Want the scoop on blackjack? As the world's favorite casino card game – 21 is an instant hit with fans. Master the art of playing blackjack with this fully comprehensive blackjack guide.
Believe it or not, the exact origins of blackjack remain unknown to this very day. Despite the fact that gambling experts continue to debate the precise origins of the game, there is general consensus that the game began in France, perhaps in Belgium. In fact the game as we know it today is not dissimilar to the 18th century game that was played in France. That casino game Vingt-et-Un, meaning 21, bears striking similarities to the modern-day version that we call blackjack. It was the French that brought the game of blackjack to the New World – the USA. Several references to the history of blackjack point to a Spanish author – author of Don Quixote – Miguel de Cervantes having referenced this game in one of his books. This reference was made in the 17th century, adding weight to the theory that blackjack was enjoyed by the Spanish and the French during those times. Fast forward 200 years to 1913; Nevada became the first state to legalize gambling. The game has enjoyed phenomenal success since the advent of online casinos in the mid-1990s, and continues to dominate the casino scene globally.
Blackjack is laced with its own lexicon, terms, lingo and colloquialisms. The blackjack diction that we have come to love and enjoy has been a long time in the making. Below are some of the terms that are widely used in the game of blackjack:
- Blackjack – this is either a reference to the name of the game or the best possible hand (Ace +10-value card)
- Bust – any hand total greater than 21
- Double Down – players can double their bets, receive an additional card and then stand – that is known is doubling down
- Hit – this is the action of being dealt another card
- Hole Card – this refers to the dealer's face-down card, which players cannot see
- Insurance – players can take insurance if the dealer's upcard is an Ace and the player feels that the dealer has blackjack
- Push – this refers to a tie between the dealer and player
- Split – two cards of the same value can be split, thus forming two separate hands. A bet of the same value will be placed on the split hand
- Stand – this simply means that the player opts not to take any further cards and is happy with his/her hand total
- Surrender – available at some online casinos, whereby a player can stand down once a certain total has been reached and collect 50% of their original bet
The essence of blackjack is to beat the dealer's hand total without exceeding 21. In other words any hand total that exceeds 21 naturally busts out and the dealer wins. If on the other hand the player is able to beat the value of the dealer's hand – whatever that value may be – the player wins. Cards valued from 2-10 have their nominal value, while Aces can assume the value of 1 or 11. All cards with paint on them – face cards – have a value of 10. After a bet has been placed, the dealer will deal 2 cards to each player at the table. The dealer receives 2 cards as well, but only 1 of those cards is face up, the other is facedown. Players have the option to hit, stand, double, split, take insurance or surrender (if available). Blackjack is hit when a total of 21 is reached with just two cards. Blackjack typically pays out at odds of 3-2, the dealer draws to 16 and stands on all 17s.
Blackjack is one of the most exciting skill-based casino card games. The game features an element of skill and strategy, and this bodes well for players wanting to learn more about the game. A basic understanding of blackjack strategy is essential to winning consistently in the game. Players have multiple resources at their disposal to improve their blackjack game. These include blackjack strategy guides, tutorials, videos, articles and free blackjack games online. Blackjack is often associated with card counting and the +1/-1 technique is widely used by skilled blackjack players. The game is fashioned off statistical probabilities, and depending on how many decks are used, players can certainly gain an advantage with blackjack strategy. It is estimated that players can reduce the house edge to just 0.5% when perfect blackjack strategy is used.
Players can improve their game by following a few essential blackjack tips. These include:
- Play blackjack online for free before you play for real
- Play games that are similar to blackjack such as Spanish 21 and Pontoon to fine-tune your blackjack skills
- Use basic strategy to enhance your game
- Learn the rules of the particular blackjack variant you're playing
- Blackjack is a gambling game, but players should not let that detract from the main reason for playing – having fun