There is much debate surrounding the origins of this world-famous card game; some say it was begun in Ancient Rome and others say its beginnings lay in 16th century France. Whichever theory is true (or maybe neither of them are), Blackjack is now the world’s top casino game! Land-based or online, Blackjack is the most popular and most-played game of any casino and with good reason – Blackjack is, at the end of the day, a really great game.
Playing Blackjack takes skill, concentration and, when playing at a casino, a great deal of nerve! Blackjack is a table game which is played against a dealer and the aim of both the players and the dealer is to have a hand which adds up to 21 (the total being the sum of the value of all of the cards in the hand added together). The Ace can be worth 1 or 11 points, 2-9 have the same number of points as their respective value and 10 and the face cards (Jack, Queen and King) are all worth 10 points each.
Blackjack can be played with any number of decks between 1 and 8, inclusive, but the fundamentals of the game are the same. The players will place their bets before the dealer deals. The dealer will deal each player one card and then himself/herself one card, all face up. The dealer will then deal each player one more card face up and will deal himself/herself a second card face down, and this face-down card is known as the ‘hole card’.
If the dealer’s face up card is an Ace or any 10-point card, he will offer players insurance. After offering insurance, he’ll peak at his second card and then settle any insurance bets before continuing. If the dealer has blackjack, all bets will lose, except insurance or if a player also has blackjack.
If the dealer does not have Blackjack (or did not have an Ace or a 10-point card) then players will begin taking their turns. Players can choose from a number of different moves: stand (the player stays his/her hand and does not take another card); hit (the player takes another card); double (the player doubles his bet and takes one more card); split (if the player has two cards of identical value, he/she can choose to split them and play each card as a separate hand); fold (the player forfeits his/her bet and does not play out the hand).
After each player has had his/her turn, the dealer will then turn over the ‘hole card’. If the dealer has 0-16 points, they will take another card. When the dealer reaches 17 or more (or had 17 points or more with the first two cards) the dealer will stay. If the dealer goes bust, any player who didn’t will win. If the dealer doesn’t go bust, every player who scored closer to 21 points will win and players who scored the same number of points as the dealer will keep their wager/bet – this is called ‘push’.
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