Blackjack Game Play

This article will explain the game play involved in playing a multi-deck blackjack game, when the cards used are dealt from a shoe.

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In this variation of the game of blackjack, each player is dealt two cards that are placed face up on the blackjack table. The dealer himself gets one card that is also faced up and another card that is left face down. This card is known as the hole card. When all the cards have been dealt to all the blackjack players, the dealer will then ask each player to make a decision, beginning with the player seated to the left of the dealer. This particular position on the blackjack table is known as first base. The position of the last person in sequence is known as third base.

The decision about how to play your hand should be based on the up card of the dealer, as well as the two cards that you have been dealt. Most beginning blackjack players go by the assumption that the dealer has a ten card in the hole. Now obviously this is not always necessarily the case, but assuming this serves to give you something to base your decision on.

In virtually all blackjack games, the players will use hand signals to signify their decisions. This allows the blackjack game to progress at a constant smooth pace and avoids the possibility of any miscommunications between the blackjack player and the dealer. Using hand signals also allows the casino personnel to monitor the blackjack game through the "eye in the sky" which is installed in virtually all casinos.

Keep in mind that since in this blackjack game the cards are dealt from a shoe, the blackjack players are not allowed to touch the cards.

If either the blackjack player or the dealer receives an ace card along with a card that has a value of ten, the subsequent total of 21 is known as a blackjack. Also called a "natural", this hand will result in the player being paid out 3 to 2 for his wager, unless the dealer also gets a "natural" at the same time. When the dealer and the blackjack player do get a blackjack together, it is called a push. Obviously, if the dealer holds the only blackjack on the table, then all the other players lose.
Taking a "hit" signifies the blackjack player’s intention to draw another card. This action is typically signified by the player tapping the table in front of him or making a beckoning motion with his hand. A request for another card is communicated by repeating the previous hand motion.
A "stand" is when the player signals the dealer that he or she is satisfied with the first two cards or after being "hit". Waving the hand over the top of the cards is the normal way to signify your decision to stand.

Doubling down is when the blackjack doubles his or her bet after receiving the first two cards of the hand. This move is typically done in situations that are clearly favorable for the player, and allows him or her to double the maximum bet.