Casino Guide: Blackjack

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Introduction To Blackjack

Blackjack is one of the most played casino games in the whole world. With a history that can be traced all the way back to the 17th century, Blackjack has evolved significantly over the years and there are a number of different versions of the game depending on where you play it. The first ever recorded reference to the game is found in the works of a Spanish author called Miguel de Cervantes. Back then, the game was known as 21. When it was eventually introduced to the US, many gambling houses started promoting players' interest in the game by offering bonuses. Over the years, many people came up with their own Blackjack games that had different rules but the fundamental guidelines of the game were maintained.


How To Play Blackjack

Blackjack is easy to understand and play because the game has some pretty straightforward rules. To begin with, it important to know that the main objective of the game is to beat the dealer. To do so, you must either outscore the dealer or have the dealer go over the 21 card value threshold (called a "bust"). This is done all while trying not to go over 21. But perhaps the easiest way to learn the dynamics is by playing Blackjack for fun. They say practice makes perfect and new players would be wise to adopt the habit of playing the game at free casinos so as to learn the different words that are commonly used in the casino, the different moves to make, and even the table layout. Playing Blackjack at online casinos is only different in the sense that it is virtual. Otherwise, even the table's layout is identical to a physical one. There are a number of standard features that appear across all types of Blackjack versions. For starters, there is a semi-circular table behind which the dealer stands as he faces a group of 5 to 7 player positions. For the game to start, between 1 to 8 card decks must be shuffled, after which 3 players then place their Blackjack bets, mostly using chips, in a 'betting box'. The rules then state that the player whose bet is at the front of the 'betting box' has control over that position and is consulted by the dealer for decisions that concern the 'hand'. The card values are added to show the value of a hand and generally, Aces have a value of either 1 or 11 points, or 2 or 9 points depending on the pip value. The dealer then deals the cards from his/her left side. This position that is on the dealer's far left is referred to as the 'first base' while that on his/her far right is called the 'third base'. Each player gets two cards from the dealer who also deals himself two cards with one facing up and the other facing down. The one facing down is called the 'hole card'. Should the dealer get an Ace, he/she then offers 'insurance', which is a side bet that is optional and should not exceed half of the initial wager. This bet has a 2 or 1 point value should the dealer's hole card be a 10-point card. After the optional 'insurance' bet, the dealer then has to take a peek at his/her 'hole card' to see if it is a Blackjack. If it is, the dealer then turns over the card immediately. On the other hand, if the card is not, all wagers apart from the 'insurance' lose unless a player has 21. During the players' turn, they must choose whether to "hit", 'stand', 'double', 'split' or 'surrender'. All this depends on the points they have and like earlier mentioned, number cards have the same value as their number while the Jack, King and Queen each have a 10 point value.

  • The game provides for between 5 to 7 players.
  • There is a semi-circular table behind which the dealer is positioned.
  • There are between 1 and 8 standard 52-card decks used.
  • The objective is to beat the dealer on account of the value of the cards they draw, by letting them draw a hand that has a value exceeding 21.

Blackjack Rules

Despite the fact that some of the rules applied in Blackjack are regulated by law and guidelines, there are a number of rules that must be observed regardless of the type of Blackjack you are playing or which Blackjack casino you are playing at. Normally, the rules are displayed near the table but if not, the staff at the casino are expected to explain them to the players on request. The first rule is the one that decides whether the dealer has to 'stand' or 'hit' on a soft 17. This rule is usually clearly printed on the table surface as either 'S17' or 'H17'. The other rule is about the number of decks used. Using fewer decks results in a reduction in the house edge. To compensate for this loophole, casinos usually tighten other rules such as not allowing players to double after a 'split' or on a 'soft hand'. These Blackjack rules often vary since different casinos will have different regulations, especially when it relates to the house edge. The best way to overcome these different rules is by knowing them beforehand.


