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Blackjack is easily the most well-know and popular card game besides poker, and is a massive crowd-pleaser at casinos in Ireland and worldwide.
Modern Blackjack is derived from various different card games all throughout history, including versions by the Egyptians, ancient Chinese, and the Romans. It is also directly derived from French casino game known as “Vingt-et-Un” or “21” from the 18th century and was brought by European colonists to the North American new world around that time.
The 21 of that time is a bit different to how we know it today. For instance, early casinos in America offered a bonus payout amounting to 10:1 if a player’s hand included a BlackJack (known as the Jack of Spades or the Jack of Clubs around that time) and an Ace of Spades. Later on, the bonuses were ditched, Blackjacks’s definition changed, but the card game’s name remains as it is until present time.
It is during the Depression era of the 1930s that Blackjack experienced its first boom as the state of Nevada sought out a means to increase state revenues by legalizing gambling. Since then, this simple and popular card game became a common part at Las Vegas casinos and all around Nevada. Later on, it became widely known to all the 50 states of the United States.
Although Blackjack is still a primarily American pastime, it has gained popularity overseas in the past decades due to the rise of online gambling. The rules remain the same in the past century but a lot of new variations of the game have made an appearance like Mobile BlackJack and Online Blackjack and for the online gamblers, there’s Online Blackjack too.
Definition of Terms
The development of the terminologies used in the game reflects the fact that Blackjack originated as a French game and gained in popularity in America.
Blackjack literally means a hand that consists of a card valued at 10 and an ace. Cards that have a value of 10 are the Jack, Queen, King, and 10.
Bust refers to a hand that has a value of more than 21, hence it automatically means a loss.
Double down refers to the doubling of the first bet in exchange for the agreement to stand down after getting an extra card.
Hit refers to the request to get another card from the dealer.
Holecard refers to a dealer’s second card. Usually, this is dealt facedown and not flipped over until the playing participants make their decisions.
Insurance covers for the loss if the initial bet and pays the player 2:1. It refers to the action taken by the player prior to the dealer revealing his card if the dealer has an ace.
Push refers to the tie between a dealer and a player.
Soft refers to the hand that has an ace valued at 11 instead of being valued at 1.
Split refers to the action wherein players divide their initial two cards into two separate hands if the cards’ values are the same. The dealer deals cards to both hands as the player plays the two hands simultaneously.
Stand refers to the instance wherein the player chose not to take more cards.
Surrender refers to the instance wherein players are allowed by some online casinos to stand down at a specific point in the hand and then the player can get half of the cash they placed on the bet.
Upcard refers to the dealer’s card which is facing up.
Blackjack is a card game wherein a player competes to see who can get a hand value nearest to 21 and without exceeding 21 against the dealer. The Aces have a value of 1 or 11, Jacks, Queens, Kings, and 10s have a value of 10, and the numbers 1-9 have an as is value.
The game starts as the bets are put in place by the players. Each of the players will then receive two cards which would be dealt facing up. The dealer will then deal himself two cards, with the first one facing up and the second card known as the “hole card” facing down. When all the cards has been dealt, the players can then choose if they would want to get more cards (hit), get no more cards (stand), or to “split” two cards having the same value into two separate hands or to “double” the bet. Once these are done, the dealer then draws cards until he gets a value over 21 (a bust) or gets a value of more than 17 or higher.
There are three possibilities of scenario in a game of Blackjack: The dealer can win, the player can win, or a tie (in which instance the player will then get his cash back). Of course the best scenario possibility for a player is when they hit a ‘blackjack” of a 10 and an Ace on their initial hand. It is often that the casino shall pay out higher odds if the player achieves this. The odds are around 3:2.
How to Win
Blackjack is a very linear card game given the fact that the player must only focus on beating the dealer. As in other card games like poker, there is a variety of strategies of playing blackjack which can put you ahead of other players. For those who are
For the neophytes, it is of utmost importance to understand some base strategies. It is highly important to know exactly when to hit, when to split, when to hand, and when to double while also thinking of your bankroll.
The base strategy is based on the laws of probability and are universal. This means that if you draw 17-21, then you should make a stand and if you draw 5-16, then you should hit. Things can however become slightly more complex when dealing with the options of doubling and splitting. If you have drawn two cards which has the same value, then splitting is often a good option but you should also take note of what the dealer has as well.
Some things to remember when training your blackjack skills to achieve mastery:
- Make it a habit to check the odds or probabilities offered by your gambling operator or online casino. Generally speaking, Blackjack rules do not vary but for certain things like “blackjack”, odds can be altered. Some casinos may pay out only 6:5 for hitting a “blackjack” as your first hand, while some do pay out at 3:2.
- Before going for the real thing, it is helpful to first play Blackjack in a demo version. Most online casinos allows Blackjack players to play for free sans time limits if they are registered. Take advantage of this opportunity to hone your skills with solid hours of practicing before betting actual money in playing the game.
- Being calm is the golden rule for table and card games like blackjack. If you play when you’re drunk, tired, looking for vengeance or angry, your decision making skills are impaired and you might end up losing most if not all your money. A calm player remembers the rules, basic strategies and hence will have increased probability of winning.
- Read up on the multitude of literature and see the nuggets of wisdom on movies about Blackjack. This is a card game that has been a feature in the popular culture of the 20th century until the initial part of the 21st century. Certain movies like Rain Man and 21 will leave you thinking about mathematical possibilities. Another movie which featured Blackjack is The Hangover which offers great entertainment even if it won’t satiate your intellectual curiosity.
- Don’t pay attention to those around you whether you are playing online or at a land-based casino. How other players at your table perform does not have any merit on yours. The only game you have to be concerned in is the one that involves you and your dealer. The games of other players are only great if you are learning from their mistakes and wins.
- Advantage remains with The House and it is imperative to acknowledge and understand that players can only end up with a profit due to this fact.