How to Play Blackjack
Blackjack is undeniably one of the most interesting games in every casino. Most players prefer this game since it offers a suspenseful and thrilling gambling arena where they can enjoy for long hours. However, despite the popular status of blackjack, many beginners fear the idea of landing on the blackjack table without the right knowledge on its mechanics. Little do they know that the game demands only a simple goal and that is to reach a blackjack or a 21 value on one’s hand. If not possible though, one may simply target a value that is near 21 to ensure a win on a particular round. Although this may sound very simple, the game in itself can be a little tricky, so further understanding of the odds and ins of the game is quite necessary to conquer it.
The History of Blackjack
To date, no one can still single out the origin of the game, yet many believe that it has come into existence at a very early age in the European continent. Despite its early development, the game only received much attention and focus when Edward O Thorp wrote about its in-depth instructions, rules, and regulations in his book ‘Beat the Dealer’ in 1963. After which, it became famous in countries where the book has landed. It was also because of this book by which blackjack became widely recognized and played in the Americas. In the late 1900s, a controversial issue sprung out regarding the famous table game. Mathematicians have proclaimed that through basic counting, one can actually beat the laws of the game and triumph incessantly. This led to the suspicion that many famous gamblers were actually beating the system and not necessarily gamble in relation to the main goal of the game. Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that the game is still one of the most popular gambling games one can enjoy inside the casino establishments and even in online casinos.
Two Versions of Blackjack
Blackjack may utilize as many decks as possible depending on the number of players and depending on the preference of the casino. Many casinos prefer to use at least one or two decks. On the other hand, some would go all out and use as many as six or eight decks. In such cases, casinos that use six to eight decks make use of shuffling machines to hasten the shuffling process. In relation to this, two types of blackjack have been devised based on how they are shuffled and stacked. The first type is the manual blackjack; this simply means that a dealer is the one assigned to manually shuffle the cards and lay them face-down for every player in the table. The players will then have the option to view their cards privately. The second type is the shoe game which makes use of a shoe contraption that shuffles the cards. Once the shuffling process has been done with, the dealer will hand out the cards face-up to each player and they are not allowed to touch it anymore.
The Gaming Mechanics
Universally, the game may be played by as many players as possible. While many beginners think that this promotes competition amongst players, the opposite is actually true. For one, the competing parties in the game are the players and the dealer or the house per se. Thus, the main objective of the game is for the player to beat the house and not merely his co-players in every round. To do this he must at least get a hand that has a value of 21 or any value closer to it. Nevertheless, there is a tricky part on this rule. If a player intends to go higher than the house, he must make sure that he doesn’t go beyond the 21 value or else this will be an automatic win for the house and a defeat for the said player. This is referred to as a “bust” which basically means that the plan of the player has been busted and the house takes his wager all the way.
- Numerical cards from 2-10 are taken as is no matter what suit they belong to.
- All face cards are considered as 10 no matter what their real values are.
- The ace cards have a special role in the game. They can be taken as either one or eleven depending on the situation.
Aside from the ones already mentioned, there are still other considerations in the value of the cards. A hard hand is a term that is used to refer to the player or the dealer who does not have any ace cards in his hands. Thus, he hand will only be counted based on the total value of all his cards. Contrarily, a soft hand is a term that is used to refer to the player or the dealer with at least a single ace in his hands. This means that he will have a different total value depending on the situation. An ace card will be considered as 11 if it will make the total value 21. The best example is when a player has 6 and 4 in his hands. If he receives an ace, his total value will be 21. On the other hand, if his first two cards will not sum up as 10, his ace will be taken as 1. In addition, as mentioned earlier, if the players hand will exceed 21 if the ace is taken as 11, he might be considered a bust unless he proclaims that he will take the ace as 1 only.
Other Betting Options
- Insurance – the player makes a side bet thinking that the dealer might already have a blackjack in his hand. This is done when the dealer’s showing card is an ace. If in case, the dealer has a blackjack, the insurance or side bet pays the player 2-1 odds. However, the player will lose if the dealer doesn’t have a 21.
- Surrender – the player surrenders his wager to the dealer. He will lose half of his bet when this happens.
Early surrender – the player surrenders before the dealer views or checks his hand.
- Late surrender – the player will surrender once the dealer has seen his cards and if he has a blackjack or not. If, however, the dealer has indeed a blackjack a late surrender is not possible.
- Even money – the player cashes out his wager in a 1:1 ratio after knowing that the dealer has an ace and has the possibility of having a blackjack in his hands.
- Split hand – the player splits his first two cards and bets on them separately. However, this is only allowable if his first two cards are the same.
- Double down – the player bets a double, basing on his instincts that he will win the round after seeing his first two cards.