The player places his bet inside the circle or square in front of him.
Once the first two cards have been dealt to every player at the table, a player indicates his desire to receive additional cards by making a special motion with his hand or with his cards.
The player indicates that he does not want any additional cards by either by making a special motion with his hand, or if the cards at the table have been dealt down, by placing his cards under his chips.
The “house” usually allows a player to “split” the first two cards dealt if they are pairs. If the player splits his pair, he must make an additional wager up to or equal to the current wager. The player now has an opportunity to play two hands at once. Depending on the situation in which the player splits the pair, he may increase his chances to make (or lose) more money. Now the two hands are played as if the player is playing two separate distinct hands. On occasion when the player is dealt another identical card, he may split yet again, depending on the casino.
When a player splits aces, the house usually only allows the player to take one additional card for each ace.
A player usually has the right to “double down” his bet after he is dealt the first two cards. Some casinos place limitations on when a player can do this, but many casinos have no restrictions at all. If your first two cards total “10”, for example, and you want to “double down” your bet, simply make sure your cards are both face up, then place a bet up to or equal to the amount of your original bet right next to the original bet on the table. The dealer will deal you more card and one card only.
Double Down After Spliting
After your cards are split you may receive a card on one or both of your new hands where doubling down would now be advantageous. Not all casinos allow this.
The player may decide that he does not like the value of his first two cards compared to the dealer’s “up” card and so decides to “fold” his hand. If the player folds, the casino will only take 50% of the player’s original bet. Not all casinos allow this opportunity, however.
If the dealer’s “up” card is an ace, the dealer will ask players at the table if anyone would like to “take out Insurance.”
Insurance allows a player to protect the value of his original bet by giving the player the opportunity to invest up to half the amount of his bet to insure against any losses should the dealer have blackjack. If the dealer has blackjack, the player is paid at a rate of 2 to1 on his insurance bet, which equals the amount of his original bet, insuring against any losses.
If the player himself has blackjack, he need not go through the actual physical act of placing insurance money on the table, but simply says “even money” to the dealer. The dealer will then pay the player even money rather than the usual 3 to 2 payoff. Professional players do not recommend a time when a player should ever take insurance, but some players have different views on this.