How to Play Blackjack

It’s just you against the dealer in this fast-paced game that requires a combination of both luck and strategy.

Blackjack is also known as 21, and for good reason. The aim of the game is to score higher than the dealer without going over 21. If you go over 21, you bust. But if you beat the dealer, you collect the winnings.

The Deal

Blackjack is played with standard 52-card decks, and with the jokers removed.

The value of each card is the same as it’s number. Kings, Queens and Jacks (Picture cards) count as 10 and depending on the cards you are given, you can choose whether you want an Ace in your hand to be worth 1 or 11.

More than one person usually plays against the same dealer at a table, but these players don’t play against each other: you’re only ever trying to beat the dealer’s hand.

At the beginning of the game players are dealt 1 card each and then the dealer deals themselves 1 card.The dealer then deals one more card to each player. . All cards are dealt face up for everyone to see.

The best hand is to have an Ace and a King, Queen,Jack or 10.  This is called a ‘Blackjack’ and means that you automatically win, unless the dealer’s first card is an Ace or a ten value card, and you are paid one and a half times your bet.

If you and the dealer both get Blackjack at the same time, the bet is considered a stand-off and you take your chips back.However if the dealer alone has a Blackjack, every player who does not have blackjack loses their bet. 

The Play

Wagers are placed in the boxes on the table. There can be up to three bets in one box. The person who has the front bet on a box controls that box. Play starts from the Dealer’s left hand side (box one). Each player has to choose between two actions: whether to stand (not receive any more cards), or hit (ask the dealer for another card). A player will generally keep receiving cards one at a time until they believe their hand is strong enough to beat the dealer. But remember: if your hand goes over 21, you’ll bust and lose the hand.

When all the players have finished, it is the dealer’s turn. The dealer draws their second card. If their hand totals 17 or more the dealer must stand. If it is 16 or less, they must continue to draw until their total reaches 17 or more.

If any player has a higher hand than the dealer’s, then that player wins. If the dealer busts then all the remaining players who have not already bust win.

No matter how many people play at a table, ultimately it’s a two-person showdown: you versus the dealer. No one else’s cards or decisions affect you.


You place your bet by putting your chips in the betting box before the cards are dealt. The dealer will call “no more bets” and after this you cannot place a bet or change your bet.

If you achieve Blackjack with your first two cards (and the dealer does not get a Blackjack), you keep your original bet and receive a further 1.5 times your original bet from the dealer. A bet of $20 will mean you keep your $20 , plus win $30 from the dealer.

If you score higher than the dealer or the dealer busts, you keep your original bet and also win the equivalent amount from the dealer. 

If you score lower than the dealer or bust, your bet is taken by the dealer.

If you have an equal score to the dealer, this is a stand-off and you keep your original bet but don’t win any money from the dealer.


Extra elements

There are some extra rules and choices that you can make to make the game more exciting. None of these extra options are available to the dealer.


If the two cards you are initially dealt have the same value or are the same Picture Card, you can decide to split these cards into two separate hands. The dealer will deal another card to the first card and then you decide to stand or draw more cards.

It is possible to split your hand up to three times, except with Aces which may only be split to form two hands. Aces that have been split may only receive one more card to each hand.. 

To split you cards you must place a bet next to your original bet which is equal to your original bet. The hands are then treated separately and as soon as you bust or decide to stand with your first hand, you carry on with your next hand.

When you split Aces you cannot get Blackjack. A hand of an Ace and a 10 value card will have a score of 21. You will not receive the bonus that is usually awarded to Blackjacks.

Doubling Down

If your first two cards have a total of 9, 10 or 11 (without Aces), you can choose to double your original bet before you are dealt your third card. You can also partially double-down with a wager that is less than your original bet.

If you have decided to do this, you will only be dealt one additional card.

If the dealer obtains blackjack, the original and the double bet are both lost.


After the initial cards have been dealt, if the dealer’s first card is an ace, you can make a side bet (up to half of your original bet) on whether the dealer will get blackjack.

If the dealer gets Blackjack then the insurance bets are then paid at double the amount of that bet.

If the dealer does not make blackjack, the insurance money is lost.

Any Pair

Prior to any cards being dealt, you can place a side bet that your first two cards will be of the same face value. This bet is solely on the cards you receive and has nothing to do with the dealer’s cards.

These bets are paid at odds of 11-1, regardless of the colour or suit of the cards.

Blackjack variants

Freebet Blackjack and Party Blackjack

There are also two other variants of Blackjack which are offered at SKYCITY Adelaide Casino. Both of these variants have similar rules to Blackjack but there are some changes which make each game unique.

Freebet Blackjack 

In this game you can double-down or split your hand using the house’s money. You therefore do not risk any of your money. Another change to normal Blackjack is that all dealer hands totalling 22 become a stand-off, instead of a win for the player.

The dealer, in the normal dealing process, will offer a “Freebet” to the customer on a 2 card total of 9, 10 or 11. If you do want to “Freebet” double then the dealer will place a special button (lammer) next to your bet. If your hand wins then we pay your bet twice.

If you want to split your cards, the dealer will place a lammer next to your bet and make two separate hands. You can split your hand up to three times (except Aces). You can still split 10’s but if you wish to you must use your own money.

All doubles and splits formed from a “Freebet” can also be offered “Freebet”.

Party Blackjack

Party Blackjack also has similar rules as Blackjack except that the dealer must draw a card when their total is less than 16 or is a soft 17.

In this game all dealer hands totalling 22 become a stand-off, instead of a win for the player 

If you win with a blackjack hand in this game, you keep your original bet and receive a further 1.2 times your original bet from the dealer. A bet of $10 will mean you keep your $10 , plus win $12 from the dealer.