The objective of the game is to get a hand as close to a value of nine. The player can place a bet that either his/her hand or the banker's (i.e. the dealer's) will win, plus additional wagers on whether the outcome will be a tie, which pays out at 9/1.
After the wagering, the player and banker each get two cards. Face cards are worth zero points, aces are worth one, and other cards are face value. Should the cards be over 10 in value, 10 is subtracted from the score, so 8+7=5 rather than 15.
In theory, the player and banker can decide when to take a third card to try and improve the hand, but in the American version all guesswork is eliminated and the third card is given to you when the computer determines it must be.