Blackjack is played around a custom built table at land-based casinos or online. It is played in a multitude of ways, including variants on the classic version and in exciting blackjack tournaments.
The game of blackjack is essentially between the dealer and the player, with each of the two sides having to reach the amount of 21 by adding up the sum of the cards that are dealt to them. The main decision to be made by the player is whether to continue having cards dealt to get nearer to 21 or to stay with the cards in hand.
Several card games similar in principle to blackjack started surfacing in the middle ages. All of them required that players reach a certain number by adding up the total sum on their cards. By the 1700s, the game known as ‘Vignt Un’ (21) became wildly popular in France and its immigration to the United States during the late half of the following century finally installed the game in the higher echelons of popular gambling pastimes.
The game was first known as ‘Twenty One’ in the U.S but changed to blackjack in honor of a bonus incentive offered by casinos to increase the game’s popularity. Blackjack enjoyed near celebrity status throughout the Prohibition years and after the Great Depression during Las Vegas’ big building boom. It has now established a rightful place for itself as one of the most popular games to be found at any casino. The online casino industry made the game instantly available to practically millions of players who can now share the excitement of blackjack from the comfort of their own home.
How to Play Blackjack
- After finding a suitable blackjack table, players place their bets.
- The dealer deals two cards to the players around the table and two cards to himself. The cards are usually dealt face up to the player and one up and one down to the dealer, although this may vary depending on the blackjack variant being played.
- Players have the option of taking out a bet (known as an insurance bet) that says that the dealer has been dealt a blackjack. If so, the player gets paid out 2:1 but loses the bet if not.
- After looking at their cards, players now decide which of the following moves they should make: hit, stand, double down, split or surrender.
- If players want to be dealt another card, they motion this request to the dealer. This is known as hitting.
- If players are satisfied with the cards that were dealt and don’t want to advance in the game in case they go ‘bust’ (ie. over the number 21), they may choose to stand.
- If players are dealt a pair, they can choose to split the cards into two separate hands by placing another bet equal to the original one.
- If players are feeling confident in the game, they may want to swap the right of getting just one more card for the opportunity of doubling their original bet.
- For players with particularly bad hands, the option exists to surrender their cards and forfeit half their original bet.
- Dealers’ moves are restricted by house rules, which means that they do not have much choice in the way they play their cards.
- Whoever reaches a blackjack (or nearer) first between the dealer and player is the winner. Payouts to the player are usually 1.5 times the original bet. If the dealer goes bust, the player wins.
- A clear understanding of a basic blackjack strategy will go a long way in increasing your chances of winning. This strategy will teach you which moves to make in certain positions of the game.
- Make sure that you have a good understanding of the blackjack variant that you are playing. Rules differ from game to game and from casino to casino.
- Practice online for free. This is an excellent way to learn how to play blackjack without putting any pressure on your bankroll.
- Be honest about how much you can afford to play and stay clear away from blackjack tables that have high minimum wager restrictions if you can’t afford it.
Many players enjoy blackjack tournaments because of the interaction that they have with other players. Luck can be an important deciding factor for the outcome as a tournament is played over a short period of time. Online blackjack tournaments are a huge focal point at any site and lucky players can be rewarded handsomely with great prizes. Players are advised to wager low in the beginning stages of a tournament and adjust their strategy as the rounds advance.
Where to Play Blackjack
Blackjack is incredibly popular and available at nearly every online casino. Check out our Casino Reviews section for some ideas on tried and tested casinos or visit our Live Dealer Blackjack section for details on how you can play Blackjack with real Live Dealers.