Blackjack is a widely enjoyed and extremely popular card game.
After only poker, blackjack is in fact the most popular card game in the world. Is played all over the world with several countries having their own name for the game such as Pontoon or Vingt-et-Un. However, the American version, Blackjack, is perhaps the most famous, iconic for it’s inclusion in picturesque casinos in the States and in films and TV, too.
The game of blackjack is not just about luck, it is about playing the odds, bluffing and risking your hand against that of the dealer, for it is a game that despite being multiplayer, is played against the dealer, not each other. Being able to understand and exploit the rules of Blackjack can give players a big advantage!
In the modern online gambling industry, an industry that is thriving thanks to the sheer amount of online casinos and great access to them via smartphone devices and tablets, blackjack is just as popular. You can now play blackjack dealers online, making for an immersive way to have a flutter online or hone your skills for the casino.
Origins of blackjack
Not only is blackjack one of the most popular card games in the world, it is also one of the oldest.
Loved for it’s element of simplicity, the game has existed in some form or another since as far back as the 17th century and possibly even beyond that. Some of the origins are traced back to Spain, due to being referenced in an a novel written in the 1600s, the earliest mention of the game in popular culture.
Blackjack as it’s known can be traced back to the first World War, as American soldiers played a game that the French had known as Vingt-et-Un, meaning 21 in French, of course. The additional rule of the Ace of the Spades being a more powerful picture card than the rest of the aces was something added by the Americans and it is a score of 21, involving this iconic card that create the all conquering ‘blackjack.’
The aim of blackjack
Many people will say that the aim of blackjack is to get a total of 21, made up by adding the numbers and values represented by each card in your hand. While this definition is widely acknowledged as true, it is also something of a myth.
Perhaps created as a clever marketing tool by casinos to encourage gamblers to take a little more risk and take a hit, hoping for 21 only to go bust, this definition of the aim of blackjack is not quite accurate. Rather, the aim of blackjack is a little more complex than the simple solution given above.
Blackjack actually has two aims. The first is to get closer to the amount of 21 than the dealer does, not to simply get to 21. This is because you could get to 21 and the dealer could as well, but do in a manner which is worth more value. Also, the second aim is to not go bust before the dealer does.
Going bust means to exceed the amount of 21. This means you could settle on a humble score like 17, and still win the hand if the dealer goes bust. It is important to remember these aims, rather than just fixating on trying to make the grand total of 21. Players will be more likely to go bust if they risk an extra card all the time.
How to play
As mentioned, blackjack is played against the dealer. While in a casino, players will join the table that you are playing at but, other than playing from the same deck, you will not have to worry too much about them.
The most important cards are your own and the cards of the dealer, one of which will be shown to help you compare your hand to theirs. The game will start with players placing their bets, often using chips in the casino, be that a real one or indeed an online one.
Next, the dealer will deal two cards to each of the players present at the table, which is usually a semicircular one. The dealer will also deal two cards to himself, one of which will be face up so the players can see it. All of the cards in blackjack count quite simply as their shown value. Picture cards count as 10 and the aces can be used as either a one or 11.
Players are then offered the chance to stand, hit, surrender, double down or split. Standing means to keep your current hand intact, hitting will give you another card from the deck and doubling down will double your bet.
Splitting is possible when you have two of the same amount, and will create two hands from one, increasing your chances of getting one over the dealer. Or so you shall hope. The players will win if their total is higher than that of the dealer, of if they have 21 or less when the dealer themselves goes bust.
Strategy of blackjack
The way in which blackjack is enjoyed across the world has led to a huge amount of strategies and even a widely acknowledged strategy chart. It is based on the odds and likelihood of what will happen when the player and the dealer have certain cards, aimed at giving the player the best chance of winning.
Here is the strategy in question:
S stands for Stand
H stands for Hit
Dh stands Double (but it not available, then hit)
Ds stands for Double (but f not available, then stand)
SP stands for Split
SU stands for Surrender/Fold
Dealer’s card: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 A
17–20 S S S S S S S S S S
16 S S S S S H H SU SU SU
15 S S S S S H H H SU H
13–14 S S S S S H H H H H
12 H H S S S H H H H H
11 Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh H
10 Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh H H
9 H Dh Dh Dh Dh H H H H H
5–8 H H H H H H H H H H
Dealer’s Hand 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 A
A,8–A,9 S S S S S S S S S S
A,7 S Ds Ds Ds Ds S S H H H
A,6 H Dh Dh Dh Dh H H H H H
A,4–A,5 H H Dh Dh Dh H H H H H
A,2–A,3 H H H Dh Dh H H H H H
Dealer’s Hand 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 A
A,A SP SP SP SP SP SP SP SP SP SP
10,10 S S S S S S S S S S
9,9 SP SP SP SP SP S SP SP S S
8,8 SP SP SP SP SP SP SP SP SP SP
7,7 SP SP SP SP SP SP H H H H
6,6 SP SP SP SP SP H H H H H
5,5 Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh H H
4,4 H H H SP SP H H H H H
2,2–3,3 SP SP SP SP SP SP H H H H