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How to Play Blackjack

Blackjack is one of the most popular casino table games. It’s fun, simple to play, and unlike many games, offers a chance to beat the house through skill. All you need is some knowledge and confidence to make smart choices. Start right here.

Check the complete guide on How to play Blackjack.

Play Video How to Play Blackjack

The Object of the Game

In Blackjack, also known as 21, the object of the game is to beat the dealer, not the other players. There are two ways to win: Get a hand of cards with a higher total points value (up to 21) than the dealer; or not to “bust”, i.e. get a total over 21 points, before the dealer does. That’s it.

How the cards work

In Blackjack, only the card’s face value counts, not the suit. So, for example, the 8 of spades is counted as 8 points. The total number of points of the cards equals the value of the hand.

Numbered Cards from 2-10

Numbered Cards

Clubs, diamonds, hearts and spades numbered from 2-10 are worth their face value.

Face playing cards

Picture Cards

Picture cards are worth 10 points each, so the King, Queen and Jack are each valued at 10 points.

Ace of hearts


The ace is worth either 1 point, or 11 points: it’s the player’s choice and depends on the hand.

How to play Blackjack in four steps

  • Dollar signs signifying expense level with a check mark next to the middle option $$.

    Start with a game plan; set a budget in advance and stick to it.

  • An overview of a Blackjack table

    Know how a round is played, from the points value for every card and hand, to what it takes to beat the dealer.

  • A hand demonstrates a tapping motion to indicate a move in Blackjack.

    Hit, stand, split or double down: Learn all the right moves and how to use them.

  • Three Blackjack tables.

    Choose the right Blackjack table, starting with the lowest minimum if you’re new to the game. Feel free to watch at first to get the feel of the play.

1. Start with a Plan

Blackjack is exciting. Be sure to have a game plan before you play, so you don’t get carried away. Start with a budget.

Dollar sign.

Set a budget

Decide how much you want to spend in advance. Treat this as part of your entertainment budget: Money you’d spend on a night out, not expecting to bring it home.

Crossed out credit card

Don’t bring credit cards

To make sure you only spend what you bring, use cash and leave the cards at home.

Trophy with check mark

Set a win limit

It’s no fun to be up and then lose it all. When you’re winning, decide in advance when it’s time to walk away. Some players set this at the point when they double their money.

4. Selecting a Blackjack Table

Not all Blackjack tables are created equal. Before you sit, select a Blackjack table for its posted minimum and maximum bets. New players might prefer to start with the lowest minimum table, usually with bets from $5 to $15. That way, the play can last longer.


For new players, it’s a good idea to watch a few rounds and get comfortable with the table, the play and the other players before getting into the game.


Many think avoiding a table where the dealer is on a “hot” streak is the way to go. But what happens in the game is only in the cards – not because of a “hot” or “cold” dealer.

What is Blackjack insurance?

Insurance is a side bet that the dealer has Blackjack and is treated independently of the main wager. It pays 2:1 (meaning that the player receives two dollars for every dollar bet) and is offered if the dealer’s up card is an Ace. This is a bet that the dealer’s down card, or “hole” card, is valued at 10.