One of the most popular card games in casinos everywhere, blackjack goes by several names including pontoon and 21, but no matter the name the rules remain consistent. The game consists of players taking on the dealer individually, meaning that players take it in turns to face the dealer and can either win or lose. The game continues until all players at the table have either won or lost against the dealer. There is no draw in casino blackjack.

Players sit at a table opposite a dealer, whom has one or more packs of cards at hand. The dealer deals two cards face up to each player at the table, and one face up to themselves. The aim of the game is to beat the dealer, usually by getting as close to 21 as possible without going “bust”, which means getting more than 21. An ace is worth 1 or 11, numbered cards are self-explanatory, and picture cards are worth 10. If a player is dealt an ace and a picture card they have a “blackjack” and will win unless the dealer also has a blackjack. In any event where a player ends up with the same number as the dealer, the dealer always wins, giving the house a distinct advantage.

Players can either draw or stick after being dealt an initial 2 cards. The fact that the cards are dealt face up does not affect the dealer’s decision because they always play the same way – drawing cards continuously until they reach 17 or more. It is therefore critical that players consider the dealer’s face up card before making their own decision. For instance, if a player has a queen and a 3 this makes 13, meaning anything below a 9 will improve the hand, and may seem advisable. However, if the dealer is showing a 6, it is very possible their second card will be a 10, jack, queen, or king, resulting in 16. They will then be forced to draw again and probably go bust – meaning everybody that hasn’t gone bust themselves will win. In this instance, it may be preferable to stick with a low hand on the assumption the dealer will go bust.