Blackjack: All You Need to Know and How to Play it
A Brief History of Blackjack
Originating in France in the early 1700s, Blackjack was called “Vingt-un” or “Vingt-et-un”, which translated to “21”. Blackjack today is derived from Chemin de Fer and French Ferme, which were two popular games played at that time. Various versions of Vingt-et-un had been played for hundreds of years in Europe before it expanded through America in 1789. Blackjack was forced underground in 1860, when all games were players bet against the house were made illegal. In 1931, blackjack was revived as a legal game when Nevada legalized gambling. Today, Blackjack is one of the most popular casino table games worldwide.
The Basic Rules
In blackjack, the goal is to beat the dealer by drawing cards to total as close to 21 as possible, but not exceeding 21. Every card excluding face cards and aces count as their face value. All face cards count as 10, while the ace can count as either one or 11, which is up to the player to decide. Additionally, card suits do not have any significance in Blackjack.
The game starts with the players making bets, then the dealer deals two cards to each player, and two to himself (one card faces up, the other faces down). The dealer then peaks to check if he’s been dealt a blackjack (cards totaling 21). If not, players will decide whether to hit (ask for another card to get a count closer to 21), stand (not ask for another card), split (when the two cards are of the same denomination), double down (place an additional bet and receive one more card) or surrender (give up half of the bet and take away the rest). Players have one full turn to get as close to 21 as then can. After all the players have had their turns, the dealer acts and must hit on 16 or less and stand on 17 through 21. Players win by getting a higher total count than the dealer’s hand, or by having 21 or less when the dealer busts.
There are also some other common rules you need to know before playing the game, such as the number of decks in play, payout for blackjack, various versions of the game, and etc.
Number of Decks
There are two main variants: single deck blackjack or multi-deck blackjack. The odds can vary to a large extent and house edge will be higher in single deck and therefore casino blackjack is mostly played with six to eight decks of standard 52 playing cards, excluding jokers.
Since an ace can be counted as either one or 11, a hand with an ace valued as 11 is called “soft”, which means that you won’t go busted if you take an additional card, the card value become one to avoid the hand going busted. A dealer must hit until the cards total equal or greater than 17.
Payout for Blackjack
You also need to be aware that blackjacks have different payout rates, such as “pays 3 to 2” or “pays 6 to 5”. For example, if you bet $10, you will get $15 for your winning hand at “pays 3 to 2” rate, and $12 for “pays 6 to 5”.
Insurance pays 2 to1
There’s an optional bet called “insurance” to prevent extra loss when the dealer has a blackjack. You put half of the amount of your regular money and get paid 2 to 1 if you win.
Variations of Blackjack
There are also variations of blackjack games you can choose from, such as Vegas Strip Blackjack, 21+3, Blackjack Double Exposure, Blackjack Switch, Progressive Blackjack, and Perfect Pairs. Check out Pala Casino to find the blackjack game that fit your style of online gambling.
A Strategy Chart with Additional Tips
There are multiple betting options with variations of blackjack and the number of decks. As mentioned, house edge differs depending on the number of decks. Here’s a quick “cheat sheet” for basic betting strategy using 4 – 8 decks.
- Common rules for skilled players include:
- You should always split pairs of aces and 8s, hit a soft 17 (i.e. ace and 6), double down on 11, and stand on a hard 17 (or greater)
- You should never split 5s or 10s and never stand on 12 through 16 if the dealer is showing a 7 or higher.
Blackjack is a popular casino game because it’s offers the great odds, is easy to learn and fun to play. Whether you are a beginner or a veteran, you can test your strategies and try out the games in the best online casinos like Pala Casino.