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Playing blackjack begins by selecting an available seat at the table and placing a bet in the corresponding betting circle. If you arrive while a hand is being played, you will not be dealt cards until the next hand.

If you've arrived after a shuffle, the dealer will instruct a player to "cut" the cards. The cutting of the cards rotates from player to player in a clockwise manner after every shuffle. The first card is burned and players are dealt cards starting with the player at first base. All players receive two initial cards.

At least one of the dealers cards are dealt face up. The down card is known as the hole card. If the dealers up card is an Ace, the dealer will ask if anyone would like to take insurance. Insurance is a bet that the dealers two initial cards have a total value of 21. Insurance bets are up to half of the players original bet. If the dealer has a blackjack, all players who took insurance will be paid 2 to 1 and all original bets are removed. If the dealer does not have blackjack, the insurance bet is lost.

If a player has an initial total card value of 21, their cards should be turned over immediately. Natural 21's or blackjacks are paid off at 3 to 2. If the player and the dealer have blackjack and insurance was not taken, the hand is a push or tie. If neither the dealer nor the player have a blackjack, play is continued with all players deciding how to play their hands respectively.


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Some casinos offer a bet known as surrender. By surrendering, the player automatically loses half their bet, but they do not have to play out the hand possibly losing their entire amount wagered. Always look for a casino offering surrender if you are serous about winning the next time you play blackjack. Using the surrender option increases the expected win rate by as much as .70 percent.


Doubling Down

Doubling down means to wager double the original bet that the player will win with only one more card dealt. Some casinos allow players to double down on any two cards while others only allow doubling down when the players first two cards total 10 or 11.

Players wishing to double down place a bet equal to or less than their original bet next to but not on top of their original bet.


Splitting Pairs

A pair is any two cards which have the same value. Players are allowed to split any pair dealt to them in their first two cards. Splitting pairs creates two separate hands which are played independently of each other. Players must put down another bet equal to their original wager for the new hand created by the split.

Players must indicate to the dealer that they are splitting pairs by separating both original cards face up and placing a wager beside both cards. The first split hand is played out completely before the second hand is played. If the player receives another card matching the original split cards, they may re-split creating another independent hand which requires another bet equal to their original wager.

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