Before each blackjack game begins each player at the table will place their bet. Once the game is over bets are paid out. Players that bust lose. Players that then get a lower value than the dealer also lose. Players who beat the dealer win. Players that also get an initial blackjack on their first two cards win that hand straight away.
Players who beat the dealer are returned double their initial bet. Players who get blackjack are returned 1.5 times their initial bet. Players who match the dealer’s card value are given back their initial bet. This is also true if both you and the dealer have blackjack – You don’t get 1.5 times your bet in this case. If the dealer busts then all the players who remain in the game win their bets.
There are also several other side bets than can be made while a game of blackjack is in progress. These include: Insurance, Surrender, Even Money, Double Down and Split.
Insurance: This is when the dealer has an Ace as their face-up card. You can offer half your initial bet as insurance so that if the dealer’s face-down card is a 10 (which would be a blackjack), then you get 2-1 odds on your insurance – i.e. your initial bet back. This is often not a good bet to place because the odds are massively in favour of the dealer at around 8%.
Surrender: If you think that you are most likely going to lose your hand, then you can surrender it to get half your bet back.
Even money: This is very similar to insurance and works in this way. If you already have a blackjack and the dealer has an Ace as their face-up card, they will give you an offer to receive even money before he turns over his “hole” (2nd card). This means that if you bet £100, you would get back your stake + an extra £100 = £200. This means you double your money and safeguards against you getting back just your steak if the dealer has blackjack as well. If you choose not to accept even money you have a chance of getting your steak of £100 + £150 winnings = £250. It is advisable, like with the insurance, not to accept even money, because although the dealer can get blackjack sometimes, it is a low probability. Over time you will win more by choosing not to take even money.
Double down: Once your two cards are dealt, you can choose to “double down”. This means that if you think you have good enough cards, then you can double your steak, but with a rule of only being allowed to hit one more card. Some casinos will also allow for you to double down if you split your cards.