Blackjack is also known as 21 and Beat the Dealer which clearly describes to a person what the game is all about. As the names indicate the game is all about beating the dealer instead of playing to win against other players. Twenty one (21) is the highest hand value a player can get in the game that will beat the dealer unless it turns out to be a tie. Blackjack is a description of for a hand where player or dealer gets and ace and any ten value cards with the initial cards dealt.
It is important to start with the basics of the game such as the value of the cards. All number cards bear the same value. All face value cards are equivalent to 10's. An ace can be counted either as 1 or 11, depending on the other cards on the hand taking care that the total will not go bust or exceed 21. A soft hand is any hand with an ace in it because the values change depending on how the ace is counted. A hard hand is devoid of any ace which makes the player get a fixed total based on the count for the card values of that hand.
When playing blackjack, casinos may use one to two decks or even as much as 4, 6 or 8 card decks. If the casino uses only 1-2 deck of cards, the dealer gets to hold the cards when dealing them out. In this case, the cards are given out facing down and players may pick up their cards. In multi-deck blackjack, cards are dealt out from a tray called shoe. In this case, the cards would be facing up towards the player but no one is allowed to touch their cards.
After a player makes his bet, the dealer starts dealing two cards to each player while the dealer gets one card facing up while the second is dealt face down (hole card). Each player starting with the player on the dealer's left, takes his turn on what to do next based on their hands and the dealer's hole card. There is a basic strategy table which shows players who are new to the game on what is the next logical action to take based on their hand when compared with the dealer's hole card. More often than not, player options would be to stand (if the hand total is high), take a hit (if hand total is relatively low), split (when hand comes with a pair so there would be two hands) or double down (if allowed which means doubling the original bet). Other options are surrender (lose half the bet after dealer makes a check for blackjack) and insurance (side bet if the dealer's card facing up is ace), which may or may not be available options depending on the casino one is playing at.
Finally, when a player is happy with his hand, he can start waving his hand to indicate standing and the dealer starts working on his cards. Generally, the dealer will continue taking a hit until he gets a 17 where he would stand and then compare hands with each player.
Experience the thrill of playing blackjack and gaining the upper hand with the dealer. You won't get as much chance with other table games.