An In-Depth Look at Blackjack
Blackjack has a reputation for being tricky and unforgiving, it is also deceptively simplistic all players need is to beat the dealer with a hand as close as possible to 21. Many try and often fail to play blackjack like the pro’s, the main reason: they all underestimate the Blackjack! It is a game of strategy, it’s easy to play, not quite as easy to beat, although if you get to know a few tactics, it could mean you bet smart and win.
Basic Strategy – Blackjack
All it takes is to grasp the most basic rules of the game, and then you can start thinking about winning. There are lots of different strategies and theories available, each promising to give players the edge over the dealer, these offers sound appealing, but if anyone wants to vend these as simple, it would be untrue.
Simplifying the Game
In blackjack you have only cards in front of you, so have the dealer, and if the dealer has better cards than yours, it is simple, you lose.
Yet, the player still has the power to decide to stick or hit – The dealer has no power and cannot decide whether to hit or stick. While the dealer does not have the power to make any decision, it is players that need to consider their decisions carefully. The basic strategy for blackjack shows players how to make the optimal moves, and these are hardly deviated from even by advanced or professional players. Created by utilising statistical probabilities, the basic blackjack strategy is available online, although the more you play, the quicker you get familiar with it, the main rule is that you should always stand on a hand of 17 or above. But it all starts by learning how to play the game, first.
Blackjack Basic Rules
Before you’re really ready to play you should know the basic rules, understand what makes it different to other card games and also learn the table etiquette and understand how the casino has an advantage and what you could actually do about that.
- The basic strategy includes pair splitting, hitting, doubling down, and surrendering, as well as even money and insurance. The first step in becoming a skilful blackjack player is to understand the basic strategy.
- The objective is to beat the dealer by exceeding the total of his cards, but not to go over 21
- Card values: All cards count face value in blackjack, while picture cards J, Q, K has a value of 10 and Ace counts as either 1 or 11
- Busting is when the player’s hand exceeds 21, which is also a break should the dealer’s hand exceed the total of 21
- Soft vs Hard Hand: Any hand that does not include an Ace or when the Ace counts a 1 is a hard hand, in a soft hand the Ace counts as 11.
- Betting Rules: Blackjack table seats seven players at a semi-circular table which offers square betting boxes on the felt cloth, betting takes place by placing chips in the betting box. At some casinos, you are allowed to play more than one hand, if there are open seats at the table.
- Chip Value: Casino’s colour code chips according to value to make betting easier via quick chip value identification
- Number of Decks Used: All blackjack tables have signage that indicates both the minimum and maximum bets allowed, and the cards are dealt from a shoe box that contains anything from 4 up to 8 decks
- Playing Options: Hitting means you would like the dealer to hand you another card, the motion for a hit is tapping on the table with your finger, behind your cards. In online gaming, you would simply select the “hit” option.
- Standing means you are happy with the cards in your hand and by waving your hand, palm down over the cards, the dealer won’t deal another, again in online you select “stand.”
- Splitting, if you receive two 8s or Aces you have the option of splitting them into two hands, this requires a bet equal to the first, and you play each hand separately. The three main reasons for splitting is the bold strategy in which you aim to win more money than on average, in the defensive strategy the player stands to lose less money and in the offensive strategy, the player gets to turn a losing hand into a winner.
- Doubling Down is an option that allows players to double their initial bet in exchange for one extra card
- Surrender enables the player to forfeit his hand and suffer an immediate loss of half the bet placed
- Insurance is an option that becomes available as soon as the upcard of the dealer is an Ace if the player accepts the offer of making an insurance bet if costs half the initial bet
Reasons Why Blackjack Remains the Most Popular Classic Card Casino Game
What keeps blackjack in the public eye is the mystique surrounding card counting, which often makes it possible to win, yet for most players, it is the element of skill that is involved in the game that keeps them entertained and once you know the basics the game is easy to play.
The game has changed over the past few decades, its origin is not confirmed although the game was played in a French casino as far back as the 1700s, when it was known as vingt-et-un, the objective: reach a total of 21, what was different is that betting took place after the cards were dealt.
The Italians enjoyed a game called seven-and-a-half in which all face cards counted half a point. The wild card was the king of diamonds and 10s, 9s and 8s counted as a single point. The objective of the game was to reach a hand worth 7.5 points anything exceeding it was called a bust, and it is believed that that was where the term busted originated.
In Spain the card game closest to blackjack was one-and-thirty, it was popular during the 15th and 17th centuries in both Spain and Ireland. Spaniards had to get as close as possible to 31 with three cards of the same suit.
Vingt-et-un became popular and spread to all corners of the world, in England, it was called Van John, while Australians called it Pontoon. By 1800 it became popular in America, and first known as 21, Americans started calling it to blackjack.
Blackjack became available in legalised Las Vegas casinos shortly after Nevada actually legalised gambling in 1931. The game made tons of money as players had to act before the dealer and lost instantly should their hand exceeded 21. Casinos realised that the edge was just too big and implemented some rules favouring the players, which included that dealers had to stand on 17, hit on 16 or less and these rules even further increased the popularity of the game.
The first online casinos became available in 1995 and most offered poker, although blackjack is now available at most. The benefit is that players can enjoy blackjack any time of the day or night from home, which illuminates travelling time, travelling costs and real money play is easy via the wide variety of trustworthy banking options.
Due to the popularity of the games, there are several blackjack variants available at online casinos, and the keys aspects that make these interesting or different include the following:
Double Exposure Blackjack
The interesting twist ensuring great play in Double Exposure Blackjack is that both the dealer’s cards are shown before players need to make their decisions, it is a huge benefit to the participants. That benefit is countered with the dealer benefitting from all ties, except when the dealer and player both have blackjack, since then the player’s stake is returned.
Players have to play two hands in this multi-hand variant, which means placing equal stakes on both hands, and each hand receives two cards. Although the player can switch cards between hands, giving them a potentially significant advantage.
It is played the same as the conventional blackjack game, and the only difference is that the side bet is additional, and it is optional. The bet pays should the players first dealt card be an ace if the first two cards are aces a bigger payout is rewarded and with four aces the progressive jackpot is won.
Perfect Pairs Blackjack
Another blackjack variant with side bets, in this version the side bets awards a win should the player receive any pair, and suited pairs earn the best payouts.
Again, the only difference is the side bet, which puts the player’s first card up against the dealer’s card, the highest of the two wins and the house wins if it is a tie.
Most of the casino tournaments are open to all players, while VIP tournaments are by invitation only, this is the ultimate test to see how well your strategies work. When you play casino blackjack it is you against the dealer, while tournaments give you the chance to play against other participants and the dealer, and while your main goal in blackjack is to win money, during tournaments the goal is to have more chips than your fellow players even if you end with fewer chips than you started with. Tournaments are a great way to win massive sums of cash and in major tournaments winnings can reach six figures or more. The benefit of participating in tournaments is that your losses are limited to the amount of your entry fee, and that get to learn quite fast from the game and your opponents.
Interesting Blackjack Facts
- The first basic strategy for blackjack, which was quite accurate was developed by the Four Horsemen of Aberdeen.
- Card counting was invented by Edward Thorp
- The best-selling blackjack book by Edward Thorp was titled Beat the Dealer
- The Theory of Blackjack was written by Peter Griffin, a mathematics professor.
- Ken Uston was the first professional player to appear on 60 Minutes
- The card counting team called M.I.T was featuring in the Movie 21 and the book “Bringing the House Down.”
- Greatest blackjack players of all times: Richard Munchkin and James Grosje