One of my friend group’s most anticipated weekly events is our blackjack Thursday nights. It’s basically a night where we come to a friend’s house bringing food and drinks and play blackjack until around 12 midnight. We’ve had this tradition ever since we realized we enjoy playing the game about 4 years ago. Since then, we have hardly missed a game night and our group has expanded from four members to 10 or 12 members. A few of our officemates have joined in as well as our individual significant others. Suffice to say blackjack game night is a big part of staying close with my friends.
Before starting a game we shuffle the cards. We ask one player to cut the cart and insert the cut into the deck then we insert it into the shoe. Before dealing cards to the players, we remove the first card from the deck and discard it without looking at it. This is called a “burn” card and why we do it is a mystery to us but we’ve always done it this way and no one seems to complain. Then players are asked to put their bets down before they receive their cards. We always deal left to right from the dealer with one card facing up for each player, then a down card for the dealer. We follow it up with a second card facing up for the players then an up card for the dealer.
If the assigned dealer’s up card is an ace, he asks the players if they want insurance. We are allowed to make a separate insurance bet and for our game, it pays 2-to-1. For example, if my initial bet is $6, I could lose it all if the dealer has blackjack. If I make an insurance bet of $3, I may lose $6 but stand to win $6 from my insurance bet. Normally, I never make insurance bets unless I’m card counting and I calculated that there is a high chance the dealer’s down card is a 10.
If we, as players, get blackjack and the dealer do not, our rule is we are paid 3/2 of our initial bet. So if our bet is $10, we receive $15. If, however, the dealer also has blackjack, this is considered a “push” and every player who got blackjack gets to keep their money. All other players who didn’t get blackjack lose their bet.
Hit, Stand, Double Down, or Surrender
If we hit, the dealer deals us with one card. If we busted, going over 21, we are out of the game and our bets are collected, leaving only their cards on the table. If we didn’t bust, we can take another hit. After a hit, we can no longer split or double down. Players who want to double down receive one more card then they must stand. They should also double their initial bet. If we surrender, we forfeit our hand but we get to keep half of our initial bet. This is a good strategy for when we receive a 15 and the dealer has a 10-point up card.