How to Deal Cards in Blackjack

How to Deal Cards in Blackjack
Reading time: 10 minutes

Blackjack is a card game you’ll find in most casinos in NZ. Learning how to deal in blackjack is important if you’re looking to play and want to understand the game better. In blackjack, your goal is to get a hand that totals closer to 21 than the dealer. If the total of your hand goes over 21, then you automatically lose.

If you want to deal in blackjack, there are a few additional responsibilities to be aware of as a dealer. In this guide, we’ll explain what you need to start a game of blackjack and provide a step-by-step guide to deal blackjack. We’ll also answer some common questions about how to deal blackjack and provide some links to other helpful blackjack guides. To help you place your bets, improve your game plan and understand where the dealer stands.

What you’ll need to start a game of blackjack

All you need to start a game of blackjack is a single deck of 52 playing cards and at least one other person to play against. You usually play at a table that hosts between two and seven players. Depending on the number of players, you typically use between one to eight decks of cards.

Make sure the cards you’re playing with include all the cards, such as face cards (Jack, Queen, King) and an Ace. We recommend playing at a round table that can accommodate up to seven players. So you’ve got plenty of space, and no one is overlooking anyone else’s cards.

If you’re playing at a casino, multiple decks of cards are usually shuffled together and the six-deck game (which uses 312 cards) is typically one of the most popular. As the dealer, you’ll also use a blank plastic card that’s never dealt. Instead, it’s placed at the bottom of the pack, indicating when it’s time for a reshuffle of the cards. If you’re using multiple decks, you should deal from what’s called a ‘shoe’. This is a box that allows you to easily remove one card at a time, card face down. So you don’t have to actually hold the pack or packs of cards.

Steps to dealing cards in Blackjack


When you’ve got some basic blackjack strategy under your belt and you’re ready to deal blackjack, follow these steps:

Starting the hand

  1.  Shuffle the cards: Take your cards from their box and shuffle them well. There are different types of shuffling you can try. Dealer shuffles can include overhand shuffles or a riffle shuffle, to help ensure the cards are mixed enough before a dealer starts the game.
  2. Cut the cards: While using a cut card isn’t always necessary, it can be helpful when cutting the deck. Ask one of the other players to place a red cut card somewhere in the middle of the pack. Make sure it’s not too close to either side of the deck. Once placed, split the deck so the cut card is now sitting on the bottom of one of the stacks. Put the other stack on top to complete the shuffle.
  3. Discard the burn card: Place the cards inside the shoe, which is the rectangular box that’s specially designed to hold the cards when playing. Then before you start playing, discard the first card in the pack. This card is called the ‘burn’ card, and it’s always discarded.
  4. Ask all the players to bet: Make sure all the players place their bets in their betting circle. Even if you’re playing a friendly game of blackjack, it can cause issues if people forget to place their bets after they’ve seen their cards. If someone doesn’t place their bet before they see their cards they can play the hand with no original bet. Now you’re ready to start dealing.

Dealing the cards

  1. Deal one card face-up to every player: Draw cards from the deck, starting with a single card (make sure you take it from the top) and slide it across the table. Start on your left side, and continue dealing left to right. When you’re sliding it across to the player, flip it card face up and place it in the box in front of the player. Continue to give one card to each player at the table. Make sure the players don’t touch the cards when you’re dealing.
    Then it’s time to deal your first card as the dealer. Pull the next card from the deck and slide it in front of you, card face down. This one card is known as the hole card. Keep the face-down card pressed flat on the table, so the other players can’t see its value. In some casinos, dealers may deal their first card face up, but face down is typically the most common way to deal.
  2. Deal another face-up card: Again start dealing to the player on your left first. Deal a second card from the deck and flip it face up. Set the face-up card on top of the first card. Make sure the second card is placed so you can still read the numbers in the corner. Laying the cards out diagonally ensures both numbers on each card are visible.
    Then deal yourself a second card, this time face up. If you happen to deal yourself an ace, you’ll need to check if any of the players want to take out a blackjack insurance bet.
  3. Ask if the player wants to hit: When you’re the dealer, ask the player to your left what they want to do with their hand. If they’re looking to get closer to a 21 hand, they’ll ask you for a hit. Draw the top card from the deck and slide it to the player’s hand. Then flip it over and set it on top of their other cards. Add the card values and let the player know their new total.
    Repeat the process if a player wants to hit again. Remember that face cards are worth 10, aces can count as either 1 or 11 and cards with a value of 2 to 10 are worth the value printed on them.
  4. Check the player’s total: As the dealer, it’s your role to check where each player stands. Take a look at the player’s cards, and if their cards total 22 or over, the player busts. That means they automatically lose their entire bet and you win the bet as the dealer. Collect their cards and set them aside. Then take any of the chips they used placing their bet and add them to the chips in the dealer chip holder.
  5. Move to the next player: Check with the next player what they wish to do with their hand. If they’re close to 21 they may ask to stand. When they do this, stop dealing cards to them and move to whichever player is next. Work your way around the table from left to right dealing to each player one at a time. Remember that every player can choose to hit as few or as many times as they wish before a player decides to stand.

