Basic Rules of Blackjack
Playing the cards
The player or players are dealt a two-card hand and add together the value of their cards. Face cards (kings, queens, and jacks) are counted as ten points. A player and the dealer can count an ace as 1 point or 11 points. All other cards are counted as the numeric value shown on the card.
After receiving their first two cards, players have the option of getting a "hit", or taking an additional card. In a given round, the player or the dealer wins by having a score of 21 or by having the higher score that is less than 21. Scoring higher than 21 (called "busting" or "going bust") results in a loss.
A player may win by having any final score equal to or less than 21 if the dealer busts. If a player holds an ace valued as 11, the hand is called "soft", meaning that the player cannot go bust by taking an additional card; 11 plus the value of any other card will always be less than or equal to 21. Otherwise, the hand is "hard".
The dealer must hit until the cards total 17 or more points. (At many tables the dealer also hits on a "soft" 17, i.e. a hand containing an ace and one or more other cards totaling six.) Players win by not busting and having a total higher than the dealer's.
The dealer loses by busting or having a lesser hand than the player who has not busted. If the player and dealer have the same total, this is called a "push", and the player typically does not win or lose money on that hand.
After receiving an initial two cards, the player has up to four standard options: "hit", "stand", "double down", or "split". Each option has a corresponding hand signal. Some games give the player a fifth option, "surrender".
Hit: Take another card from the dealer.
Stand: Take no more cards, also known as "stand pat", "stick", or "stay".
Double down: The player is allowed to increase the initial bet by up to 100% in exchange for committing to stand after receiving exactly one more card. The additional bet is placed in the betting box next to the original bet. Some games do not permit the player to increase the bet by amounts other than 100%. Non-controlling players may double their wager or decline to do so, but they are bound by the controlling player's decision to take only one card.
Split: If the first two cards of a hand have the same value, the player can split them into two hands, by moving a second bet equal to the first into an area outside the betting box. The dealer separates the two cards and draws an additional card on each, placing one bet with each hand. The player then plays out the two separate hands in turn; except for a few restrictions, the hands are treated as independent new hands, with the player winning or losing their wager separately for each hand. Occasionally, in the case of ten-valued cards, some casinos allow splitting only when the cards have the identical ranks; for instance, a hand of 10-10 may be split, but not one of 10-king. However, usually all 10-value cards are treated the same. Doubling and further splitting of post-split hands may be restricted, and blackjacks after a split are counted as non-blackjack 21 when comparing against the dealer's hand. Hitting split aces is usually not allowed. Non-controlling players may follow the controlling player by putting down an additional bet or decline to do so, instead associating their existing wager with one of the two post-split hands. In that case they must choose which hand to play behind before the second cards are drawn. Some casinos do not give non-controlling players this option, and require that the wager of a player not electing to split remains with the first of the two post-split hands.
Surrender (only available as first decision of a hand): Some games offer the option to "surrender", usually in hole-card games and directly after the dealer has checked for blackjack (but see below for variations). When the player surrenders, the house takes half the player's bet and returns the other half to the player; this terminates the player's interest in the hand.