You can never win at casino blackjack if you don’t have even a rudimentary knowledge of what each card’s value is – especially since cards nowadays have markings with people in them (namely, the King, Queen, and the Jack – the Joker is never used in casino games).
The Ace (represented by a card with a capital letter A on the upper left hand corner on both the top and the bottom) is valued as either a 1 or an 11.
The King, the Queen and the Jack are valued as 10 each, just like the number 10 card.
The other cards (numbers 2 to 9) are worth exactly what their number says – if you have a 2 then its value is two and so on.
You need not bear in mind what suit your cards have because in blackjack that is irrelevant – all you are after as a blackjack player is the number value of each card.
To play blackjack, you simply add up the numeric value of each card in your hand to see if you can reach 21 (which means you got blackjack and won) or went over (meaning your hand went bust and you are out of that game for that hand.) it isn’t necessary to say if you counted the Ace as a 1 or an 11 because in this game it will always be assumed that your Ace will be valued to give you the best possible result. Meaning, if the Ace can be counted as an 11 to give you a winning hand, then you shouldn’t be afraid the Ace will be counted as a 1 by the dealer. Any hand with an Ace is deemed a “soft total” in blackjack, because it gives you the option of drawing another card – but if you go over 21, then it’s a bust. In the US casinos, the dealer starts the game by waiting for bets to be finalized then dealing cards starting with the players at his left side then moving to the right. He should make two passes this way so that you wind up with one card from each pass. The dealer should then turn over one of his own two cards in his hand for all players to see.
If you are a beginner and tried out the shoe game version of blackjack, all cards dealt out to the players will be dealt face up so you need not touch them and everyone can see what you have been dealt by the dealer. Players with more experience will be allowed to touch the cards dealt them with just one hand in hand-held games (which is why poker players often find adjusting to casino blackjack so difficult.) If you have the two cards in your hand, then ask for another (maybe because of a soft total) then you have to leave that 3rd card on the table surface – you cannot pick it up to add to your hand-held cards.
The first player on the left side of the dealer will always be asked to start play first – which is why that seat is called “first base.” Once all the players have shown their hand, that culminates play for that hand, and the dealer will then award winnings to whoever deserves it and gets the bets of the losing players. And that is basically how blackjack is played. If you get confused by these rules, don’t worry – everyone gets the hang of it eventually.