BlackJack – a gambling game that definitely deserves a try
Blackjack is one of the most popular gambling games available in casinos. It is a worldwide phenomenon and is also one of the oldest card games. The history of blackjack is however not completely clear. There are various opinions. Some claim that blackjack is a modified version of the Italian game "baccant", while others believe its origins trace back to the French card game "vingt-et-un". Various games similar to blackjack are known and played in many countries.
At a first glance, blackjack is a simple game, and unlike other card games it is not only about luck. If you know the correct strategies and tricks, you can significantly improve your chance to win. There are many guides to playing and winning in blackjack, for instance the book "Blackjack for Blood“, written by legendary blackjack player Bryce Carlson.
Blackjack rules for players
Blackjack is played with a pack of cards, specifically French cards. You play against a croupier and your aim is to get a sum (value) of your cards that is higher than that of the croupier, but not higher than 21. Why precisely 21? Because the highest sum of two cards has the value 21, specifically by combining an ace and a card with a value of 10. This winning combination is called a blackjack. If the value of your cards exceeds 21, you lose.
It is important to always keep in mind the following: Your goal is merely to beat the croupier, not to get a value of 21. And there are several ways of doing that. Either you end the round with a higher value of cards than the croupier, or at the beginning you get an ace and a card with a value of 10. The croupier can also lose by going over 21.
Card values in blackjack
- Cards 2 to 10 have their nominal value, meaning the same value that is listed on the card.
- The J (Jack), Q (Queen), K (King) cards have a value of 10.
- The ace (A) can have a value of 1 or 11, depending on what you prefer.
Dealing cards in blackjack
After the bets are placed (in the form of chips), the croupier will deal cards from left to right. Every player gets 2 cards, face up. The croupier also gets 2 cards, one of which is face down. Players are not allowed to touch their cards.
If you have 2 cards which consist of an ace and any card with a value of 10, you have a blackjack and won. The casino will pay you 1.5 times your bet. If the croupier also gets a blackjack, the game is a draw and your bet remains in the game.
Player's options during the game
- Hit – The player accepts another card from the croupier.
- Stand – The player skips a turn; if you are happy with your cards, you can also end your play, in which case you won't draw any more cards.
- Double – double your bet. At this moment, the croupier gives you one more card and the game ends.
- Split – you split the game. You can only spit the game if you have cards with the same value. In this case, you'll be playing a separate game with each of your cards. But you should double your original bet.
- Surrender – you give up. You can surrender if you don't like your first two cards. You keep one half of your bet, the other half goes to the casino.
- Insurance – you get a safety net. If the first card of the croupier is an ace, you can "get insurance" against the croupier getting a blackjack; this must be done before the croupier gets his second card. You can use at most one half of your bet for insurance, the payoff is in a rate of 2:1.
When you're out
- If the sum of your cards exceeds 21 - even if the croupier's cards also exceed this value.
- If you decide to Stand and do not want any further cards.
- If you double your bet, then you get one more card and then the game is over.
Blackjack rules for the croupier
While the player gets to choose his moves, the croupier has to play based on a fixed and deterministic set of rules.
- If his cards have a value of 16 or less, he must draw another card. If the croupier's next card makes him exceed a value of 21, he must pay out the player – specifically, the player will receive his bet and an additional 100% of that bet.
- If his cards have a value of 17 or more, he must stand and cannot draw another card.
There are multiple ways of playing blackjack. Knowing the rules is the foundation, but it's also good to learn at least the basic table of blackjack strategies. If you're a beginner, it is also important to first focus on smaller bets or try playing blackjack for free.