So you've built a blackjack table and now you want to have some friends over to show it off! There are two problems.
You want to look like you know how to deal blackjack.
Gambling with friends and family can be a delicate situation. You want everyone to have a good time and not lose their shirts.
DealingI don't think there's one set way to deal blackjack. There are, however, some guidelines that should be followed. Before beginning, shuffle the cards. Have a player cut the deck by inserting a "cut" card into the deck. The cut shouldn't be cut too close to either end of the deck. Next, put the cards in the shoe. Finally, before you begin, discard the first card in the deck without looking at it. This is called the "burn" card and, for some reason, is always discarded without being used. Before dealing, make sure all players put a bet in their betting circle. This can be a BIG problem in friendly games where people often forget to place their bets and then receive their cards. If this happens, the person really shouldn't be allowed to place a bet after seeing their cards. Just play the hand with no bet. Deal from the dealer's left to right (start with the player to your far left.) Deal one up card to each player, followed by a down card to the dealer. Then deal a second up card to each player, followed by the dealer's up card. Make sure the cards are laid out diagonally so that both numbers on each card are visible. This makes it easy for both the player and the dealer to read the cards. See the following diagram:
If the dealer's up card is an Ace, ask if anyone wants insurance. Players may place a separate "insurance" bet. They are betting that the dealer HAS blackjack. It pays 2-to-1. So, if a player has $10 bet on their hand, they could lose it all if the dealer has blackjack. So, they can bet $5 on insurance. If the dealer has blackjack, they lose their original $10 put win $10 on the insurance bet. If the dealer doesn't have blackjack, they lose the $5 but still might win the $10 bet. Despite what is described above, insurance is a BAD bet (unless the player has been counting cards and knows there's a good chance of the down card being a 10.) The bet pays 2-to-1, but there's slightly worse than a 2-to-1 chance of the dealer having blackjack. Thus, the payout is worse than the odds. If the dealer has a 10 or Ace up, peek at the down card to see if the dealer has blackjack. If so, every player who doesn't have blackjack loses immediately and their bet is collected. Player who were dealt blackjack keep their money - it's a "push." Starting with the player to the dealer's left, play each hand until it is completed before moving on. If a player has blackjack (and the dealer DOES NOT, ) pay the player 3/2 their bet. If they bet $5, you pay them $7.50, for example. If the dealer also has blackjack, it's a "push" and nobody wins. They keep their money. If the minimum bet is $1, for example, make sure you have a 50-cent chip. This way, you can pay $1.50 if they get blackjack with a minimum bet. Of course, don't allow them to place bets with 50-cent chips. However, they can redeem two 50-cent chips for a $1 chip. Ask the player if they want to hit, stand, double down, or surrender. If they have a pair, they may also split.
If they hit, add another card in the same pattern as the above picture. If they've "busted" by going over 21, immediately collect their money and move on to the next player. Leave their cards on the table until all players are finished. If they didn't bust, they may choose again.
After taking a hit, a player may no longer split or double down. They may only hit or stand.
If a player stands, move on to the next player.
If a player doubles down, they only receive one more card and then MUST stand. They must also double their bet by placing a second bet behind their original bet. The card should be dealt sideways, like in the following picture:
If a player surrenders, they forfeit the hand, but get to keep half their money. This is a good strategy if the player is dealt 15 and the dealer has a 10-point card showing, for example. Collect half their bet and leave their cards on the table. If a player splits, they must double their bet by placing a second bet next to the original bet. Separate their two cards and then deal one card to the hand to the dealer's left. Play this hand out entirely before continuing to the second hand. Some casinos will allow splits after splitting - this is up to you.
Hosting a Friendly PartyHere are some suggestions for hosting a friendly blackjack party if your goal isn't just to make money.
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