Coming close behind Poker as the most popular card game in the world, Blackjack is a real crowd pleaser in land-based casinos and online.
Modern Blackjack developed from and was inspired by a multitude of various card games all throughout history. Its influences count older versions of it by the ancient Chinese, the Romans, and the Egyptians as well as being directly linked to a French casino game that goes by the name of “Vingt-et-Un” or similarly, “21”. Ving-et-Un was from the 18th century and was transported to the North American new world by European colonists.
21 of the 18th century is not the same as the 21 that we know of today. For instance, in early America, casinos used to offer a bonus payout of 10:1 for a player’s hand has a Blackjack (around that time, this refers to a Jack of Spades or a Jack of Clubs) and an Ace of Spades. On later days, this bonus payout got taken out of the game. Also, Blackjack’s definition changed altogether although its name remains the same up to this day.
Blackjack owes its first break when the state of Nevada made gambling legal to increase the state revenues during the Depression era of the 1930s. It was during that time that this simple card game gained popularity and became a regular part at Las Vegas casinos as well around the state. Later on, Blackjack gained nationwide popularity as it’s fame spread to all 50 states of the US.
Blackjack has gained popularity overseas in recent decades with the surge of online gambling although it is still viewed as being an American past time for the most part. The rules have remained intact in the past century although a significant number of new forms of the game emerged. Modern forms of Blackjack includes Live casino Blackjack for those who enjoy online gambling, as well as Online Blackjack and Mobile Blackjack.
Blackjacks origins is reflected on the terminologies used in it. Some of the following terms have clear French and American origins.
Blackjack refers to a hand that is composed of a card valued at 10 (10, Jack, Queen, King) and an Ace.
Bust means a hand that has a value that exceeds 21 so it means automatic loss.
Double down pertains to making twice the initial bet in exchange for agreeing to later stand down after procuring an extra card.
Hit means to request for one more card from the dealer.
Holecard pertains to the second card of the dealer. It is oftentimes dealt facing down and is not flipped over until the players have made their decisions.
Insurance is what the player needs to cover the loss of the initial bet. It pays the player 2:1. It the course of action that a player must make before a dealer reveals his card if the dealer has an ace.
Push means there is a tie between the player and the dealer.
Soft pertains to the hand that includes an ace which is valued at 11 instead of being valued at
Split pertains to the instance wherein a player holds two initial cards of the same value and chooses to divide it into two separate hands. The dealer will then deal cards to both of the hands as the player plays both simultaneously.
Stand is when the player does not chose to take more cards.
Surrender is when the player receives half of their bet as a cashback. This is employed in some online casinos which allows the players to stand down at a designated point in the hand.
Upcard pertains to the card which the dealer has that is facing up.
Blackjack is a game where the player must compete against the dealer to determine who can get a hand closest to 21 without exceeding it. The numbers 1-9 are taken at face value, the Aces have a value of either 1 or 11, and 10s, Jacks, Queens, and Kings are valued at 10.
The game commences with the players placing their bets and each is dealt two cards which are facing up. After this, the dealer will the deal himself two cards, one facing up and the other facing down (hole card). After all cards have been dealt, the players will then have to choose whether to split their two cards of equal value into two separate hands, to stand, to double their bet or to get a hit. When all of this has been done, the dealer will then draw cards until he obtains a value of over 21 (bust) or obtains a value of 17 or higher.
The three possible outcomes in a game of Blackjack are: It is a tie, the dealer can win, or the player will win. If it is a tie then the player will get his cash back.
The best possible scenario for a player is of course when he hits a Blackjack of an ace and a 10 in their initial hand. If the player achieves it, then the casino will usually pay out higher odds of about 3:2.
A Blackjack player only needs to concentrate on beating the dealer and hence it is a pretty much straight forward card game in that manner. For those who are good with math, even counting cards might be helpful especially for strategizing in Blackjack. Learning strategies like what is used in poker can also help in your quest to win against other players.
For the neophytes, it is imperative to have an understanding of the basic strategies like when to hit, when to split, when to hand and when to double whilst taking their bankroll into consideration.
This strategy has its foundations on the laws of probability and are therefore universal. This means that you should make a stand if you draw 17-21 but make a hit if you draw 5-16.
Things do get more complicated when you also consider the options of doubling and splitting and how they can affect your game. If a player has drawn cards that has the same value, then splitting might be a good choice as long as the player also takes into consideration what cards the dealer has.
The following are some things to take note of when trying to improve your blackjack skills.
- Since odds can vary, it is good to develop the habit of checking the odds being offered by your gambling operator or online casino. Yes, the rules generally do not change but odds can be different depending on the game provider, example, some online casinos may pay out 3:2 for hitting a “blackjack” on your initial hand while others may only pay out 6:5.
- It is best to first play the demo version of the game before going for the real thing. A vast majority of online casinos allows registered players to play for free without time restrictions and this helps build up your skill level before plunging in and putting your actual money on the game.
- Being calm is the golden nugget of wisdom that applies to all card and table game including Blackjack. Never play out of vengeance, because that would mean you’ll be operation on emotions rather than logic and hence is very much likely to make bad decisions which can make you lose all of your money. A calm player is a player who remembers and adheres to rules and basic strategies and is more likely to win the game.
- Do your homework and search online for the available books, articles, and movies about Blackjack. For the intellectually inclined, some movies like Rain Man and 21 will leave you thinking of the mathematical probabilities and some movies like The Hangover will at least give you some fun time.
- Popular culture is a great resource to draw upon in learning Blackjack since this game is a feature of the popular culture in the past and present century.
- Make sure to focus on your own game and do not head or shift your attention to those around you. It does not matter whether you are playing at a land based casino or online. How other players perform has no effect on you and your performance. What should concern you is the game between you and the dealer. What everyone else does is simply learning material for your own success.
- Players can end up with some profit but is always The House which will hold the advantage. It is crucial to take note of this fact.