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What is Blackjack?

You may have also heard of this game referred to as ’21,’ which stems from the main objective of the game being to obtain cards featuring face values that, together, amount to as close to 21 as possible, without going over.

While there is no definite origin for blackjack, it is most commonly believed to have originated sometime in the 1700s, in France. At this time, it would have been referred to as ‘Vingt-et-Un,’ which literally translates to 21. Interestingly, some also believe it was derived from an early variant of baccarat. Who knew? Today, it is, by far, the most popular table game across the United States.

If you’ve come across blackjack in your land-based travels, more often than not, you’ve probably wondered what on earth is going on, upon seeing little more than tense faces, nods, and gestures. It has gained quite the reputation of being one of the most tense out of all the table games, in addition to being a game in which players feel they can beat the system. However, that brings up the topic of card counting, which we won’t get into right now as it is, not only difficult to master, but also a very sticky subject.

Rules & Strategy

Blackjack can be played with one or more, standard, 52-card decks. In this game, each card is assigned a point value. For starters, 2 through 10 are worth their face value. Additionally, kings, queens, and jacks are worth 10 each, while aces can be used as 1 or 11. The best possible hand is considered a two-card 21, which is referred to as a ‘blackjack,’ and pays 3-2.

Chips are given to players, which can be used to place a bet. Once you, and any other players have made their bets, which adhere to the game’s minimum and maximum bets, the game can begin. The dealer will then deal out two cards to each player, including himself.

In a ‘shoe’ game, player cards are dealt face up, and players are not allowed to touch their cards. Single or double-deck games call for cards to be dealt face up, and players may use only one hand to touch them. In either case, one of the dealer’s cards will remain face up for players to see.

There are four main moves that can be made after the first two cards are dealt: hit, stand, double down, and split. Hit means that you wish to receive an additional card in an attempt to reach closer to 21. If, at this point, you go over 21, it is considered a ‘bust’ and you lose.

To stand means you wish not to draw any additional card. Double down means that you opt to receive one additional card, while also doubling your bet. Split can be used in the event that your first two cards are of the same denomination. In this case, you can make a second bet, equivalent to your first bet, and split the pair.

As for the dealer, he must draw additional cards to any total of 16 or less, and stand on any total of 17 or more, you can read our complete how to guide here.


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