It’s almost as well-known as Twenty-One. The rules are simple, the game is exciting, and there is room for advanced strategy. In truth, the odds of winning are occasionally in the advantage of the experienced player who mathematically plays a perfect game and can count cards.
However, even for the casual player who plays a decent game, the casino odds are lower, making Blackjack one of the most appealing casino games. While Blackjack became popular during World War I, its origins may be traced back to the 1760s in France, where it is known as Vingt-et-Un (French for 21). Blackjack is now the only card game available in every American casino. It is played with somewhat altered rules as a popular home game. The house is the dealer in the casino version (a “permanent bank”). The dealer in a casino game remains standing while the players are seated. From shuffling and dealing the cards to processing all bets, the dealer is in command of all parts of the game. In the home game, every player has the chance to be the dealer (a “changing bank”).
In most casinos, several decks of cards are shuffled together instead of the conventional 52-card pack. The most popular is the six-deck game (312 cards). A blank plastic card is also used by the dealer, which is never dealt but is put towards the bottom of the pack to indicate when it is time to reshuffle the cards. When there are four or more decks, they are dealt from a shoe (a box that allows the dealer to remove cards one at a time, face down, without actually holding one or more packs).
THE GAME’S OBJECTIVE
Each player tries to outscore the dealer by obtaining as close to 21 as possible without exceeding it.
SCORING AND CARD VALUES
It is up to each player to decide whether an ace is worth 1 or 11. Face cards have a value of ten, whereas any other card has a pip value.
Before the deal begins, each player places a chip bet in the specified space in front of them. The betting has minimum and maximum limitations, with general limits ranging from $2 to $500.
THE CUT AND SHUFFLE
The dealer shuffles pieces of the pack extensively until all of the cards have been mingled and blended. The dealer chooses one of the players to be the cutter, and the plastic insert card is put such that the last 60 to 75 cards are not utilised. (It’s more difficult for professional card counters to operate properly if they don’t deal to the bottom of all the cards.)
After all of the players have placed their wagers, the dealer deals one card face up to each player in a clockwise rotation, followed by one card face up to themselves. The dealer then deals another round of cards face up to each player, but the dealer keeps the second card face down. Each player, with the exception of the dealer, is dealt two cards face up, while the dealer is dealt one card face up and one card face down. (In certain single-deck games, the players’ cards are dealt face down and they are allowed to keep them.) Today, almost all Blackjack games have the players’ cards dealt face up and no one is allowed to touch any of the cards.)
A natural or “blackjack” occurs when a player’s first two cards are an ace and a “ten-card” (a picture card or 10) for a total of 21 in two cards. If any player has a natural but the dealer does not, the dealer pays that player one and a half times their stake right away. If the dealer has a natural, all players who do not have naturals have their bets collected instantly (but no additional amount). If the dealer and another player both have naturals, the player’s stake is a tie, and the player receives his chips back.
If the dealer’s face-up card is a ten or an ace, they check their face-down card to see if the two cards combine to form a natural. They don’t look at the face-down card until it’s the dealer’s turn to play if the face-up card isn’t a ten or an ace.