Introduction to Blackjack

Blackjack School

Blackjack is a fast pace casino game. It is part of table and card games offered in every casino around the world and it is the second most popular card gambling game, after poker.

The enormous popularity of blackjack is obvious once you understand that blackjack is one of the few gambling games that are not solely reliant on luck. This means that skilled players that master basic blackjack strategy can gain an advantage over the casino.

Blackjack History

It is not an easy task to pinpoint the exact origin. Most gaming historians agree that blackjack developed in the 17th century from the French game ‘Vingt et Un’ meaning “21” or in earlier versions meant “Twenty and A”.

‘Vingt et Un’ developed from earlier French games such as ‘Chemin de Fer’ and ‘French Ferme’. Blackjack and ‘Vingt et Un’ are identical except for some rule variations.

The real leap towards the game we recognize as modern blackjack happened in the 19th century when French immigrants brought the game to New Orleans casinos. The game was renamed blackjack as back then the top winning hand consists of Jack of Spades (a blackjack card) and Ace of Spades

Game Objective

Blackjack is played against the casino so the main objective is to have a total hand value that exceeds the total hand value of the dealer without going over a total point value of 21.

A traditional 52 cards deck is used (or several decks) and each card has a point value attached to it. Aces count as 1 or 11, Face cards (King, Queen and Jack) count as 10 and all other cards keep the value that is printed on them.

How to Play

The dealer deals each player two cards facing up. The dealer also gets two cards but only one is facing up and the other is facing down (known as the hole card). Players are allowed to draw additional cards to the total hand value of 21.

Once a player drew a card that takes his total hand value above 21 they bust out of the game. Both the dealer or player can win the hand with low valued hands in situations when one or the other busted out of the game.

Low House Edge

Blackjack generally offers the casino a very low house edge, making it an advantageous game for the player. The more skilled a player is, the better their memory and understanding of the game, the greater is their chance to beat the casino.

Blackjack Strategy

Unlike most casino games where the only factor that determines a win or a loss is luck, blackjack is a game where skill plays a big part. Since most casino games are based on independent trials, the outcome of a round of play has no bearing on the next round of play.

In blackjack the situation is reversed and previous rounds have a great effect on subsequent rounds. This is because many hands of blackjack are played from the moment a single deck or several decks of cards are shuffled and put into play and until the point of the reshuffle.

The cards that were used in each hand of blackjack are discarded after the hand and the next hand is played only with the cards that remain in the shoe. This means that each round of blackjack offers a different probability of reaching different blackjack hands and depends on which cards are still in play.

Skilled players with good memory or even better; the ability to count cards, can take great advantage of this situation to the extent that they eliminate the house edge completely and the game becomes favorable to the player and not to the casino.

Online Blackjack

Many players enjoy playing their favorite blackjack games at online casinos. Most online casinos offer the game of blackjack as a software-based game that is governed by a Random Numbers Generator (RNG) or they can play live-dealer blackjack that simulates real casino play.

When playing blackjack on the casino software there is no option of counting cards as there is an automatic shuffle after every hand play, so the probability of reach different blackjack hands is the same in every round. The RNG ensures fair-play and players can still gain an advantage by applying blackjack strategy when making decisions.

In live-dealer blackjack the game is played from a real casino studio with real professional dealers and is streamed directly to your computer screen using the online casino software. Several players are able to play at the same table and watch the cards shuffled and dealt.

Live-dealer blackjack creates conditions that are identical to those in land-based casinos so players that are skilled at card counting can take advantage of these games.

Blackjack Variations

Over the years many different variations of blackjack were invented. The game objective tends to stay the same but the individual rules that govern each blackjack version are different. Sometimes the changes between versions can be as minor as whether the version allows re-splitting aces, and sometime at can be as fundamental as whether the dealer hits or stands on soft 17, and how many decks of cards that version is played with.

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