There are many different casinos and with each one comes with different rules for different games. Generally the rules for Blackjack (BJ) are the same but just vary slightly from place to place. However all you need to do is be aware of the different rules at various tables and adjust your play to them accordingly which isn't all that hard to do.
At any given BJ table there are about seven spots for seven different people to set at and play. Somethimes every spot will be full. Sometimes you will see a dealer standing at his or her table with no one playing. They will have all the cards spread out on the table top awaiting for someone to walk up and lay their money down. This is exactly what most casinos excpet for you to do too. When you want to cash in your money for chips to play the game. Lay your money out on the table for the dealer to pick up and exchange. Do not hand the dealer the cash directly or they will motion for you to lay it down on the table.
Another rule to remember and this is standard for most all casinos is: Do not touch the cards! Do not touch even the cards that are dealt to you (unless it is allowed.)
Even though there may be several people playing at your table, you don't have to worry about the hands that the other players have. You are not competinng against their hands. You only need concentrate on what the dealer has. This is the hand and the only hand that you must beat. The other players beside you are trying to do the same as you. That is to try and beat the dealer or (the house) hand.
Usually all the cards dealt are face up. The dealer will either take a hole card or he will not take a hole card, depending on the rules of the house. (Most casinos in Atlantic City do not take a hole card) If the casino does not take a hole card, it is one rule that is ever so slightly in favor of the house. I prefer the dealer take a hole card.
What is a hole card?
When the dealer deals out a hand, they will deal everyone playing that hand a card facing up. Then when they come to themselves, they will give themselves a card facing upward. Then the second card will be dealt to everyone and this card too is dealt to everyone facing upward. When the dealer gets to themself for the second time around, this is called the hole card. They will either take a hole card and place it unseen, under their up card or they will take the hole card last, after all the players have been asked if they want to hit or stand. If you have no idea what I am talking about here, don't sweat it. Its not something that will make or break you, and once you get to a casino you may casually ask the dealer what a hole card is. Dealers love it when they think they have new players that don't know much anyway but, you will know way more than what they think you know. This too will give you an ever so slight advantage over them.
Once again, you will be setting with other players while playing. Some will lose and leave and new ones will take their places. You need not worry about the ones along side you, only to make sure that they don't pinch your chips from you when you aren't looking. You need not be paranoid of this but just be aware that it can happen if you leave yourself open for it. This is but one more reason for you to keep a straight head while at the tables and not consume alchohol when at play, (or work.)
You will want to get as close to 21 as possible without goung over or "busting" as it is commonly called. However there will be occasions when you will want to stop with a 12 or 13. It just depends on what the house up card is. This is what will tell you what you should do.
After receiving your 2 up cards and everyone else has gotton their two cards and the dealer has his or her up card showing. You will take a look at your two up cards and add the two numbers togather. If you have a 10, Jack, Queen, or King, count it as 10. If you have an ace, count it as 1 or 11. Any other card you may have count as its own face value.
Example. 5=5 or a 7=7
King and a 6 = 16
Jack and a 3 = 13
An Ace and a 6 = 7 or 17
What is a soft number? This would be a number as in the last example given with the ace and the 7.
A soft number simply means that you can take a hit and no matter what card that you draw, you can not bust.
If an ace and a 7 can = 7 0r 17 and you would like to hit then even if you were to draw a 10 count card, you would not bust however by drawing a 10 count card it would make your soft 17 a hadr 17 meaning that if you were to hit again, there is a chance you may go over 21.
To have a soft hand or number, you must have an ace. Example: Ace + 2 = soft 13 Ace + 5 = soft 16.
To get back to what I was saying earlier. You will want to glance at your two up cards that the dealer has dealt you and add up the two. Then you will need to look and see what the dealers up card is. This will tell you what you need to do with your hand when the dealer asks you or when it is your turn. You will need to have your decision ready when the dealer comes to you and asks you what you would like to do so as to not hold up play for the others at your table. Slow players can sometimes irritate others at the table and sometimes it will do the same to the dealer as they like to keep the game at a good steady pace.
Your 4 choices will be to either HIT, STAND, SPLIT, or DOUBLE DOWN.
Given the noise level in the casino, you will want to get use to communicating many of your desicions to the dealer using hand signals.
To indicate you wish to HIT, simply tap your index finger a couple times beside your cards. Once again, do not touch the cards.
To let the dealer know that you do not need anymore cards and you wish to stand pat, you will wave your hand over your two cards as if to say, "No more pie thank you" as you would do at the dinner table
If you intend to double down or split your hand. Make sure you have your double down or splitting extra wager chips ready to place into your betting circle. Never add or subtract from your original wager until the dealer is focusing on what you are doing and it is your turn. Do not place your double down bet into the betting circle while the dealer is asking another player what they wish to do. Always wait until the dealer gets to you. Then you may lay your double down or split wager beside your original wager and tell the dealer I would like to double down please, or I would like to split the hand please. Do not stack your chips on top of your original wager. Always lay the chips along side and allow the dealer to shuffle the chips around the where they want them. The dealers will shuffle the chips so that they know what kind of bet you have made.
Some of the advantages that you will enjoy over the house include the following:
Hitting and standing...You can hit and stand anytime you want but the house MUST HIT until they reach 17 or better.
(Some casinos will hit a soft 17 but most don't. If they do it is to their advantage and not yours.)
You have the option of doubling down. The house can only win what you have bet. They never win double.
You can split hands. The house has to take what ever it gets.
You win your bet plus half your bet if you get a BJ. If the house gets a BJ, they only win your bet.
If you are losing, you can leave, if the house is losing, it must stay and keep dealing.
About Insurance: Alot of people do not understand why the house will ask the players if the wish to take insurance. Everytime the house up card is an ace is when they will ask you this question. Insurance is half of what ever that you have bet. If your original bet is $10.00 the insurance will cost you $5.00 Since you can not see what the dealers hole card is (if indeed they do take a hole card.) You have the option of making a side bet on if the dealer is going to have a 10 count card in the hole to give him or herself a BJ. If you take insurance and they do end up having a Bj. You lose your ogiginal bet but your insurance wins it back for you so you break even on the hand. If you take insurance and the dealer does not have a BJ, you lose the $5.00 or half your original bet and the game continues as usual.
Now here is a BIG TIP!!! Forget everything I just told you about insurance and NEVER take it. Insurance is nothing more than a come on and should never be taken, never never never. What if I have a BJ you ask? Should I take it then? No, if you have a BJ and the dealer has one too then be happy with a push. That circumstance will occur often where you have a BJ and the dealed has an ace up but more ofter than not the dealer will not have a BJ and over the long period of play, you will lose money on this deal.
In Part III, I will show you the basic strategy for hitting, standing, splitting, and doubling down and then I will get into the betting strategy.
If these articals that I am writting about casinos and Blackjack are helpful to you. Please recommend them and leave your comments. It is apreciated. More to come soon. Thank you for reading. GCJ