There are no doubts today that blackjack is one of the most popular casino games in the world. This game is also known as Vingt-Et-Un or Twenty-One and it is so loved thanks to its concept of being not only the game of luck but also the game of skills: much depends on a player's experience and knowledge of blackjack.
A player's goal at the game of blackjack is to beat a dealer: pay no attention to other players who sit at the same blackjack table with you - their cards are not important for you, because you play with a casino dealer. The highest number of points a player can get is 21: then s/he will be a winner at once; it is very important not to exceed these 21 points because otherwise it will be a total loss.
The point is to get more points than a dealer has without exceeding 21.
When you play blackjack a card suit does not matter for you, the main point is the value of each card which has been dealt to a player. Card values at the game of blackjack are the following:
Ace - can "cost" 11 or 1 point, depending on how it is better for a player
King, Queen, Jack - bring 10 points to a player
2-10's - bring the same points as their value, 8's gives you 8 points, 7's - 7 points etc.
When a player has a hand with an Ace, such hand is called to be "soft" because with such a card the player cannot lose at once because of a chance to choose how many points this Ace brings: 11 or 1.
The best combination to win at blackjack is a hand of 21 points which is called Blackjack (or Natural). In fact, this is the sum of 10-valued card (10, Jack, Queen, King) and an Ace which is counted as 11. Any other combination which totals 21 but consists of the other cards is not a Blackjack, just 21 points.
So, how is the game of blackjack played? The first step is making bets: all bets are made before the cards have been dealt both to a player and a dealer. After that a dealer deals two cards to each player: one card is dealt being faced down and the second one - being faced up. When both a dealer and a player have their cards and see the sum of points they have got, the following options of the game can be chosen:
Hit - it is one of the most popular options which a player can choose after seeing his/her hand's result. Hit means taking one more card when you see that you can improve your result in such a way and become closer to 21 points. A dealer gives a player one more card faced up when s/he chooses to Hit.
Stand - the second most common option chosen by players. Stand means asking for no more cards when you see that your two initial cards were quite enough for winning, or you see that you can easily bust if you take one more card.
Split - when a player has two initial cards of the same nomination (for example two 10's or two Kings) s/he has a right to ask for splitting it into two hands. In this case a dealer gives two more cards to a player - one for each new hand - and a player continues to play with two hands dealt: s/he plays with the first hand till the time s/he stands or busts, and after that begins playing with the second hand. When you split, your initial bet is duplicated for your second hand too.
Double Down - if a player is completely sure that his/her hand will be the winning one and it will definitely beat a dealer's hand, s/he may ask for doubling down: the initial bet is doubled in this case and a player receives the third card from a dealer. After this third card a player does not have a right to take more cards to his/her hand. A small hint for a player is the following: always double when you have 11 points if a dealer does not have an Ace (11 points too); also double when you have 10 or 9 points if a dealer does not have 10's.
Surrender - if a player is not sure about his/her hand at all and considers this hand to be very bad for winning, s/he can ask for surrender. This means that a player stops the game and takes only a half of his/her bet back.
Insurance - this option can be the first player's one when s/he wants to protect him/herself from loss. If a dealer's up card is an Ace, a player can bet on whether a dealer has a blackjack or not. This bet should be equal to that one which was a player's initial and therefore a player is protected from losing his/her initial bet in a case. If insurance wins, it is paid 2:1; but as a player has lost his/her initial bet already, s/he is paid only 1:1. Anyway, according to the blackjack strategy, it is not very profitable to take insurance.