Knowing how to play blackjack includes understanding the blackjack rules for the players and the dealers. These rules are different for each, and the dealer has much less flexibility when making decisions than the player does.
Each player and the dealer are dealt two cards. The dealer always receives one card face up and one card face down.
Scoring is based on a point total based on the cards' ranks. Suits are irrelevant.
Cards are worth their face value, except for aces and face cards. Aces are worth one OR eleven, while all face cards count as ten. Hands with an ace in them are called "soft" hands; cards without an ace, or cards where an ace MUST be counted as "one" to avoid going bust are called "hard hands".
The goal of the game is to beat the dealer by having a higher point total than the dealer while not "busting out".
Any total over 21 is considered a "bust" and is an automatic loss.
A two hand total of 21 is considered a blackjack and usually pays out at 3 to 2, but sometimes pays out at 6 to 5. A winning hand pays even money, a losing hand results in a loss for the player, and a tie is called a "push", which simply returns the player's bet.
The player has the following decisions available:
dealer doesn't get to make decisions; she must play according to the rules set for her by the casino. Normally the dealer must continue to hit her hand until she reaches a total of 17 or better. Depending on the casino, the dealer may or may not have to continue to hit once she gets a soft 17 too. Is online blackjack rigged? Play at a reputable online casino and you won't have to worry.
You may also be interested in learning about Blackjack Skills, overcoming Blackjack Weaknesses, Blackjack Myths and the constantly asked question: Is Online Blackjack Legal? We also have information about The SAFE Port Act of 2006.