Blackjack

History of Blackjack

Blackjack also goes by the name Twenty-One. While this is one of the most popular and fun casino games there is, with a great card counting strategy, it also gives the player great odds of success against the casino.

However, expert skills are not necessary to meet with success when playing this game.

This partly explains why it is such a draw for many casino gamers.

While it is true that the raging popularity who’s enjoying Blackjack, the game can can be traced to World War I times, its origins go a lot further than that.

Blackjack began in France in the 1760s. In the land of its birth, the game goes by the name Vingt-et-Un, which is the French phrase for 21.

Currently, the game is a global phenomenon, with a presence in all American casinos.

Some variants to the game’s rules have also emerged over the years. For instance, when in a home environment, all players get a chance to be the bank or dealer. But in a casino environment, the casino is the permanent bank during Blackjack games.

A dealer is in charge of controlling the game by dealing cards, shuffling them, and managing the bets.

A blackjack player should aim to get cards whose total is as close to 21 as possible, without exceeding this number.

How Blackjack Begins

The game starts with the player on the left. He decides either to “stand” (fail to get another card), or “hit” (get another card).

His goal is to get close to 21 without going over (busting). Going over 21 results in the player losing his bet. This process continues for all players on the table.

The combination of an ace and another card besides a ten is called a soft hand. For instance, an ace and a 9 constitute a soft 19. But if the player asks for another card and gets a 10, then the ace is counted as a 1 and the total becomes 20.

How the Dealer Plays

Once all the players have played, the dealer turns up the card facing down. If the total is 17 or greater, he cannot deal himself another card.

If not, he must deal another card and keep doing so until the total is 17 or more.If one of the cards making the first two cards a 17 is an ace, he cannot deal himself another card. In other words, the dealer’s decisions are rigid, while the player has more discretion in how the cards are dealt.

The Rules of Blackjack

Card Pack

A regular deck of 52 cards is used to play blackjack. However, more often than not, several decks of cards are combined together.

In many cases, a pack of 6 decks is used, which consists of 312 cards. Generally, when more than four decks are used, a shoe is used to draw one card at a time.

How to Bet

When the game begins, each player places their bets in form of chips just before them at designated places.

The bets can be as low as $2, but the rules of that particular game determine how big of a bet to make during each game.

Valueing the Cards

According to blackjack rules, the value on aces can either be 1 or 11, depending on what the player wants. Face cards have a value of 10, while other cards are taken at face value.

Shuffling and Cutting

The dealer does the shuffling, and one of the players cuts the cards so that the last 60 or 75 cards will not be used.

A plastic card is placed between the two portions to separate them. This makes card counting less effective.

Dealing

Once all the bets are placed, the dealer gives each player a card, facing up in a clockwise direction. He also gives himself a card, facing up.

This process is repeated again, but this time, the dealer’s card faces down while the players’ end up with two cards facing up.

A Natural

A natural is when a player gets an ace and a card with a value of 10, which equals to 21, or “blackjack”.

When a player gets a natural, and the dealer does not, he gets a payout that is one and a half times the amount of bet placed right away.

When the dealer gets a natural, all players without a natural lose their bets, while those with a natural keep their bets.

Playing Signals

To indicate that he wants another card, the player should wave towards himself, as if saying “come here”.

To stand, he should wave the hand just above the table over the cards as if saying “enough.”

Splitting

A player can get two cards, such as two 8s. In that case, he has the option of splitting them and playing them as two separate hands, but a matching bet amount has to be placed for the additional hand.

Each hand is played differently, and the bets are settled individually, starting with the one on the left.

In case the cards are both aces, only one additional card is given, and if a natural is obtained, the payout is equal to the bet amount, not one and a half times the bet amount as is the case with a regular hand. A dealer cannot split.

Doubling Down

A player can double the bet amount (double down) when the first two cards sum up to 9, 10, or 11.

During his turn, he increases the bet amount and he gets just one additional card, facing down and is not revealed until the bets are settled. Dealers cannot double down.

Blackjack Insurance

A player can place a bet amount equal to half the original bet when the dealer’s face up card is an ace in case the down card is an ace that would make the set a blackjack.

After the insurance bets, the dealer looks at his face down card. If the dealer has a blackjack, a player with an insurance gets twice the insurance as the payoff.

However, an insurance bet is not good for the player, unless he has a reason to believe that there are many undealt cards with a value of 10 in the deck.

Settling Bets

A bet that has been placed and lost cannot be returned. The dealer pays all the players who have a hand value higher than his, as long as they do not bust. All players whose card value is below the dealer’s lose their bets. When there is a standoff due to the same hand value, the player keeps his bets.

Dealer Advantage

The dealer has an upper hand because the player loses to him whenever he busts, even if he has busted as well.

Reshuffling in Blackjack

Once all the bets are settled, the dealer collects the cards and places them in his L-shaped plastic shield.

But after getting to the plastic card, the cards get reshuffled again and the cut is made once more.

Basic Blackjack Strategy

A good strategy takes consideration of the dealers up card. When the up card is good, the player should try to get to 17 at least. However, when the upcard is not good, such as a 4 or 5, the player can stop when he gets to 12 or higher.

The goal is to avoid going bust with the hope that the dealer will. When the dealer’s up card is relatively good, such as a 2 or 3, the player can stop at 13 or higher.

When the player gets a soft hand, he can stop hitting at 18.

Doubling down should be done when the total is 11. Also, when the dealer has a 10 or an ace, the player should double down even with a 10. Doubling down with a 9 is also good if the dealer has between a 2 and 6 (fair card).

Aces and 8s should always be split. Tens should not be split, or fives either, which would work better when the player doubles down. 4s should not be split as an 8 is great for an additional card. But 2s, 3s, or 7s can be split. But if the dealer has an 8, 9, 10 or an ace, then it’s not a good idea. Finally, only split 6s if the dealer has an up card of between 2 and 6.

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