Blackjack has different names depending on where you are in the world including Twenty One, Pontoon and Vingt-et-un.
Although the actual origins of blackjack are unknown, reference of “ventiuna” (the Spanish name for twenty one) is found as far back as the beginning of 17th century. It is widely recognized that blackjack can offer some of the best odds of any online casino games as it is possible to mathematically calculate the probability of a higher or lower valued card coming out of the pack. The higher odds of winning makes playing blackjack very appealing and why it is such a popular casino game.
The primary objective of blackjack is to beat the dealer (or banker as it is sometimes known) with a higher hand without exceeding 21 (also known as ‘Busting’). In this game, the numbered cards (2 to 10) are counted as per their value where as picture cards (Jacks, Queens and Kings) count as 10 and Aces count as either 1 or 11 according to the player’s choice.
In the game, each player is provided with two upturned cards which they are not allowed to touch. The dealer gets one upturned card and one face down card which is known as the hole card. After the cards are dealt, the players are asked to start making decisions based on the dealer’s upturned card and the two cards in their hand. The player can decide on one of the following:
Also known as “stick” or “pass”, this is played when someone feels their total score has a good chance of beating the dealer. The dealer then plays their hand to reveal whether the player has won, or not.
When the player feels their score needs to be improved in order to beat the dealer, they can call ‘hit’. It allows the player to draw one more card from the “shoe”. The player can either ‘hit’, ‘stand’ or will be ‘bust’.
The ability to double your card varies from casino to casino. Some casinos allow players to double down on any total, where as some limit the action of doubling, and others don’t allow it at all. When a player ‘doubles’ they can match their original bet and receive only one card.
A player can split any pair of matching valued cards (not necessarily the same suit). Once the “split” is called the cards are separated and the original bet is matched on the second card, the player then receives another card on each of his split cards and proceeds with the hands separately. Most casinos will allow you “one card only” when you split aces. This simply means you split the aces and each ace receives another card, at which point you have to “stand” regardless of your total. It is not uncommon to receive the same valued card on your split card and more often than not you will be allowed to split this pair again.
Outcomes Resulting From Player Actions
Stand off or Push
This is when the score of the player is equal to the dealer’s. It is a stand off result where the player usually gets his bet back.
Blackjack for the player
If the player gets an ace with any card valued at 10, he scores 21 and ‘blackjack’.
Blackjack for the dealer
The dealer makes “blackjack” by beating all other hands on the table including any aces that have been split and have made black with their second card.
When the upturned card of the dealer is an ace, ‘insurance’ is offered to players and allows them to make a side bet, usually up to half of their original bet, on the dealer making a ‘blackjack.’
If the score of the player exceeds 21 (the maximum value accepted in the game), they are deemed ‘bust’ and have lost.
General Blackjack Terms
To understand the blackjack guide and strategies, it is necessary that you know the general terms used in the game. Some of the terms commonly used in the game are given below:
Dealer is the casino employee who shuffles and deals the cards, and is also in charge of the ‘shoe’.
This is the person who gambles money by playing against the casino, i.e. you.
Where all the cards still in play are kept is known as the ‘shoe’. A shoe can have 1 to 8 decks of cards.
One Card Only
In certain circumstances such as ‘split’ or ‘doubling’ of aces, the dealer will allow one extra card only to continue with regardless of your total.
When a player has an ace and their total is less than 11, making the value of the ace as 1.
When a player has no aces in their hand or their hand value exceeds 11 even valuing the ace as 1.