In the modern casino, Blackjack is played on a semi-circular table, with the round Half-Moon portion of the table facing the players, and the straight edge side facing the dealer. Most Blackjack tables will accommodate seven players. Every Blackjack table will have the words, Insurance Pays 2 to 1, also, Dealer must Hit Soft 17, or, Dealer Must Stand On All 17's.
How to Play Blackjack
The basic Blackjack Rules - in which you are first dealt two cards and subsequently permitted to draw more - is to total 21, or as close as possible to 21, without going over. To win, your cards must be higher than those retained by the deal. In Blackjack all cards are counted at their face value, with the exception of the Ace. Card 2 through 10 are counted at face value. Therefore, one 2-card, one 8-card and one 9-card; total is 19. Face cards - Jacks, Queens, and Kings - are counted a value of '10'. Therefore, one Queen and one 8-card is 18. The Ace card is different and at your discretion, have a value of either 1 or 11. The best possible hand in Blackjack is a combination of an Ace with a 10-card or a face card. This is an automatic 21, when counting the Ace as an 11, and is called, "Blackjack", or a Natural. It cannot be beaten, unless the dealer has the same, which would be a Push, a tie. Always check the sign on the table like: Minimum $5, Maximum $500.
The first position at the Blackjack table is called First Base, immediately to the dealer's left, and this player gets the first card out. The opposite side of the table, at the dealer's right is called Third Base, and this player receives the last cards. Third Base is important because the player controls which cards the dealer will receive. Don't be afraid of sitting at a table where there are no players. A one-on-one game with the dealer offers the best odds you can hope for in this game.
Blackjack Basic Strategy
To Double Down means to double your bet and receive one more card only. You can Double Down on any first two cards dealt by placing the cards face up in front of the betting circle, and place a bet equal to your original bet next to it. Always say Double Down when you do this. Players are allowed to Split the first two cards, as long as these cards have the same value. By Splitting, you play two hands and have to place a bet equal to the original bet on each of the two hands in action. If you Split two cards, you are entitled to draw more than one card to finish out each hand. All casinos will allow you to Split Aces, but you will only be dealt one additional card on each of the two Aces.
Single Deck means one-deck of fifty-two cards, no jokers or wild cards. Two Decks are just that, and a Six Deck Shoe is a box that looks like a shoe with six 52-card decks in it, all shuffled together. The advantage to the player, however, is that cards tend to group in the six-deck shoe, and is possible to hit winning streaks more often than with smaller decks.
In Blackjack a Soft Hand means a combination, on the first two cards dealt, of an Ace with any card, other than any 10-value card. The player can count the Ace as either 11 or as 1. For instance, if you are dealt an Ace and a 3-value card, you have a Soft Hand - your hand can be either 14 or 4; this is called a Soft 14. However, if your two cards are a 10-value and a 4-value card, (so-called Hard 14, also known as a Stiff). Therefore, a Soft Hand is more advantageous and will allow you to get close to 21, or indeed make 21, by drawing six or more cards. This is called Six and Over and in some casinos it is an automatic winner, often paying a bonus 2 to 1. The number 17 is crucial in Blackjack because it can be either the worst hand for the player or the dealer. As in Craps, where the number 7 can be either the player's friend or foe, so in Blackjack the number 17 can make or break the player's hand. Look for House rules of Dealer Must Stand On All 17. These are favorable rules for the player, and mean that dealer's Ace with a 6 is a Soft 17 hand, he must count the Ace as 11 making the total hand as 17. his means that the dealer will have no options. Don't play if the rules state, Dealer Must Hit Soft 17, because you would be giving up part of your edge. It is very easy to go find another casino.
Some casinos will only allow you to Double Down if the combined value of the first two cards dealt is 10 or 11. This means that if the dealer is showing a '6' as the up card - good time for you to Double Down - and your total is '9', you cannot Double Down. By eliminating this choice, the casino further reduces your ability to win money. It is a good idea to stay away from casinos with these restrictions. If you do find a casino that offers all of the good rules, chance are they will only be offered on the six-deck-show game. Still, these are the games to look for.
Source: Casino Gold Book