Your goal as a player is to get twenty one or as close to it with your cards as possible. You lose if the dealer beats you at coming closer to twenty one or if the value of your cards exceeds twenty one. The game starts when you place your bets of optional size on the upcoming hand. After you have done this you get dealt two cards face up by the dealer who also deals himself two cards one face up and the other one face down. This card is called "hole card" and is turned faced up at the point when the player stands. In Black Jack the cards 2-10 has its obvious value, jack-king is worth 10 while the ace has the value of 11.
After you've placed your bets and have got two cards in front of you it is time to decide how you want to play them. If your two cards have got the same value you can choose to "split". Splitting means that your cards are separated and made into two stand-alone hands which will be dealt one new card each. When playing two hands your chance to win increases but it will cost you twice as much if you lose because you have to bet the equal amount on both hands as your original bet. When splitting you are eligible to take as many cards as you like. This is however one of the rules that can differ depending on where you play. One more option is to "Double down". When doing so you bet as much as your original bet with the chance of doubling your wins. Now you can draw cards either until you reach twenty one or if you choose to stand. If allowed you can also surrender your hand. That means you get half your bet in return and your hand is no longer in play.
The most important thing in Black Jack besides knowing the different rules is to master a basic strategy. Basic strategy are about following a scheme hand after hand not depending on whether you think you feel lucky at one certain point or not.
This scheme shows the optimum way of playing in different situations and different hand combinations. Your hand is shown in the left margin and the dealer's hand on the top of the scheme. All you have to do is find your hand and act upon what the dealer's cards show. In addition to this scheme you should always hit if your hand is below 8 despite the dealer's hand. If your hand shows 17 or more you should always stand. That goes for when the house stands soft on 17.
H = Hit
D = Double Down
S = Stand
P = Split
DH = Double Down, when you can, else Hit
DS = Double Down, when you can, else Stand