The aim of the game is to beat the dealers hand by having a bigger count of cards. If a player goes over 21, he will be considered to have busted and the round is lost.
The player enters the game by placing his bet in one or more boxes on the table. Each box is dealt one card (from the dealers left to right) wherever theres a bet, the dealer gets his first card last and then a second card is dealt again on the players boxes. The players are then asked to take action (starting from the first player (box) on the left hand side of the dealer) based on the cards. The basic options are hit and stand but depending on the cards, the players can also split and/or double.
Split: If both cards are the same, for example 7, 7, the player is given the option to hit (take another card), stand (stop), double or split the cards in order to make 2 hands. If the hand is split, the dealer will deal 1 card on the left side and give you the options to hit/stand/double or if another same value card is dealt to split again. You can split up to 3x. After an action has been taken on the first split, the dealer will deal a card on the other split hand. In order to split, a player needs to put more money in the game to the same value as his original bet.
Double: Normally a casino will allow the players to double only if they have a count value of 9, 10 or 11. When a player doubles, he needs to put another bet which is the same value as his original bet. The dealer will deal one card only and the player cannot ask for more cards. Certain casinos will allow players to double on any value on the first two cards, even if the player has 14 or 15. Insurance: If the dealers first card is an Ace, he will offer insurance to the players. The players will have to put more money if they decide to take insurance (up to maximum half of the bet) and if the dealer gets a blackjack, they will be paid 2:1. If the dealer doesnt make a blackjack, the insurance bets will be lost.
The highest hand a player can get in the game is called a Blackjack and it consists of any ten value card and an ace, for example K, A. It can only be made on the first two original cards dealt (split cards do not count as blackjacks). Blackjacks are paid 3:2, which is if your bet was 20, you will be paid 30.
After all of the players have taken their actions in their hands, it will be the turn for the dealer to deal his own hand. The dealer cannot stop taking cards as he pleases but he needs to keep taking cards until hitting 17 or more. If a dealer busts (he goes over 21), all of the players still in the game will be paid even money, 1:1. If the dealers hand is valid (he has a count of not more than 21), the bets where the count is higher than the dealers will be paid, and the rest will have lost. If the count of the cards of the player and the dealer are the same, the dealer will announce a stand-off (push) and the player will have neither lost nor won.
In land based casinos, a maximum of 7 players can play at a table, seated and another 2 players can play on each box standing. Only the seated players have the right to decide on the actions in the game, the standing ones are only participating but dont have a say and have to abide to what the seated player decide.
The game is normally played with a 6 or 8 deck shoe.
Variation to the game:
Theres a slight difference between European Blackjack and American Blackjack. Where as in European blackjack, the dealer takes just one card on the first round (as above), in American blackjack the dealer will take two cards, same as the players.
House Edge: ~1%