How To Play 21 Blackjack 101

21, also known as Blackjack, or 21 Blackjack, is one of the most popular card games at casinos and homes across the U.S. That’s because it can be won by luck, skill, bluffing, or a combination of all three.

If you’re a genius-level mathematician, you can find a way to win just about every game by card counting. However, you probably won’t be welcome in most casinos or home games if you do that. If you’re ready to learn the ins and outs of Blackjack 21, including Blackjack rules and basic strategy, we're here to help. In this 21 guide, you will learn: - How to play 21 for beginners - How to play Blackjack 21 at home or in casinos - Where to play Blackjack 21 online for rewards By the time you’re finished, you will be prepared to take on anyone in a game of 21, from novice players to experts. Continue reading to get started.

How Do You Play 21 For Beginners?

If you’ve never played 21, starting from the basics is essential. That includes the objective of 21, card values, and basic playing rules. Learn more in the sections below. ### The Objective of 21 The object of the game is pretty simple. Your goal is to beat the dealer's hand by having a hand that totals closest to 21 or hits 21 exactly. However, if you go over 21 (also called busting), you automatically lose to the dealer.

How Much Is Each Card Worth in 21?

Unlike Texas Hold’em or Gin Rummy, the card values in 21 are pretty straightforward. In Blackjack, each card is worth the following: - Aces - 1 or 11 (each player can decide the value of the ace in their hand) - Face cards - The King, Queen, and Jack are worth 10 - All Other Cards - Worth their face value (i.e., 3 of Diamond equals 3 points)

How Many Cards Do You Play in 21?

If you’re playing 21 at home with friends or family, you just need a standard 52-card deck. However, in casinos, the number of decks they typically shuffle together can be as high as six. In most cases, when more than four decks are played simultaneously, the casino dealer randomly selects and deals cards from a box (also called the “shoe”).

There is no limit to the number of cards you can play from your hand. However, the more cards you have, the more likely you will go over 21 (i.e., bust).

Betting (Optional)

If you’re just playing a friendly game of 21, there is no need to understand betting. However, if you’re playing for money, each player places their bet before the hand is dealt. In casinos, that will involve chips; at home, both chips and cash are commonly used.

Minimum and maximum initial bets are established before anyone wagers. After every player’s first turn, they can choose to raise their original bet. Everyone else at the table can either increase their wager as well or fold. More advanced players use insurance bets, side bets, and double downs during the game. However, this is not recommended for most beginners.

How Do You Play Basic Blackjack 21?

Now that you know the basics, it’s time to learn how to play the game of 21 step-by-step, as well as some Blackjack strategy. Continue reading to learn the basics of Blackjack 21. ### Step One: The Deal Before the dealer deals the cards in 21, the dealer shuffles, and one player cuts the deck. Then, the dealer gives each player (including themselves) one card face down in clockwise order. That step is repeated again until every player has two cards in their possession.

If you’re playing at home, both cards are typically face down. However, at many Blackjack tables in a casino, the dealer's first card is face down, and their second card is face up.

Understanding “Naturals” in the Game of 21

Suppose the dealer's face up card equals 10 or 11. In that case, they must immediately look at their second card to see if they have a “natural” pair that equals 21. If their face up card is not a 10 or 11, they must wait until it’s their turn to look at the second card.

However, if the dealer has a natural, they win the hand and collect bets from every player that doesn’t have a natural. If just one player has a natural hand, the dealer must pay them 1.5 times the amount of their bet (casino rules). At home, it may just be their original bet amount.

Lastly, if the dealer and another player have a natural, it’s a tie. The dealer doesn’t owe the player, and the player can retain their original bet.

H3: Step Two: “Hitting” in 21 Once you have your cards, it’s time to add up your totals and decide if you want to hit, stay, or fold. Learn more about each option below.

If the value of your two cards is a low number (i.e., not above 17), you may consider “hitting” or requesting an additional card from the dealer. A home, you can simply pluck a card from the top deck when it’s your turn.

In a casino game, you tell the dealer you’re “hitting” by tapping your middle and index fingers on the table when it’s your time to decide. You can hit as many times as you need to achieve 21 or get as close to it as you can.

Step Three: “Staying” in 21

Once you’re happy with your hand, you can “stay” and not select another card. Suppose you were dealt a King and a Queen (totaling 20 points). In that case, you will likely decide to “stay.” That’s because you’re sure that the only thing that can beat your hand is a 21, and hitting again would likely result in going over 21.

Step Four: “Folding” in 21

Generally, it’s not advised to fold if you’re not playing for money. However, if you’re betting, you may choose to fold if one of the players raises their bet and it’s “too rich for your blood.”

Some Blackjack games allow players to fold after the initial deal (also called an early surrender) for half their original bet. Other games allow a late surrender wherein you can fold for half your original bet, so long as the dealer doesn’t uncover a natural hand on the first round.

Step Five: Dealer Rules

The dealer plays by a different set of rules. Once each player receives their first two cards, the dealer exposes their face down card. If the value of the dealer’s cards is 16 or less, they must continue taking cards until their total is above 17.

Suppose the dealer has an Ace and counting it as 11 points would bring their total over 17. In that case, the dealer must stand and not select another card.

Step Six: Winning a Game of 21

After the dealer reveals a natural, stays, or busts, all other players must show their cards. Those who beat the dealer in a game of Blackjack without going over 21 receive double their bet. For example, if you bet $3, you would receive $6 back from the dealer (your bet plus what the dealer owes).

However, if a player goes bust, they lose their original bet no matter what. That’s true even if the dealer goes over 21 as well. The dealer only pays the players that beat them. Further, they do not pay or receive bets from players with identical scores.

Where to Play Blackjack 21 On Your iPhone Or Android

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