Q:

# How do you play 21?

A:

Blackjack, which is also known as 21, is a card game played with either four, six or eight decks. In this game, the player must beat the dealer by accumulating cards with with a total face value that is equal to 21, or get a hand that is as close to 21 as possible without going over. The player wins if the total of their cards reaches 21, or if their total is closer to 21 than the cards of the dealer.

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Credit: kuhnmi CC-BY-2.0

Every game of 21 starts with the dealer giving out two cards to each player. The value of the cards are their numbers, except for face cards, which are all valued at 10. The ace can have a value of either 1 or 11 depending on the discretion of the player. After the players have their cards, they have several options that they can take to advance the play of the game.

The two primary options are to hit, or stand. When a player hits, they take another card in hopes of getting closer to 21. If the player goes over 21, they bust or lose the game. If their cards match the dealers, then it's a push. When a player stands, they choose to not draw any cards in the hopes that their current total is enough to beat the dealer.

If a player chooses to hit, they may also have the option to split - which can only be done if a player has two cards of the same denomination, or double down. When a player splits, they make a second bet equal to the first, and their original hand is used to create two separate hands along with two new cards. The player then has the option of hitting or standing on those two new hands. Doubling down is when the player doubles their original bet and receives a single additional card in hopes of winning.

In 21, the dealer has to play by a certain set of rules. If the total of their cards is 16 or less they are required to hit, but on 17 or above they can stand. If the dealer has 21 then it's an automatic lose for all players, unless they also have 21, then it's a push.

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