What is Blackjack?
Blackjack is a gambling game played in casinos. It is the most extensively played casino banking game in the world, with 52-card decks. It has its origins in the Twenty-One family of casino banking games.
Blackjack is thought to have originated in France. Originally it was known as Twenty-One. This is because the aim of the game was to beat the dealer by scoring 21 or as close to 21 as possible. In other words, if the dealer scored closer to 21 you would lose!
Blackjack was prevalent in the American gambling industry too. However, it lacked popularity compared to games like Poker. Thus, gambling houses decided to give players a little more initiative in order to attract them to the game.
Some gambling houses resorted to offering bigger payouts for blackjack players. Others offered bonuses for a certain combination of cards such as an ace of spades with a jack of clubs. The combination of these cards eventually led to Twenty-One being renamed Blackjack!
How to play Blackjack?
The main objective of the game is to beat the dealer. This is what Blackjack is all about. But how do you beat the dealer? In essence, there are three ways by which you beat the dealer in Blackjack:
- You draw a hand value that is higher than that of the dealer.
- The dealer ends up drawing a higher hand value than 21.
- You draw a hand value of 21 on your first two cards and the dealer fails to do the same.
Having said that, you need to be aware of how you can lose to the dealer as well:
- You draw a hand value that is higher than 21.
- The dealer has a greater hand value than you when the round ends.
Also, you determine your hand value using your cards. Conventionally, the game is played with a deck of 52 cards. The value of cards 2 to 10 is the same as their face value. This means that a card numbered 3 will count as 3 and that numbered 7 will count as 7. Further, the cards J, Q, and K count as 10. Depending on whatever helps your hand value the most, an ace will count as either 1 or 11!
One key aspect in which Blackjack differs from Poker is that you only have to beat the dealer. Thus, all the players on a table are irrelevant. You are not playing against them. You are only playing to beat the dealer.
Blackjack tips and tricks
There are a few tips and tricks you should have up your sleeves if you want to increase your chances of winning in Blackjack. Most of these tips and tricks are for casual players who just want to have fun whilst ensuring a higher winning chance at the game.
Learn the basic strategy:
Blackjack is not a game for random guessing in an attempt to beat the dealer’s hand. Rather, there is an optimal way to proceed based on the hand dealt with you. The same has been proven by many mathematicians who have been studying the game for quite some time now. Thus, rather than just randomly guessing you should learn the basic strategy for Blackjack before you embark on playing the game.
Use strategy cards:
Most players ignore strategy cards even though they are completely legal to be used in the game. Strategy cards are essentially plastic laminated cards that help you decide your next move based on the hand dealt to you. Most casinos allow you to use them. However, they might not let you keep them on the table, so you can hold on to them and take a glance whenever unsure.
Ignore other players:
Unlike most casino games, the players around you are, for all purposes, irrelevant to your game in Blackjack. You are only playing to beat the dealer. That is the only goal of Blackjack. You are not playing against your fellow players sitting at the table with you. Blackjack is not a team sport and thus, you should always stick to the basic playing strategy irrespective of what the other players are doing.
Don’t go for the insurance bet:
Do not go for the insurance bet irrespective of the amount you wagered on your hand. In an insurance bet you are essentially betting that the dealer has a 10 value down card along with the Ace up card. This will effectively mean the dealer has a Blackjack. It’s essentially a new wager with new money depending solely on whether the dealer has blackjack.
With an insurance bet, the house has a nearly 6% advantage over the player. You will only win your original bet if you have blackjack. If the dealer has a blackjack when you do, it’s a push, i.e., no win, no lose.
Check the upcard of the dealer:
This is a very obvious tip and yet many players tend to ignore it. Since the entire game hinges on what the dealer has and whether or not you can beat him, the upcard is a crucial element. You should be aware of what the value of the upcard is. For instance, a low-value card (2 to 6) would mean the chances of him winning are lesser. But if the dealer has a high-value card (7 to 10) his chances of winning are significant.
Take small steps:
if you are new to the table or if the dealer is new to the table, then that does not mean that you should go all out. Always take small steps to assess what the scenario is like. You should not go out all guns blazing just based on a hunch. Figure out whether the dealer is in a good position or bad and take steps accordingly.
Set a limit:
For casual players, it is better to have a limit on how much you are willing to lose. That does not mean putting a limit on how much you want to win. But if you are on a losing streak, it is better to move on. After all, casino rewards are not exactly worth burning down your entire earnings!