Casino Blackjack: Rules of the Game

The game of blackjack or 21 is the most popular table game offered in casinos. If you are unfamiliar with the rules of casino blackjack or simply need some clarification on the finer points, you’ve come to the right place! I will tell you everything you need to know to play the game, and also explain the few rules that can differ from one casino to another.

If you are new to casino table games, it can be a bit intimidating the first time that you sit down at a blackjack table. Everything seems to move so fast, and more importantly, everyone else sure seems to know what they are doing!

Don’t worry. It’s really quite easy. Follow along, and you’ll know exactly what to expect at the table.

Hopefully I’ve covered just about everything you need. But if you have other questions, feel free to post a reply at the bottom of the page.

While you are here, check out some of our most popular features:

Blackjack Strategy TrainerWant to practice? Our free blackjack game lets you play at your pace, and the Strategy Coach provides instant feedback on the best strategy.

Strategy ChartTo find the best strategy, use our most popular resource: The Blackjack Strategy Engine provides free strategy charts that are optimized for your exact rules.

If you prefer a plastic card that you can take to the table with you, we have those too: Blackjack Basic Strategy Cards.

The original version of this explanation of the rules of blackjack has a very long history here at I created and published it here sometime in 1998. It was widely copied by other sites, and it has appeared without my permission on literally hundreds of sites over the years. When I relaunched BlackjackInfo with a new mobile-friendly design in 2014, I took the opportunity to rewrite much of the article, and break it into sections for easier reading on mobile devices.

16 comments on “Casino Blackjack: Rules of the Game

  • Larry D. said:

    Hello Ken, On a recent trip to Laughlin, Nevada, playing blackjack at the Riverside Casino, I was in total shock at the table rules. You can Double down ONLY on a HARD TEN / ELEVEN OR HIGHER, CAN’T DOUBLE DOWN ON ANY SOFT HANDS AND NO DOUBLE DOWN AFTER A SPLIT. Blackjack did pay 3/2 and dealer hits soft 17. Can a person win under those rules? I quit playing there. Any other suggestions? I generally play at the Indian Casinos in Calif. where the rules are more favorable to the player. The biggest problem of all is…………… my lovely lady friend loves the Colorado River and wants to go back. Thanks so much for any suggestions, Larry D. P.S. Please don’t suggest a new girlfriend.

    • Those rules are definitely tough. Even if it is a 2-deck game, the starting house edge in that game is still 0.75%.
      It’s been a long time since I played in Laughlin, but I would surprised if there aren’t better choices available. Look around at some of the other places and see what’s available.

  • Barry Cameron said:

    I’ve noticed that some advantage players hit on A+7 when the dealer has a 2 whereas your strategy here indicates that stand/stay would be the preferred choice with 8 decks, DAS, No surrender, and no peek. Any thoughts on this difference?

    • It is likely that you saw players doubling A7v2, not just hitting it. (Hitting would simply be a mistake, as it is the third best way to play the hand.)

      The choice of whether to stand or double with A7v2 is a close one.
      In fact, correct basic strategy for that hand depends on whether the dealer hits or stands on soft 17s.
      (The strategy engine takes all this into account when creating an accurate strategy chart for you.)

      In S17 games, you should stand.
      In H17 games, you should double. (Except in single deck.)

      Card counters will often double this hand even in S17 games, because it only takes a true count of +1 or more to make this the correct play.

  • Tell me about the best place to sit at a table in Vegas. I have heard that you do not want to be on the end.

    • If you are a basic strategy player, it makes no difference where you sit.
      If you are a card counter, you can see an extra few cards before you play your hand by sitting at the end, which helps a small bit.
      However, since many players are erroneously convinced that the “third-base” player can affect everyone’s results, they often are combative if they disagree with your play in that seat. For that reason, many players avoid it.

  • Artieboy said:

    Hi Ken:
    Didn’t your web site have a link to a page that had a very long list of different rules and their overall effect, for example 5 cards automatically wins, double on any 3, etc? I remember the link said “i have more rules here”. It was a cool list.

    Just wondering


  • The white steve harvey said:

    Tipping the dealer.
    common etiquette?

    • Yes, tipping the dealer is common. Just be aware of how much you are tipping over the course of an hour, and don’t let it get out of hand. If a dealer is pleasant, I like to tip a small amount on the hand after I get blackjack, but even then I skip some hands.

  • Hi,
    Love your website thank you I’m finding it very helpful! I’m wondering if you can please tell me if I use the Basic Strategy cards online blackjack will they work to be profitable overall in the long term if I follow the rules as they are? Thanks in advance!
    Warm regards,

    • Basic strategy will reduce the house edge, but not eliminate it. In typical games, your long-run expectation will be to lose around half a percent of your total action.

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