Closing a round

  1. Flip over your hole card face up: Once every player has had a turn, it’s the dealer’s turn. Turn over the card you dealt yourself face down to reveal the card’s face and the total value of all your cards. If you already had an ace or a ten-value card, you’ve got blackjack! Which means you automatically win and immediately collect your winnings.
  2. If the count is under 17, take one more card: If all of your card’s value add up to 16 or less, draw another card from the top of the deck. Make sure you set it face up next to your existing cards. If the total is still under 17, keep drawing until it’s over 17. If you draw a card that puts your hand value over 21, then you bust. Also, if the total is over 17, you, as the dealer, can’t keep hitting to get closer to 21.
  3. Check your hand against the other players: Check the hand value of each of the players to see if they’re closer to 21 than you as the dealer. If a player has a hand that’s closer to 21 (but doesn’t go over 21) than the dealer’s hand, they win. If the player has a worse hand than the dealer, they lose, and the dealer collects their bets. In the event of a draw, it’s even money, and no one wins.
  4. Pay out all the bets: If any players are closer to 21 than the dealer, they receive a 1:1 payout that’s twice the amount of the original bet. If any player wins with blackjack, showing an ace and a 10, the payout is 3:2 on their bet. Which means they get two and a half times the amount of their original bet. If the round is a draw, where both player and dealer have the same total, no one wins. This means it’s even money, the player gets their money back.
  5. Discard the cards: Once the dealer pays out all the players it’s time to discard all the cards that have been played. Collect all the used cards from each player and put them face down in your discard pile. If you’re only using a single deck, shuffle this pile with the rest of the cards after each hand is played. If using more than one pack of cards, you don’t have to shuffle until you’re around halfway through the cards.

Special Hands

  1. Ask players if they want insurance: If the dealer’s up card is an ace, the dealer must ask all the players at the table if they want insurance at this point in the game. Blackjack insurance is a side bet that lets each player pay up to half of their original bet to help protect against you getting blackjack.
    Players don’t need to get insurance, but it is an option. Next, check your face-down card. If it’s a 10, reveal it to the other players and take the initial bet from players who lose against your blackjack hand. For any players who took out insurance wagers, the dealer pays double the amount they paid.
  2. Check if a player wants to double down: Each player can decide to double their bets if they’re confident about their hand. Wait for each player to place their additional bet on the table and then deal them an additional card. Place the card horizontally across their existing hand, which indicates to the player they’re unable to hit on the hand again. If they win after doubling down, they win double the amount of their original bet.
    As a dealer, you can also give players at the table the option to split if they’re dealt cards two cards with the same value. For example, two cards with an eight value or two fours. This allows players to create two separate hands during a game, potentially maximising their chances of winning their bet.
    Move the player’s top card and ask them to place more chips on the table. Ensure the bet is equal to their initial bet. Deal them one more card face up for each of their two cards. If a player does get blackjack on a split hand, they will have a lower payout of 1:1, instead of 3:2.

Other Blackjack guides

Understanding blackjack can help boost your chances of winning when playing at online casinos. Learning how the dealer operates in a casino can help you with strategy. Such as how players place their bets, why a dealer sometimes uses a double deck or why and when cards are dealt face down.

In addition to learning about being a dealer, discovering basic strategies or learning about card counting is useful. If you’re interested in playing blackjack at casinos in NZ, we recommend you explore some of our other blackjack guides:

  • Basic Strategy in Blackjack: Uncover some good insights, basic strategy and how to master the game when playing at a blackjack table.
  • Card Counting in Blackjack: Discover the ins and outs of card counting in blackjack, including how you can use counting cards to your advantage to beat the house.
  • Blackjack Surrender: Learn about this tactic which you can use if you believe you’re going to lose the round if your hand and one of the dealer’s cards have been revealed.
  • Blackjack Insurance: Read about how blackjack insurance works, including when to use it and how to calculate the odds.
  • Atlantic City Blackjack: Learn how to play Atlantic City Blackjack
  • A Guide to Vegas Strip Blackjack: Discover how to play Vegas Strip Blackjack

How to Deal Cards in Blackjack – Summary

Learning how to deal cards in blackjack is helpful if you want to organise a game with friends at home for fun. You can act as a dealer while your friends can place their bets in a safe and comfortable environment. You can establish a maximum bet that suits everyone and learn more about the game.

This can be a great way to improve your strategy before playing at a casino and want to place bets using real money. Check out our list of recommended online casino sites that offer blackjack to find a casino that’s right for you!


  • Bicycle Cards. “Learn How To Play Blackjack”,
  • Blackjack Apprenticeship. “How To Play Blackjack”,
  • Paul J Healy. “Dealing & Hosting a Party”,
  • YouTube. “CEG Dealer School: How to become a Blackjack dealer – Blackjack Dealer Skills”,

How to Deal Cards in Blackjack FAQ

What happens in the event of a tie?

If both the player and dealer have the same total, it's considered a tie. This means the round is considered a 'push', which means nobody loses or wins any money on the original bet.

What is the 5-card rule?

The five-card rule relates to dealing five cards in one hand. If you've lucky enough to draw all five cards in a single hand and you don't exceed 21, you automatically win.

Is there a blackjack hand that automatically wins?

Getting a two-card hand that equals 21, with an ace and a ten-value card, automatically wins. This is what's known as blackjack, or a 'natural'. If a player gets a natural the dealer must pay out the player immediately. The payout is usually 3:2 on your original bet.

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Noah Adams
Noah Adams
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Noah is the senior content editor at CasinoCrawlers and a writer with many iGaming articles under his portfolio. Therefore, he is skilled at writing bonus guidelines, gambling strategies, and casino reviews. During his spare time, he enjoys playing Call of Duty and is a huge rugby fan.

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