Whenever you visit a casino, be it land-based or online, you’re sure to find a selection of table games. Of these, one of the most common offerings is the game of blackjack. In fact, it’s considered to be the most widely played casino banking games in the world.
And when it comes to card games, it’s Blackjack that provides players with one of the easiest options. That’s as far as basic game play goes. It’s quite easy to learn on the whole.
Brief History of Blackjack
The precursor to the modern-day version of this game was known simply as twenty-one. This is in clear reference to the amount you need to try and reach with the cards you’re dealt.
While twenty-one doesn’t really have known origins, the first written reference is found in a book by the Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes. He, of course, is most famous for writing the well-known story, Don Quixote.
Cervantes himself was a gambler in his time and this is reflected in the occupation of two characters he created. Taken from his tale, ‘Rinconete y Cortadillo’, the main characters are a couple of cheats. Their main cheating grounds comes when playing games of ventiuna – the Spanish word for twenty-one.
This short story was written between the years of 1601 and 1602. Later references to this game are found within both Spain and France. Following its introduction to the United States, casinos and gambling houses began offering bonus payouts.
These were given when a player’s hand consisted of the ace of spades and a black jack. This was given the name of ‘blackjack’, and therefore the name stuck for its title.
Explanation of Rules of the Basic Game
As we said, the basic game of blackjack is quite simple to learn and understand. It sees the dealer shuffle between one and eight standard 52-card decks together. At the beginning of each round, players can place bets in the relevant spaces.
Generally speaking, if you’re playing an online version of the game, you can play up to five separate bets. This then sees you dealt with five separate hands of cards. Once all bets are complete, you’ll begin to receive cards above each wager placed. Initially, you’re dealt two cards per wager.
It’s appropriate to note that ‘Ace’ cards will see themselves stand as 1 or 11 points. Cards 2 through to 9 are counted at face value, while tens and face cards count as 10 points. The value of a single hand is the sum of these point amounts together.
A ‘blackjack’ is the highest hand that you’re able to achieve. As stated before, this consists of a 10-value card and an Ace. This will outrank any other 21-point hand, providing a win.
Dealer Checks for Blackjack
Following the cards being dealt to the player, the dealer will give himself two cards. One of these is dealt face up, with the other face down.
Should the dealer find himself with a face up Ace or 10-value card, he will check his other card to see if he has a blackjack.
If this is the case, he turns the face down card over immediately. Unless a player also has a blackjack, all wagers will find themselves lost. If not, play continues.
Looking at your hands, you’ll have two standard options to choose between. These are ‘Stand’ – allowing you to keep your two cards at their current value – and ‘Hit’ – which sees you receive another card.
Sometimes, you’re able to select a ‘Double’ option, which doubles your bet and sees you receive just a single extra card.
There’s also the chance to ‘Split’, which comes into effect if you have a pair of the same value cards. This will separate them into two individual hands. Finally, there’s the ‘Surrender’ option, allowing you to forfeit half of your wager and end the hand.
As said, the goal is to try and get the value of your cards to exactly, or as close to 21 as possible. Should you go over this amount, the hand is bust and you lose. Following this round, the dealer then turns his face down card over.
He can then also hit to try and win the hand(s) that you have. If you manage to achieve a blackjack, you’ll usually receive a pay-out of 3 to 2.
Blackjack Basic Beginner Strategies
For those of you who have not bet on blackjack games before, there are some simple strategies that you can put into play. Perfect basic strategy is what can cut the casino’s edge to a simple 0.5%, making it possible for you to gain the edge by counting cards.
You can find several charts online, which can be read and memorised to do this. However, as well as these, there are some basic strategy rules to follow as well.
To begin with, if you’re playing at a casino which allows you to ‘Surrender’, this is one of the first things to consider. You won’t be able to utilise this function if you’ve already taken a hit card.
If your answer is that you can’t or should not use this function, you can move on to the ‘Split’ option. Of course, as we said, this option is available for two cards dealt with the same value. If this isn’t an option to you, you can check on the ‘Double’ feature.
This can provide you with large wins on certain hands. If this is also not an option, your final strategy should see you move on to whether you should ‘Hit’ or ‘Stand’. Obviously, this is the basic functionality behind blackjack.
Then, once you have gone through this organised list of strategy, you can move on to the aforementioned charts. These will allow you to count cards and determine whether you should ‘Hit’ or ‘Stand’.
A good rule of thumb to follow is the following; When the dealer’s face up card has a value of between 7 and 10, it’s good to not stop drawing until you get a total of 17 or more.
If the dealer’s up card is 4, 5 or 6, players should stop drawing as soon as he earns a total of 12 or higher. Finally, if the dealer earns an up card of 2 or 3, players should stop hitting when they reach a total of 13 or more.
Popular Blackjack Variations
While Blackjack does have a standard, classic version available to players, there are several alternatives too. These all follow the basic principle and rules, but incorporate their own certain twists. This provides a nice and unique take on the generic blackjack table game.
To begin with, there’s Spanish 21. This allows players to utilise many free rules, including such options as doubling down on any number of cards and pay-out bonuses for five or more card 21’s. Player blackjacks and player 21’s also always win against the same kind formed by the dealer’s hand.
In standard blackjack, this would usually go forward as a ‘Push’. However, this does have a slight drawback, as Spanish 21 doesn’t contain any 10 cards in its deck.
Double Exposure Blackjack
There’s also the offering of Double Exposure Blackjack. This works in the same way as the classic version. However, the notable change is that both of the dealers’ cards are dealt face up.
Blackjacks will also pay out even money and players lose on all ties. ‘Insurance’ and ‘Surrender’ options aren’t available in this variation either.
Double Attack Blackjack
Another popular variation is known as Double Attack Blackjack. It’s a fairly new alternative for blackjack players to access. It follows the general basic rules of the Spanish 21 version, although it adds in the option of additional twists.
This includes options like Side Bets and the possibility to split pairs to three or four hands. Also, a player managing to form a blackjack will pay out even money.
Furthermore, the first card to be dealt in this game is the dealer’s face up card. After this, players are given the chance to make the ‘Double Attack’ bet, doubling the initial wager.
It can often look quite overwhelming to see table games, especially those containing playing cards. However, we can clearly state that blackjack is one of the most entertaining and likable offerings in such a category.
If you’re aware of the goal of the game, it can be enjoyed by any and all players. Just don’t forget that your target is to form a value of 21.
Try playing a few hands without the utilisation of extras like ‘Split’ and ‘Double’. Then, gradually introduce the additional features to your game play. You’ll also be able to make use of one of several gaming strategies.
And then, why not try one of the variations? Blackjack takes on the same rules online and in land establishments. Therefore, regardless of where you choose to play, you’ll always find an intriguing and compelling game to access.
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