The Basics of Blackjack

Blackjack is a card game that is played against the dealer in which players try to get a total closer to 21 than the dealer. Going over 21 is called ‘busting’ and means an automatic loss. The game is typically played at a table of 2-7 players and uses one to eight 52-card decks. Each player receives two cards and may choose to hit (request more cards) or stand (keep the current cards) based on a set of rules. A player’s hand that is made up of an ace and a face card or any other number card wins the game, known as a blackjack.

A dealer’s face-up card is also important in determining the outcome of a player’s hand. If the card is a 10, the dealer will win the hand unless the player has a blackjack, in which case the hand is a tie or push. If the card is an ace, the dealer will ask the player for insurance bets (half of the original bet) before proceeding to play the hand.

If the dealer has a blackjack, the player’s bet is paid out at 3:2 and the dealer must then discard his or her card. If the dealer does not have a blackjack, and the player has a blackjack, the bet is won by the player without an exchange of bets. A blackjack is not a push if the dealer has a total of 21, however, since a player blackjack beats any dealer total other than a blackjack.

To hit, a player extends his or her palm near the cards and scratches it lightly against the table as though he or she is scratching an itch. This signals to the dealer that he or she wants another card and the dealer will deal an additional card from the shoe, which is a boxlike device that houses the cards. If the new card makes the player’s hand better than 21, he or she wins the hand; otherwise, the player loses the bet.

A mute could easily blend into the crowd at a blackjack table, since the game is played entirely by hands. A mute would have to be very careful, however, to make sure the dealer doesn’t mistake his or her request for change for a bet on the next hand. When a player wants to “hit” again, he or she simply extends the hand to indicate this to the dealer, who will then deal another card from the shoe. When a player wants to “stand” and didn’t bust, he or she performs the same hand motion as above.