How to Play Blackjack or "21"

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It just takes minutes to learn one of the most popular casino games in the world. In Blackjack, you are trying to draw cards that total or come closer to 21 than those held by the dealer, without going over 21 and "busting." You can win (by beating the dealer), tie (or “push”) or lose. All cards are counted at face value with the Jack, Queen, and King worth ten and the Ace worth one or eleven. Winning bets pay even money - an amount equal to your bet - with the exception of "Blackjack" ( a ten - valued card plus an Ace) which pays 3-to-2.

How to Play

To begin, each player makes a wager and the dealer deals two cards face up to each player. The dealer receives one card face up and one card face down. This is called the "Hole Card." Players will make decisions based on their two cards and the dealer's up card. Since players are asked not to touch their cards, you must use hand signals to signify to the dealer your decisions. If you feel you can beat the dealer with no further cards, you must signify "stand" by making a lateral waving motion with your hand over the cards. If you feel you need another card to beat the dealer, you must signify a "hit" by scratching the felt behind your bet with your fingers. Once all players have made their decisions, the dealer then reveals their "Hole Card." If necessary, the dealer may be required to draw additional cards. Princess Blackjack dealers must draw to any hand count up to and including 16 and stand on any hard 17* or above (*any 17 on Dawn, Sea & Sun Princess in Australia).

Variations

DOUBLE DOWN - (Placed behind the original bet) - If you think that you can beat the dealer with only one additional card, you may Double Down. Players are permitted to Double Down on any two cards by placing chips up to the value of their original bet.

SPLITTING PAIRS - (Placed at the side of the original bet) - If your first two cards are a pair (two cards of the same value - for example, a king and a queen or two nines), you may split them into two hands with a wager equal to the original bet. Once the hands are split and the bets are made, the first hand is played out before receiving any cards for the second hand. The split hand may be split again up to three times (making four separate hands). A pair of Aces may only be split once and each Ace receives only one card to make the hand. An Ace that receives a ten-value card counts as 21, not as a Blackjack.

INSURANCE - (Placed on the insurance line) - If the dealer's up card is an Ace, you may take insurance. By doing so, you are betting that the dealer's next card will be of a ten-value. An insurance wager is up to one-half of the original bet. If the dealer has a Blackjack, you lose your original bet and your insurance bet is paid 2-to-1. If the dealer does not have a Blackjack, the insurance bet is taken and the game continues.

These simple key rules will help you as you play:

1. If your total is closer to "21" than the dealer's you win.
2. If you "Hit" and your total is more than "21" you lose.
3. If you and the dealer have the same total it is a tie, called a "push."
While onboard, please don't hesitate to ask your friendly dealer if you have any questions.

*Any 17 on Dawn, Sea and Sun Princess in Australia

Onboard Activities

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