Blackjack - a timeless gambling game
Entering the world of gambling means peeking behind the doors of casinos, gambling houses and clubs. That's precisely where you can also find the most popular card game – blackjack, also known as "21". The rules of blackjack are, unlike some slot games, simple and unified nearly throughout the whole world. Before you start playing for real money, you should learn the basic rules of the game and do a few test runs by playing blackjack online for free.
Basic rules and starting with blackjack
Blackjack is played on a semicircular table. The straight side of the table is where you'll find the croupier, sometimes called the dealer. The circular side is where the players sit. Blackjack is played using French cards. These are the standard card packs that you probably know; there are 52 cards in a pack. In casinos, blackjack is most frequently played with six card packs.
Before starting with a blackjack in the casino, you usually need to buy some chips to play with. Place the money on the table. The croupier will exchange it for chips with the same value. Casino rules usually do not allow players to play directly using cash.
Once you have your chips, place your bet on the designated place on the table. After that, the game can start. The dealer will carefully mix the cards and deal one card to each player (including himself), face up. He then deals one more card to all players; for himself, that card is face down, while all other players receive it face up. This means that every player (including the croupier) begins the game with two cards. Players are not allowed to touch their cards.
Winning in blackjack
Your goal in blackjack is to beat the croupier. You can beat him by holding cards whose value exceeds that of the croupier or by not exceeding the value of 21 when the croupier does. A "perfect" win is obtained by holding a blackjack – consisting of an ace and a card with a value of 10.
The sum (value) of cards must not exceed 21, which represents the best possible combination of cards to win. If you exceed this value, you lose your bet and your game ends. A loss is most frequently called a bust or a break.
Card values in blackjack
Cards 2 to 10 have their nominal value, meaning they have the same value that is listed on the card.
The J (Jack), Q (Queen), K (King) cards have a value of 10.
The ace (A) can have a value of 1 or 11, depending on what you prefer.
Rules of blackjack
After the cards are dealt, you can decide how you want to proceed. If you're not holding a blackjack (consisting of an ace and a card with a value of 10), you have several options:
- Hit/Draw - The player accepts another card from the croupier.
- Stand – You pass/stand, meaning that you don't draw another card.
- Double – double your bet. At this moment, the croupier gives you one more card and the game ends.
- Split – you split the game. If you have cards with the same value, you can split them – after that you will continue by playing each game separately. But you should double your original bet.
- Surrender – you give up. You can surrender if you don't like your first two cards. In this case you lose one half of your bet.
- Insurance – you get a safety net. This is used to cash in on the croupier's blackjack. You can use at most one half of your bet for insurance, the payoff is in a rate of 2:1. However, the probability that the croupier will get a blackjack is so small that it's not generally worth it to use insurance.
Once players use up all of their options, the croupier will reveal his second card. If the value of the croupier's cards is 17 or more, he must stand. That means that he won't draw another card. On the other hand, if the croupier holds a value or 16 or less, then he must draw.
For the croupier, it holds that an ace always has a value of 11 unless the combination of his cards exceeds the value of 21. Only then can an ace be valued as 1.
If a croupier exceeds 21, all players who remain in the game will win a value equal to their bets.
If a croupier does not exceed 21, then only those players whose value of cards is as close as possible to 21 while also being higher than those of the croupier will win.
If a player has the same value as the croupier, then the game ends with a draw - the player neither wins nor loses. The player's bet can be used in the next game.
BlackJack is perhaps the only gambling game where a correct strategy can give you good odds to go home with a win. You can increase your chance to win by counting cards, and in fact this only requires basic mathematical skills. You don't have to count each card individually. It's enough to focus on cards with a value of 10. One important insight in blackjack is that cards with a value of 10 are generally good for the player, while cards with a lower value are generally better for the croupier.