A standard deck of cards (no Jokers)
At least 2 players
Someone must be the dealer for each hand in this game. Everyone else is a player. One person can be the dealer throughout play, or players can take turns. The dealer gives everyone, including himself, one card facedown. Then he gives everyone a second card face-up.
Each player looks at his facedown card and adds its value to that of his face-up card to determine the total value of the hand. The value of a card is equal to the number on the card. All face cards are worth ten. Aces can be worth either one or eleven, whichever value benefits the player.
Starting with the person to the left of the dealer, each player attempts to make the best possible hand by getting close to 21 points. A player with a point total far less than 21 may ask the dealer for another card by saying, “Hit.” One card is then dealt to the player face-up. The player may continue to add cards until he thinks he has a good hand. If any added card sends the value of his hand higher than 21, the player has gone “bust” and he is no longer eligible to be a winner on that particular hand. If the player reaches a number that he is satisfied is close enough to 21, he says, “Stand,” to instruct the dealer that he requires no more cards.
Every player who beats the dealer is a winner, regardless of what the other players have. After all the players have either busted or are satisfied with their hand, the dealer turns over his face-down card. The dealer must play by specific rules. 1) The dealer must hit if he has 16 or fewer points in his hand and 2) the dealer must stand once he reaches 17 or more points. If the dealer busts, all remaining players (who did not bust on their turns) are winners. If the dealer stands on a certain number like 18, all the players with better hands win, all the players with lower hands lose, and players with 18 tie or “knock.”
Fun without money
There are an endless number of ways to make this game interesting without gambling. Set a number of hands or a time limit and see who wins the most hands. Play with candy as chips and the kids will learn the simple strategies of risk versus reward.