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Blackjack Rules

The Blackjack Table

On the table will be seven rectangular boxes in a semi-circle.  This is where players place their bets.  The minimum and maximum bets accepted will be clearly displayed by a notice at the table.

You can play someone else's box, if they agree, by placing your bet in the same box.  The first player's bet should be nearest to the dealer, and the first player will make all decisions regarding taking cards.

The dealer will indicate when bets may be placed by running his hand away from the card shoe to the box furthest to his right. He will hold his hand in this position while bets are placed then run his hand back towards the card shoe which means no further bets should be placed and the game is about to begin.

Cards are dealt from a shoe containing four decks. The dealer will insert a coloured cutting card towards the end of the shoe. The cutting card will be dealt along with the other cards, but will not form part of a player's hand.  The player who receives the cutting card should retain it to cut the deck after the dealer shuffles.

Basics

In a game of blackjack you are only playing against the dealer, not the other players.

The dealer initially deals each player two cards and deals himself one card.  All cards are dealt face-up, flat on the table, and players should not touch the cards.

The dealer will now go to each player in turn, starting with the player on his left.  The dealer will announce the player's total so far, and ask if they want to take further cards. Players can take as many cards as they like - the object being to get as close to 21 as possible without going over.

Cards are counted at face value, regardless of suit, with picture cards counting as 10, and Aces counting as 1 or 11 at the player's choice.

If a player takes more cards and goes over 21 they lose their stake immediately and are said to have "bust". If this happens their stake will be taken and their cards removed from the table.

Once players have taken all the cards they want, the dealer will deal his own hand, but subject to stricter rules.  He must take a card (draw) on a total of 16 and below, and must stop taking cards (stand) on a total of 17 and above. Aces again count as 1 or 11 but the dealer must stand at the first opportunity.  So if the dealer has, for example, a 6 and an Ace, that will be counted as 17 and he must stand.

The dealer's hand is now compared with hands of all remaining players.  Players with a higher score than the dealer win even money, players with the same score as the dealer retain their stake (known as a stand-off), players with a lower score than the dealer lose their stake.

If the dealer's hand comes to more than 21, he has bust and all remaining players automatically win even money.

Blackjack

If a player or the dealer has a hand consisting of only a 10 and an Ace (remembering that all picture cards count as 10), they are said to have Blackjack rather than 21.  Blackjack is a hand that cannot lose. The following scenarios may apply:

Doubling

If a player's first two cards total 9, 10 or 11 he may double his initial stake and receive only one further card. A player can, of course, decline to double and continue to receive cards as normal.

Splitting

If a player's first two cards are of the same value (e.g. two 3s) he may choose to split the hand by doubling his stake.  With the two split hands he can continue to take cards, double and split again as usual.

Splitting is not allowed if the player has two 4s, two 5s or two 10s.

If the first two cards are Aces, they may be split, but the player will receive only one further card on each hand.  If the second card is a 10 the total will be 21, not Blackjack.

The player may also choose not to split and continue as normal.

Counting Aces

Aces count as either 1 or 11, whichever is better for the player. For example, if the player has a 4 and an Ace, the dealer will announce "five / fifteen" meaning the hand counts as either. If the player requests a card, and the card is a 10, the hand becomes a hard total of 15, since at this stage to count the Ace as 11 would mean going bust.

Similarly if the player has a total of 12 on the first two cards (say a 10 and a 2), requests another card and the card is an Ace, his new total will be 13, as counting the Ace as 11 would mean going bust.


Mark Adams Entertainment is a trading name of Jonathan Vee Associates Ltd, Company Number 4840960.