History of Blackjack
Blackjack has been around for quite a while and is the evolution of a game called “twenty-one,” which is believed to have been invented sometime in the 17th century. It should be noted that the 17th century was the first time this game was mentioned in writing by Miguel de Cervantes, the famous Spanish author. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean the game hadn’t been around for a while already.
In the 18th century, blackjack was introduced to French casinos where it was known as “Vingt-et-un” or “twenty-one.” It became a very popular game.
At one point, a player would receive a special bonus if they had a black jack and an ace of spades. This is where the name of the game comes from, despite the fact that, over the years, this rule was dropped.
How to Play Standard or Classic Blackjack
The goal of blackjack is to make 21 points, or to have more points than the dealer. If you go over 21 points, however, you automatically lose. Any hand over 21 points is called a bust.
Cards are assigned points based on their number, with suit and color having no effect. Thus, a 2 of spades is worth 2 points, just as a 2 of hearts is worth 2 points.
Face cards all have a value of 10 points, other than the Ace, which is worth 11 points or 1 point, depending on the other cards you have. A combination of an Ace and a 10-point card is an automatic win and dubbed a “natural” blackjack.
Standard blackjack starts with you being dealt two cards and the dealer receiving either one face-up card or two cards, one shown and one hidden, depending on the style of the game.
You can then draw another card or wait, which is called standing. If the dealer’s visible card has a value of 10 points and, once you’ve decided to stand, you discover the dealer has blackjack, you will lose unless you also have blackjack. If you both have 21 points, it’s considered a draw and you will receive your bet back.
Splitting a Hand
If you received a pair when the cards were first dealt, you have the option of splitting them. This basically means creating two different hands with each pair card acting as the base. You will then receive two new cards, one for each hand.
How many times you can split depends on the variation of the game.
If the point-value of your cards works out to 9, 10, or 11, you can double down, which means doubling your bet, in exchange for a single card.
When and how you can double down depends on the variation of the game being played. In some variations, you can’t double down after splitting, while in others, you can double your bet regardless of the total.
When the dealer’s face-up card is an ace, you can make an insurance bet. This is a bet independent of the game designed to protect you if the dealer has blackjack. While you would lose the main bet, you will receive a payout of 3:2 on the insurance bet. Note that statistically speaking, the insurance bet usually works out in the favor of the casino.
In some variations of blackjack, you have the option to surrender after the you’ve been dealt the first cards. In this case, you will receive half of your wager back.
Types of Blackjack
As stated, there are quite a few different types of blackjack. When it comes to online casinos, you have the option of playing live or video versions of the game.
The two differ mainly in how the cards are dealt. Thus, with video blackjack, the dealer is a computer, which means the cards are generated randomly. With live blackjack, there’s an actual human dealer who shuffles the cards and deals them manually.
In terms of actual gameplay, there are two different blackjack styles and quite a number of variations.
European and American Blackjack
The two main styles of blackjack are European and American. In European blackjack, the dealer draws a single card for themselves and places it face-up on the table. They draw another card only after you’ve completed your hand.
Conversely, in American-style blackjack, the dealer receives 2 cards, one of which is placed face-up, while the other remains face-down. If the card that can be seen is an ace, the dealer checks the second, hidden card. If it has a value of 10, the dealer reveals the card to complete blackjack.
If the card has another value, the gameplay continues, and the dealer reveals the hidden card when it is their turn to draw or stand.
Variations of Blackjack
There are quite a few different types of blackjack variations, with different dealer and/or player rules. However, keep in mind that a casino will always ensure the rules used are in their favor. Thus, the most well-known variations of blackjack include:
In Blackjack Switch, you play two hands at the same time. You may swap the second card you receive between your two hands to increase your chance of winning.
If the dealer’s cards add up to 22, the game is considered a draw and you receive your bet back. This is unlike classic blackjack, where you would win.
Also, in this version of the game, the payout is 1:1 rather than 3:2, which is the norm for the standard rules.
In Vegas Strip, four decks of cards are used. You’re allowed to split a pair of aces, but only once. However, you do have the option to double down on any two cards. If you do split, though, you will lose your insurance.
Once you’ve split two cards, you can only double your bet if the split was done between two aces. If you get 21 after splitting, the rules don’t consider it to be blackjack. Furthermore, if you split two aces, you’ll only be dealt one more card, with no option to receive another.
Double Exposure Blackjack
With Double Exposure Blackjack, both of the dealer’s cards are placed face up, making it easier for the player. However, there are other rules involves that make up for this player advantage.
Thus, if you tie with the dealer, you will lose. Furthermore, the payout is only 1:1. Finally, you only have the option to split a single time.
In Perfect Pairs, the standard rules apply. However, you can also make a side bet on what is called a perfect pair. You win only if the first two cards you are dealt create a pair, regardless of what those cards are. Your will win more money if the pair features the same color, and the highest return is on cards of the same suit.
Other Types of Blackjack
There are dozens of other variations of Blackjack. Some, like Spanish 21 and Pontoon, are played with six or eight decks of cards, but all the “10” cards are removed, leaving 48 cards per deck.
Others, like Super Fun 21, require a single deck and, though they practice the same rules as standard blackjack, they involve different payout structures.
Regardless of the type of blackjack you play, it is a highly enjoyable game with the potential for significant wins. While blackjack does require some skill, which means you will have a better edge over the casino than playing slots, it’s still not a game that will make you rich.
As long as you treat it as nothing more than entertainment, though, you’ll find it a fun game that will keep you engaged for far longer than many other casino games.