This lesson, Blackjack
basic terms, bets and those to avoid at Learn to
Play Blackjack program.
As is common with many casino games, the specific origins of
blackjack are forever lost to history.
One of the first recoded descriptions of the
game places its appearance
during the 17th century, where it thrilled gamblers under its
simple, yet appropriate appellation “vingt-et-un.”
Some gaming historians, however, contend
rather than originating in France,
vingt-et-un was nothing more that a variation of Spain’s
already popular game “One and Thirty” or perhaps even a spin-off of
Regardless of its origins, so popular was the game that it
quickly emigrated globally, taking on slight changes in both name and
suit regional appetites.
the game was called “Ochko” (roughly translated as “the hole’). In
where players were rewarded for drawing both the jack and ace of spades
their first two cards, it became known as “Blackjack.” But whether it’s
Aces” or even “Ochko” blackjack continues to be one of gambling’s
In its most basic form, blackjack is one of the easiest
casino games to learn.
The objective is to attain a hand value that is greater than
that of the dealer, yet does not exceed 21.
It can be played using anywhere from one to eight standard
decks, with cards of rank 2 through 10 scored according to their face
while face cards—jack, queen, and king—are valued at 10 points. Aces can be worth either 1
or 11 points.
The game is further governed by the following rules after which
blackjack strategies are determined:
win if their hand
has a greater total point value than the dealers, without going over 21.
best possible hand is
called a blackjack and it consists of an ace and any 10-point card. A winning blackjack pays
both the player and the dealer have a tie, the
bet is a tie or “push” and money is neither lost, nor paid.
other winning hands
pay even money, 1:1.
either the player or
the dealer exceeds 21 or “bust”, the hand automatically loses.
both the dealer and
player bust, the player loses.
A round begins with the player
placing a bet in
or designated betting area in front of him.
will then be dealt two
cards (both typically face up) while the dealer receives two cards, one
which is exposed and the other (known as the “hole” card) face down.
If the dealer has a ten or an ace exposed, he will check for
blackjack, in which case all player hands lose, except another
However, should the dealer have an ace exposed, players may
take “insurance,” a side-bet that pays 2-1 and hedges the initial bet
If the dealer does not have blackjack, play continues
starting with the player seated immediately to the left of the dealer.
blackjack strategies are then available:
player decides their hand is sufficiently strong, they may opt to take
additional cards until they
either bust or decide the stand.
a player’s hand
warrants, they may opt to
double their current bet and receive one additional card.
This option is only
offered on the first two
cards and in some cases on the first two cards after splitting.
When a player’s first two cards are of
separate them into two hands with each card being the first card of a
To split, the player must make another wager of equal value to the
wager for the second hand.
where another identical point valued card is dealt following the split,
re-splitting may be allowed. (Re-splitting aces is often an exception.)
When allowed, players may
also double down
In certain versions of blackjack,
surrender or yield a poor hand on their first two cards, rather than
against a potentially superior hand.
Surrendered hands return ½ of the wager
Once all players have acted, the dealer will then complete
players, the dealer has
no freedom to determine the best course of play and must abide by the
rules that govern all actions.
the dealer must hit until his cards reach a total value of 17 or more.
In some casinos or game versions, if a dealer is dealt a
soft 17 (an ace plus cards totaling six additional points) he must also
If the dealer
busts all players
active in the hand, win automatically.
Blackjack Strategies to avoid
A lot of new players can be taken in by seemingly sound
blackjack strategies that actually have no real place at the tables.
Avoid the following
as the dealer plays. Some
people think that because the house has an edge on the game that by
playing according to the dealer’s rules (such as always hitting 16 or
less, or never doubling or splitting) that same edge will apply. Wrong. Remember, it’s the player
who acts first and even if both you and the dealer bust, the house wins
the hand. Such
strategy results in a house edge of approximately 5.5%
players advocate an age-old, misguided betting system design ostensibly
to guarantee winning. Called
the “Martingale System,” this method requires players to double their
bet for every hand following a loss. The
theory is that by doubling the
win a hand and recoup any previous losses. Although
it sounds powerful, this
is flawed and
ineffective, and fails to take into account high-risk bets, a
moderately bad run of cards, and table limits.
draw to a hand that can bust. Rather
than take a card that could
the hand, some
players prefer to always stand pat on hard totals of 12 or more. Such play is harmful in
the long run and results in a vigorish of approximately 4%.
Although these and many other
blackjack strategies may
sound good in theory, at best they’re mildly innocuous and worst
Steer clear of tricks and systems and stick with basic
blackjack strategies, the only
proven method of minimizing the house’s edge.
Strategies is followed by More Strategies
to Learn to Play Blackjack Program
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