How to Play Blackjack

Part 1: A Vegas Aces Guide

The Basics

picture of the cards including face cards, aces and which suits are what

Blackjack is played with a normal deck of cards; there are 52 cards total. There are 4 suits; diamonds, clubs, hearts and spades. Each suit has 13 cards. The cards are valued as follows: Picture cards (such as the king and queen.) are all 10 value. Aces are either one or eleven. All other cards are face value.

picture of the dealer using the shoe

There are different types of blackjack games; the most common one is the shoe game. The shoe game is how I am going to teach you; later on I will discuss the difference between single and double deck in greater detail. The shoe is the device that sits on the dealer’s left hand side that the dealer draws a card from. This device usually holds 6-8 decks of cards.

picture of the dealer using the shoe

Another term you will hear me say is “Cheques”. “Cheques” is a term used when describing a game chip that has monetary value inscribed on it with the casinos logo and it is used on a live game. A cheque is the currency in that casino where it was issued. It can be turned into cash at any time at the cashier’s cage.

The Beginning

Walk up to the table that you wish to play at and the dealer will greet you. Hand over the amount of money you want to spend and the dealer will change it for cheques. Always place the money on the table because the dealers are not allowed to take the money from your hands. Somewhere on the table the minimum - maximum sign on the table the betting circle

there will be a sign stating the table minimum and maximum; the bet you place needs to be in between those amounts. Now, after you decide how much money you want to spend on one hand, put the bet down in the betting circle and start playing. Once the first card comes out you are not allowed to touch or alter your bet.

The dealer will give you 2 cards per bet. The dealer will get one card face up and one card face down. The object of the game is for you to get closer to 21 then the dealer without going over. Each hand is considered separately; you are only playing against yourself and the dealer; you are not playing against the other players.

If the dealer or player goes over 21, this is called “Busting” and it is an automatic loss for that person.

Also, because the ace can be either 1 or 11, this creates a “soft” hand.

a soft hand example


If the player’s first two cards are an ace and a 4, then the player has a “soft 15” meaning the hand can be either 5 or 15.

an example of a hard hand

The opposite of a “soft” hand is a “hard” hand. A hard hand means that if you hit and receive a ten you will bust.


If your 1st two cards are a 10 and a 2 then that means that you have a “Hard 12”.

Player has a 10, a 4 and an ace

If the player has a hand with an ace in it then the value of the cards will always total the amount that favors the player.


If the player has a king and a 4 and he hits and receives an ace, then the total will automatically become 15 because the other option is 25 and that would be a bust hand.

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