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Blackjack Cards and Hands Value

Understanding the hand and card values in Blackjack is easy and intuitive and it does not require memorizing any specific combinations, like in poker. Because the object of the game is to amass a total of 21, there shouldn’t be any mistake as to what we will be talking about. If you are not very familiar with the rules of Blackjack, its okay; for what are the rules if we don;t know our card and hand values yet.

The Deck

Before we go into any lengthy discussions regarding the different card and hand values, I feel like clarifying the rules when it comes to the deck itself. Most casinos will employ as much as 6-8 decks for a game of Blackjack, while others will use only a single deck. Almost all variations of the game (except Spanish 21, and a few others) play with the complete set of 52 cards.


Card Values

Even if playing with a single, 52 card deck, you must still know the exact value of each individual card in that deck (and in your hand). There are 14 different cards in each deck with 4 corresponding suits for each card there. *Note that suits play no role in the game of Blackjack. The cards go from 2 – A, or 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,(10,J,Q,K*)A in value. It is a good time to mention that an Ace can be either 1 or 11, depending on what is best for the hand. Also, 10, J, Q, K all share the common value of 10.


Hand Values

Now that we have familiarized ourselves with the different card values, it is time to talk about the hand as a whole. The game will begin by the dealer handing each player at the table 2 cards. Like we know from Blackjack 101, the object of the game is to get to 21 the closest without going over (or having a greater total from that of the dealer). So like any 4th grader will tell you, you cannot get two cards that will put you over the 21 limit in your initial hand. Even if you are dealt two Aces, whose joint value will be 22 (11+11) , again doesn’t bust you, for you can always substitute 11 for 1, and 12 total (11+1=12). The best hand a person can have is an Ace and a 10 card (K,Q,J,10), because when you add them up together you get an instant Blackjack/Natural (10+11=21). Of course this is not going to happen very often; in most cases you will get a random combination of cards that is going to value anywhere between a 4 and 21.


Hitting and Doubling Down

Hitting refers to the player increasing his hand value by one card; either by tapping the area behind the bet with his finger, or scratching the table with a nail. The dealer will then dispense one more card out of his ‘shoe’ and inquire whether or not you would like another hit. A player can hit as much as he likes; but go over 21 and the game is as good as over. Hitting is a tricky business, considering that it is so easy to miss the 21 mark. Let’s look at this example: You were dealt a 6 and a 7 (6+7=13). To win, you need to draw an 8 or less to avoid busting. Draw a 10 card at this point, and you will be well over the 21 mark (6+7=13+10=23). A double down is basically just like a hit, but you must also throw in a second bet, equal of the first one, and you will be dealt 1 more card only, and that’s it. Some casinos will only allow doubling down if your total hand value is 9,10 or 11.

Splitting and Pairs

Cards also have special properties if they share a common value. This means that all pairs (2-9) all 10 value cards (J,Q,K,10) and all Aces can be split into two hands. Basically if you have 2 cards of equal value, you ask the dealer to split your cards into two separate hands. He will then deal an additional card to each card he split. For example, if you have an a pair of 6s (6+6), you can ask for a split. The dealer will take both 6s and place them next to each other. Then he will deal one additional card to each, let’s say an A and a 5. So in one hand you will have (6+A=17) and in the other (6+5=11), both excellent hands.


More Articles Covering Blackjack

Blackjack Basics
Blackjack Rules
Blackjack Variations
Multi Hand Blackjack
Single Deck Blackjack Rules
Vegas Downtown Blackjack
Vegas Strip Blackjack Rules
Atlantic City Blackjack
How to Hit a Hand
Splitting Hands in Blackjack
Insurance in Blackjack
Surrender in Blackjack
Standing a Hand
Blackjack Double Down
Splitting Hands in Blackjack
Blackjack Odds
Blackjack Strategy for Playing Hands
Blackjack Cards and Hands Value

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