Blackjack Strategies

Any time you visit a casino, the laughter and shouts by the patrons are most of what you can hear. However, a keen ear will not miss the bad gambling advice that flies around. Perhaps the best example of bad advice you may have heard about Blackjack is that the objective of the game is 'to get as close to 21 as you can without going over'. This is in fact, a wrong strategy. The earliest attempt to devise a working mathematical Blackjack strategy was revealed to the public by a group of 4 men through a publication in 1956. This was the foundation for later strategies and other sound attempts to beat the game. Over the years, there have been numerous other efforts to come up with a perfect Blackjack guide with some coming close to beating the game while others being illogical. For players who are new to the game, knowing the 'Basic Strategy' and how it works is paramount in the journey to becoming a seasoned professional. This strategy involves playing the hand of any total value against any up card of the dealer. This strategy has its complications depending on the rules of the casino you are playing from. The other strategy is called the 'Advantage Play' strategy. This strategy involves attempting to beat Blackjack using skills like observation, computation and memory. The main tricks being card counting, shuffle tracking and identifying concealed cards. These techniques are generally illegal but can, however, give the player an edge in the game should they be used precisely. But using these techniques could easily get you blacklisted from the casino if you are caught.

  • It is always a good idea to have a strategy.
  • Playing the game for free lets you practice different strategies.
  • You can actually beat the odds!

Different Types of Blackjack

Blackjack is a game that has been around for centuries. This means that the game has continued to evolve and change over the years, especially in terms of rules. The different types of the game usually depend on where they are played. Spanish 21 is a version that offers players many liberties. Some of these freedoms include the ability to double down on any number of cards and even options of late surrender. Another variant of the game is Super Fun 21, which allows players to split a hand up to 4 times. 21st-Century or 'Vegas Style' Blackjack is found in card rooms all over California. In this version, when a player has a 'bust', it does not automatically result in a loss and the player can still push if the dealer also has a 'bust' of a higher value. This all depends on the casino, however. It is clear that the different versions of this game are determined by the rules that govern the gameplay. Another version includes the option to place your wager even after seeing the dealer's 'Up' card. There are also some French and German versions of the game that are based on local traditions and come with different rules.


Tips And Tricks For Blackjack Beginners

Whether you are a seasoned professional or just beginning to play Blackjack, the biggest tip anyone can ever give you is: 'learn to play for fun!' Playing the game in free casinos without having to place a wager is a simple way to devise new strategies, which you can apply later on when you play for real money. Speaking of strategies, the other tip to always keep in mind is that having a strategy is the first step in winning. Despite the fact that it is hard to completely beat the odds using one single strategy, employing tactics from different ones could land you some nice wins. The game is not completely about luck so practice as many strategies as you can. Finally, understanding the rules of the game and also the those of the casino will always be important.


Glossary Terms

  • "Hit": taking another card from the dealer.
  • "Insurance": a side bet a player can make when the dealer's up card is an Ace.
  • "Double Down": You can double your initial bet, but you'll only get one additional card.
  • "Stand": to stop taking cards.
  • "Split": placing two cards of similar value in different hands.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the point of playing the game for free?

Playing Blackjack for free is important since it lets you practice new and existing techniques to near perfection. Playing for free also lets you learn different rules and gain more knowledge about the game without losing all your money. Practice always makes perfect so if your aim is to beat the odds, learn to play for fun first.

Is it really possible to beat the odds in Blackjack?

Beating the odds in Blackjack has always been an issue of debate ever since September 1956, when the first attempts to do so were published. Although it is difficult to completely beat the odds, a few techniques are sure to get you close enough. Using different strategies will also boost your chances.

What are some of the worst mistakes an amateur can make?

Amateur players always seem to be the ones with the most enthusiasm to play. This is because some come with misguided ideas about how playing the game will be depending on where they get their information. Some of the biggest mistakes include not being open minded, not doing enough research and unrealsitic expectations from Blackjack.

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