to risk the high chance of losing all of your wager.

With so many options, which do you choose? Well at this point you would not have seen the dealer’s second card, as it is faced down. Only his first. Based on the card you can see, you must decide what the best options might be.

There is a chart that helps with this. The chart shows the best thing to do based on the dealer’s single card you see and the existing value in your hand. So check it out here. 

5. Outcomes & Payouts

Here are the possible outcomes based on which one of the 5 options you chose:

a. You chose to stand and didn’t ask to be dealt more cards.

b. You either chose hit, double or split which means you took more cards. And you achieved a hand of 21 or less.

c. Your hand is out of play. You might have taken more cards and busted or you surrendered.


All this is done before the dealer reveals their second card. So the casino always has an advantage.

If you didn’t surrender or bust then it’s time for the dealer to reveal their full hand. They cannot double, split or surrender. Just stand if their hand is below 17 or hit if their hand is 17 or above. They HAVE to do this each turn and does not have all the options that the players do.

Here are the possible outcomes:

a. The dealer makes a hand which means they got between 17 and 21. If you didn’t bust or surrender then it comes down to who has the highest card count. If you do then you get double your wager, if the dealer does he takes your wager. If both get the same card total then it cancels out and you neither get paid or lose your wager for this round.

b. The dealer busts and doubles your wager.


A next round begins, you can choose to stop or bet your more chips or gaming credit if you want to! That’s pretty much it! Read this over a couple of times if you have to but once you play a few rounds then it becomes pretty simple.