There are plenty of reasons why Blackjack is considered to be the most exciting casino game. It has been around for quite a while and plenty of new variants have been introduced, but the essence has always remained the same. You will hear and read that the goal is to reach 21, but you should know that this is one of the most common mistakes. The goal actually is to beat the dealer, i.e. to have a higher card count than the dealer without going over 21. It is reasonable for the Ultimate Blackjack Guide to start with that.
Blackjack’s house edge is pretty low, i.e. you have higher chances of winning compared to some other card games, and that’s one of Blackjack’s main advantages. The house edge depends on the specific rules. When one rule is altered the house edge can move in either direction.
Usually when a new variant is introduced, and a rule is altered to decrease the house edge, another rule is also altered to increase it, so that there would still be balance. An Ultimate Blackjack Guide has to start with an overview of the basic Blackjack rules and how the game came about. Once you know how to play Blackjack, head to Paddy Power Casino, or another of our partner sites and play some of the available variants.
History Of Blackjack
Blackjack is probably one of the oldest card games that have been played for many centuries, but its modern form originates from 18th century France under the name 21, or vingt et un. It is believed that the British variant pontoon is actually a corruption of the French vingt et un.
From France the game spread throughout Europe, somewhere acquiring a different name, and in the 19th century it became popular in the US. In the 20th century, when Nevada legalised gambling thus becoming the first state to regulate the industry, Blackjack’s popularity increased further.
New variants were regularly introduced and currently there are plenty of available versions. That trend was amplified by following the introduction of software online Blackjack as that made things a lot easier for providers and it became simpler for them to create and launch new games.
We already said that the goal is to beat the dealer without going over 21. Let’s assume that it’s just you against the dealer and there are no other players. Things wouldn’t change if more than one player is in the game, as all players are competing against the dealer individually and not against each other.
The dealer deals you a pair of cards, and then deals him/herself. One of the dealer’s cards is faced upwards, well, that’s the case in most variants. This card is essential for the player and, usually, the player’s next move depends on the dealer’s open card.
A standard 52 deck is used and the number of decks in the shoe at the beginning of the game also has an impact on the house edge and your Blackjack strategy. Blackjack strategy single deck is not the same as the Blackjack strategy 6 deck, the decision-making process is slightly different.
All card have their face value, except for the Ace which can be both one and 11 and the Jack, Queen and King which have a value of ten.
If you get a card valued 10 and an Ace right away, you get a Blackjack and you win the game immediately. The payout in this case is three to two, whereas in all other cases the game pays even money.
How To Play Blackjack
When you’re playing Blackjack, you will need to set your wager first, regardless whether you’re playing online and the variant you’re playing is a software game, or you’re more into live Blackjack. Once you set your wager, the deal will proceed on to deal the cards.
When the cards are dealt, you have two basic options, either to hit or stand. Hitting means asking for another card, whereas standing means to keep your pair, hoping that the dealer has a lower hand or that he/she will go bust. If you ask for another card and you go over 21, you go bust and lose the game. If the dealer has a higher pair, you also lose, whereas if you’re tied, you get your wager back.
We said that hit and stand are the two basic options. In many cases you can also double, which means that you add a wager equal to your original wager and get another card. If you win you will win double. You can’t hit again after a double. Split is also an option when you have two cards of equal value.
So, let’s say that you have two eights and you split them up, then the dealer deals you an additional card on each eight, and you play the two hands separately, so you could win one game and lose the other. Surrendering when you think the dealer has 21 or getting insurance to cover your losses if you think it is likely that they have 21 are also options in certain games.
Simple Blackjack Strategy
Many players play the game without adopting any kind of a Blackjack strategy, but this is one of the games where you actually need to have a strategy if you wish to be more successful. We have already mentioned that the house edge is pretty low, which gives you better theoretical winning chances, but if you play without a strategy you actually decrease your chances of winning, i.e. the house edge is increased.
Once of the simplest tips that you can get is to always split aces and eights, regardless of the dealer’s card. Don’t split a pair of cards with a value of ten, or a pair of fives, that’s not a good idea, again, regardless of the dealer’s cards. Double down if your hand amounts to 11, or if your hand value is ten whereas the dealer has a four, a five or a six. Other more specific tips and recommendations constituted an advanced Blackjack strategy. If you’re looking to play other games, such as slots, perhaps you’d like to have a look at our Beginner’s Guide to Slots.