How to Play Blackjack

In this section we will go over all the basics of this game in order to get you started playing it.

First you will want to select your seat at the blackjack table and place your bet in the spot designated for your wager. If the game is already underway, you will be dealt in on the next game. At some tables you might even have to wait for a shuffle before entering play. After the shuffle, the deck will be cut by a player at the table.

At this point, each player at the table is dealt two cards (clockwise) facedown. The dealer will have one of their cards face up (known as the up card) in order for the other players to be able to see part of the dealer’s hand. After the dealer receives the second card the game begins.

Now, if the dealer’s up card is an ace, players are usually asked if they want to purchase insurance, which is a bet that the dealer has a natural 21. A player can take insurance by putting a bet on the side of up to half of the original bet. Without turning the whole card over completely the dealer will check to see if it is worth 10. If it is, all insurance bets are paid 2 to 1, and all original bets are removed from from the table. Even if you took insurance for the full amount allowed, you lose your original bet, but the insurance payoff reimburses the you for the loss. The basic for insurance is that you come out even if you take insurance when the dealer has a natural 21. Be sure to read our blackjack tips section for our recommendations about insurance.

Moving on, if the dealer does not have a natural 21, the insurance money is removed from the table.

Now, if you are lucky enough to be dealt an ace and a card valued at 10 (a natural) you will want to immediately flip both cards over to show the dealer that you won. Most casinos pay 3 to 2 for a natural (check what is written on the table for questions regarding specific payouts at each table).

If the dealer also has a natural, you push. This means you don’t get paid for your natural unless the dealer has an ace up and you choose to take even money. Taking even money when you have a natural and the dealer has an ace up is the very same thing as taking insurance, and it means you are paid 1 to 1 instead of 3 to 2 on your natural, before the dealer checks the hole card. Again, be sure to read our blackjack tips section regarding our recommendations about even money and insurance bets.

You will find that in some casinos in Ireland, the dealer may check the whole card under a ten to see if there is an ace to make the hand a natural. If the dealer does have an ace under there, you automatically lose your bet unless you have a natural too. If you do happen to have a natural also, and the dealer does not check under a ten, you are paid for your natural after the dealer gets around to actually checking the hole card.

Now that that is out of the way, usually, you will find that neither you nor the dealer has a natural, and the game continues with players making their educated playing decisions.

Be sure to check out our Blackjack Rules section below for in depth playing tips and strategies when playing this casino game.