Value of cards in 21

How to Play Blackjack


Video Tutorial from About

Learn basic blackjack rules so you can place your bet confidently. By understanding the value of cards and nuances of blackjack you can increase your card playing skill.

Premise of the Game

The object of blackjack is to beat the dealer. The winner is whoever has closest to a total of 21. You reach 21 by adding up the values of the cards. Tens and face cards are worth ten points, the other cards count as their numerical values, and Aces are worth one or 11, at the discretion of the player.

For example, a six of spades and a eight of hearts is 14. A Queen of spades and a Jack of diamonds counts as 20. An Ace of spades and a six of hearts can count as 17 or seven.

You determine the valuation of the Ace, and can decide the change it in mid-hand. For instance, say you draw an Eight to an Ace and six you already have. That would “bust” your hand if the Ace was counted as 11, so you drop it to a one. In that situation, you count it as one, and you’ve got a 15.

how_faceValue of the Cards

In blackjack, the cards are valued as follows:

  • An Ace can count as either 1 or 11, as explained below.
  • The cards from 2 through 9 are valued at their face value.
  • The 10, Jack, Queen, and King are all valued at 10.

A “soft hand” is a hand that contains an Ace which is counted as 11. A “hard hand” is one that does not contain an Ace or a hand where the Ace can only be counted as one point.

After the dealer gives each player two cards, he’ll return to first-base and start acting on each hand individually. He will point to your cards when it is your turn.

If you want another card – a “hit” – you indicate by scratching the table with your hand. The dealer will not accept a verbal command because the hand signal must be given so that the security cameras can see exactly what you want to do with that hand. If you want to “stand”-take no cards-you indicate by waving your hand, palm down. You use that motion when you’ve decided to stop taking additional cards, as well.

In the hand-held game, you scrape the table with the edge of your cards to indicate you want to hit. When you’re satisfied with your hand, you slide your cards under your chips in the betting circle.

If you take a hit and that card puts your total over 21, you lose automatically. The dealer removes your cards and your chips. In the hand-held game, turn your cards over immediately if you’ve exceeded 21, so the dealer can finish your hand.

At the end of the hand, if the totals of your cards are closer to 21, you win! If the dealer’s hand is closer to 21, you lose. And if you tie the dealer-called a “push”-no one wins or loses. If the dealer hasn’t busted, he will pay the winners and take the loser’s chips. If you have pushed, the dealer will rap the table with his knuckles and leave the chips where they stand. You are then allowed to increase, decrease or remove the bet.

The rules the dealer must play by are very simple. If the dealer’s hand is 16 or less, he/she must take a card. If the dealer’s hand is 17 or more, he/she must stand. Note that some casinos allow the dealer to hit on soft 17 which gives the house a very small additional advantage. The dealer’s strategy is fixed and what you and the other players have is immaterial to him/her as far as hitting and standing is concerned.

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