Blackjack is played between the dealer (i.e. the casino), and the player (multiple players can play at the same time versus a single dealer).
Each player who has placed an initial bet gets dealt two cards face down, whilst the dealer gets dealt 1 card face up (and another face down, or alternatively this 2nd card may be dealt later after all the players have played their hands).
In blackjack, the cards represent points. Suits don’t matter.
T/J/Q/K are worth 10 points, whilst an Ace can be worth 11 or 1. All other cards are worth the same number of points as their number, i.e 6 is worth 6 points.
The aim of the game
The player wins if their hand is worth, more points than the dealer at the end of the game. However, getting more than 21 points is a bust for either the player of dealer – the player can decide what strategy to use as regards to taking further cards after the first two compulsory cards dealt to them, the dealer has to follow the rules of the specific variation of the game. The player wins if the dealer busts before them, however they lose if they bust before the dealer.
Decisions & outcome
Each player makes a decision regarding their hand – as long as they don’t have more than 21 points, they can keep taking cards (‘hit’). By taking cards you can get closer to 21, but you could also bust, which is why you might want to not take any further card and end your turn instead (‘stand’). Further options are to double – you double your initial bet, and commit to taking exactly 1 further card, or split (if your first two cards dealt have the same value or rank depending on the casino’s rules, you can play 2 hands by splitting your hand into 2 and getting an addition card for each – a 2nd bet is required), or surrender (where available, the casino returns half your initial bet, but removes you from this hand).
After all the players have played, the dealer must hit until they have 17 or more points, at which time they must stand. If the dealer is showing a soft 17 (this is 17 points, involving an ace for 11 points), in some casinos the dealer must hit. If the dealer busts, all players who did not bust win. If the dealer does not bust, all player with points greater than the dealer win (ties means no one wins, players initial bets are returned).
Perfect strategy can be used to make the best decisions without the knowledge from card counting. Card counting can be used to turn the casino’s edge over to the favour of the player.