Blackjack Card Values You Need to Know

Apr 21, 2023

While blackjack may initially appear to be a straightforward casino table game, mastering it requires understanding intricate details to increase one’s chances of winning. There are numerous hands in blackjack, each with its unique meaning and potential outcome. To win, players must grasp the significance of each hand, as this knowledge can transform a weak starting hand into a winning one.
Although most people know that 21 is the “magic number” in blackjack, many are unfamiliar with the value of individual cards. This article will thoroughly review the value of cards in blackjack, delve into the game’s objective, explore the dealer’s hand, and outline potential scenarios. In one way or another, it will lay out all the important basics that someone must learn to know how to play blackjack in Vegas.

Value of Cards in Blackjack

It is impossible for a player to accurately assess their hand value and determine their proximity to winning or losing in blackjack without understanding the card values.
Blackjack is typically played with a standard 52-card deck, although up to eight decks may be used depending on the number of players at the table or the casino’s preference. It saves valuable time that would otherwise be spent on the dealer shuffling single decks after most rounds.
Card values range from Ace to King. They include the following: Ace, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Jack, Queen, and King. Number cards, the ones valued from 2 to 10, assume their face or nominal value, so a two is valued at 2, and a ten is valued at 10. Number cards can only have one value which is printed on the face of the card. 

How Much Is a King Worth in Blackjack?

The King card is a face card; it does not have a number on it to assume its value, so the game assigns one for it. A King has a value of 10, which only has one value and cannot assume any other. 

How Much Is a Queen in Blackjack?

Like the King card, a Queen card does not have a numerical value printed on it, and it is valued at 10, just like a King. It has only one designated value and cannot assume any other value. 

How Much Is a Jack in Blackjack?

Jack is the third face card in the deck. Like the King and Queen, it does not have a number value printed on it, so it is assigned the same value as the previous two of 10. And just like them, it cannot assume any other value. 

How Much Is an Ace in Blackjack? 

Each face card (King, Queen, and Jack) assumes a value of 10, but the Ace is the kicker in the game, being the only card that can assume two values, 1 or 11. The Ace is unique in blackjack as it is the only card that can assume two values. Similarly, blackjack is unique among casino card games, allowing the Ace to have two potential values.
One of the unique aspects of blackjack is that the Ace can assume one of two values. The Ace’s value is determined depending on the other cards in the player’s hand, which can greatly affect the overall value of the player’s hand and the cards they hold.

The Object of the Game 

The player aims to draw cards totaling 21 or as close to 21 as possible, closer than the dealer, but without going over. In casinos, players typically place their bets first, and then the dealer deals two cards to each player and themselves, with one of the dealer’s cards facing up and the other facing down. Some casinos may have dealers who wait to draw their second card until players have played their hands.
Once the player has two cards in front of them, they can choose to either stand or hit to improve their card count. If a player’s card count goes over 21, they bust. In some game variations, players can double down their bets, split their hands into two, surrender half of their bet if they feel they are losing, or insure their bet if they think the dealer is about to draw a blackjack. 

The Terminology Explained:

  1. Standing in blackjack means not drawing more cards.
  2. Hitting in blackjack means drawing one card or more until the player likes their hand.
  3. Busting in blackjack is having a total of over 21, so it simply means losing.  
  4. Doubling down in blackjack is placing an additional bet equal to the original one and drawing one additional card. Doubling down can only be done on the first two cards. 
  5. Splitting in blackjack is for a player to split their hand into two separate hands and bet for the new hand when having two cards of the same rank. 
  6. Insurance in blackjack is for the player to choose to place a side bet of up to half the value of the first bet when the dealer shows an Ace.
  7. Surrendering in blackjack is for a player to abandon their hand and recover half of their original bet, and surrendering is only available as the first and only action. 

The Dealer’s Hand 

Dealers are bound by some key rules that usually work in favor of the players because they govern when the dealer can hit and when they can stand. These rules often involve a hand totaling 17, which requires the dealer to hit on 17 and stand on any hand with a total of 17 or higher. 
There is a soft 17 and a hard 17:
  1. A soft 17: A soft hand includes an Ace that is valued at 11 as opposed to 1. So a soft 17 is an Ace plus a 6.
  2. A hard 17: A hard hand does not include an Ace or a hand where the Ace has to count at 1 to avoid busting. 
Dealers must take another card if they can hit until they reach a hard 17 and if they are dealt a soft 17, which is generally unfavorable for players. This is because drawing another card will force the Ace to drop in value from 11 to 1, greatly improving the dealer’s hand. Dealers are required to stand when they have a hard 17 and hit when they have a soft 17.
In classic 21 games, blackjack rules demand that the dealer’s face-down card be drawn or flipped over after players complete their hands. Dealers must hit when they have a total of 16 or fewer and stand if they have 18 or more. 

What Can Happen? 

There are only five possible outcomes to each round when playing blackjack. The outcomes are:
  1. If the player achieves a score of 21 or less but still being higher than the dealer, the player wins.
  2. If the player has a total of 21 or fewer and the dealer busts (goes over 21), the player wins. 
  3. If the player scores 21 or less and the dealer beats it without busting, the player loses, and the dealer wins. 
  4. If the player busts, the hand of the dealer is unimportant, and the player loses. 
  5. If the player and the dealer tie, the player gets to save their bet without winning. 

To Conclude 

Mastering blackjack requires knowing the basic card values and understanding the game’s nuances, including the dealer’s hand and the various actions a player can take. Being familiar with the terminology and rules is essential for players to make strategic decisions and potentially turn a weak hand into a winning one. Only then, blackjack may be as simple as bingo table games for experienced players.

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