If you only know one casino game, then it is most likely BlackJack, the World’s most popular casino game. The game of BlackJack originates from France where it has been played since the 1700s. Originally the game was called”Vingt-Et-Un”(French for 21), but later it has become known under the name BlackJack. The game of BlackJack mixes a player’s decision-making skills and luck. If you play BlackJack optimally you raise your chances of winning, but you can win or lose simply because of good or bad luck. The payback percentage in BlackJack is over 99%. This makes BlackJack the casino game that offers the player the largest chance of winning of all. Due to the nature of the game, it is difficult to win or lose big amounts at Blackjack. Blackjack is a good game to start of with if you are a newcomer. It is easy to learn and the chances of winning are high.
The game of BlackJack is played against the dealer. The objective of the game to have a hand that is closer to 21 than the dealer. If the player’s hand is over 21 he is”bust” and loses his bet. If the dealer’s hand is over 21 he is”bust” and the player wins. If the dealer’s hand is closer to 21 than the player’s hand then the player loses. On the other hand, if the player’s hand is closer to 21 than the dealer then the player wins. If the hands are equal there is a”Push” and the player gets his original bet returned.
The card values in BlackJack
Aces (A) can count for either 1 or 11. Cards from 2-9 (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9) count for their printed value. 10’s, Jack’s (J), Queens (Q), and Kings (K) all have a value of 10. The player does not need to specify if he wants an Ace to be counted as 1 or 11. It is always assumed to have the value that makes the best hand. If counting the Ace as 11 would put the hand over 21, then it is automatically counted as 1. The highest hand possible is BlackJack which is an Ace and a 10-value card (10, Jack, Queen, or King) in your first two cards. BlackJack pays at 3/2 (If you play with $10, you are paid $25). Hands where the player is closer to 21 than the dealer or where the dealer busts are paid 1/1 (If you play with $10, you are paid $20).
In BlackJack the player has to make decisions all the time. The dealer does not. The dealer must play his hand in a preset way. The dealer must continue to take cards until he reaches 17 or more and when the dealer reaches 17 or more he must stop. At the start of each round of BlackJack, the player places his bet. This is done by clicking on the chips in the casino software until the desired amount is reached. After that, the dealer gives two cards to the player and two cards to himself. Both of the player’s cards are visible but only one of the dealer’s cards is visible. Based upon the cards dealt, the player has to decide if he wants to:
- HIT: The player gets an additional card. You can hit as many times you like as long as your hand is under 21.
- STAND: The player gets no more cards. The hand will be judged against the dealer’s hand as it is.
- SPLIT: If the player’s first two cards are of the same value he can decide to split them into two hands. The bet will be doubled so that you play with the value of the original bet on each hand. The game then proceeds as normal. The only exceptions are that when a player splits a pair of Aces he will receive only one additional card per hand and if you get 21 you will only get paid at”even” odds.
- DOUBLE: If the player’s first two cards total 9, 10, or 11 then it is possible to”double down”. If you select this option, your original bet will be doubled and you will get one additional card.
- SURRENDER: In some BlackJack variations it is possible to surrender after the first two cards are dealt. If the player surrenders he accepts to lose the hand but gets half the original bet returned.
- INSURANCE: If the dealer’s first card is an Ace, the player will be given the option to buying insurance. Insurance is always half the value of the original bet. If the dealer gets Blackjack, the insurance pays at 2-1. The downside is that the original bet is lost. The net effect is therefore only that you break even. If the dealer fails to get Blackjack the insurance bet is lost.
With the use of mathematic calculations, it has been possible is to determine which decisions players should make in given situations in order to play optimally. This has become known as the basic strategy of BlackJack. The basic strategy tells the player when he should hit (H), stand (S), split (SP), double (D), and surrender (R) based on the player’s hand and the dealer’s hand. The basic strategy can be seen here. The basic strategy is very easy to follow. Just take a print of the tables and you are ready to play BlackJack.
It might have come to your attention that in no situations whatsoever the basic strategy advises you to make an insurance bet. The reason for this is that insurance bets add dramatically to the house edge. The insurance bet is always to the advantage of the house and should therefore never be made.