Blackjack Tutorial, History, Strategy, Rules and Odds
Strategic guide on how to play the casino game of blackjack.
– Blackjack is America’s Favorite Casino Table Game
– The house edge is less than 1% , with the correct strategy play
– Easy to learn, Very fun to play
THE GAME OF BLACKJACK
The game of blackjack, or twenty-one, is the most popular casino game in the world, probably because skilled players can actually change the odds in their favor. The game is played with one or more 52-card decks, with each individual player playing against the dealer. The object of the game is to get two or more cards that add up to 21 or less without getting more points than the dealer. Numbered cards count at face value, while the king, queen, and jack count 10 points each. The ace can count as 1 or 11 as the player chooses. The game starts when each player and the dealer are dealt two cards. The players are allowed to see their cards and one of the dealer’s cards. Then they have their choice of whether to keep only two cards or to add another card to the first two. The dealer chooses whether to take another card based upon house rules. If a player completes his or her hand with 21 or fewer points and the dealer has fewer than 21 points, then the player wins. If a player gets more than 21, this is a “bust” and the player loses his or her bet. If both the player and the dealer get the same number of points, this is a “push,” or tie. If the player receives a ten and an ace, this is called blackjack, or a natural win. Most wins pay off at 1:1, but a blackjack often pays off at 3:2. The dealer is an agent of the casino.
History of Blackjack
The game of 21 dates back at least to the early 17th century. The first known reference to it is in a short story by Miguel de Cervantes, Rinconente y Cortadillo. The two main characters play a game called veintiuno, whose object is to obtain 21 points without going over, and aces count as 1 or 11 points. When 21 was first played in the United States, casinos offered 10 to 1 payoffs if players got 21 points with an ace of spades and a jack of either of the black suits. Thus, the name “blackjack” came into being. Now a blackjack, or natural, consists of an ace and any card with a value of 10.
Playing the Game at a Casino
At a casino as many as seven players stand at a crescent-shaped table across from the dealer. If one or decks are dealt they may be dealt by hand, or more decks may be dealt from either a container called a shoe, or from a shuffling machine.
After receiving his or her first two cards, the player may either take a “hit”, or a new card, “stand,” or refuse a new card. At this point the player can “double down”, or double his or her original bet, while taking a hit. Another option is to “split a pair” if the player has two cards of the same value. This means separating the pair into two hands, adding another bet equal to the first, and playing both hands separately. Some casinos allow the player to “surrender,” which means giving up the hand and receiving half the bet back. Players may take as many hits as they wish until they bust. After all players have come to the point of standing, the dealer shows his as-yet-unrevealed card, called the “hole” card, and plays out his or her hand according to the rules printed upon the table.
Players signal their decisions by hand, to make them clear to the casino’s watchers or video cameras. This makes it difficult for players and dealers to cheat the house.
Over one hundred variations in the rules exist, either because of local laws, or because of new ideas introduced by individual casinos. Variations effect how much of an edge the house has, so it is a good idea to know the local rules. The player using basic strategy with a good knowledge of the rules can expect to lose less than 1 per cent of his or her bets, which is better than he or she could do with most casino games. Playing poorly because of ignorance can lead to greater losses. Below are a few of the most common variations.
Dealer hits soft 17
On each blackjack table you can expect to see “S17” or “H17” printed. In the case of S17, the dealer does not take a new card if he or she has 17 points, regardless of the cards that make up the 17 points. In the case of H17, the dealer with 17 points stands except if one of his or her original cards is an ace. Two cards that add up to 17, including an ace, are termed a “soft 17.” Two cards not including an ace that add up to 17 are called a “hard 17”.
Number of decks
The fewer decks are involved, the easier it is for the player to keep track of what cards have been dealt. Also, the fewer decks there are, the fewer the types of cards that could still be dealt after the first deal. When only one deck is used, the casino generally uses other rules in its own favor. Double decks are better for the player than quadruple decks, which are better than six. After six, there is little difference. If a player is dealt an ace with a single deck, there are only 3 more aces available, decreasing the probability of the dealer’s having an ace in the hole. If there are 6 decks, then there are still 23 more aces that might be in the dealer’s hand.
Some casinos offer players to give up half their bets and not play out whole hands, after the dealer has checked his or her hole card in the USA. In some countries, casinos offer “early surrender,” in which a player may surrender his ro her hand before the dealer checks his or her hidden card.
A player may split a pair. If he or she is then dealt a card of the same value, (except if the cards are aces) the player may resplit, putting down another bet equal to the first two for the third hand. Some houses allow any number of splits, while others limit the number of resplits.
Rare houses will allow resplitting aces. Usually when that is allowed, only one more card will be dealt to each hand, and doubling down is not allowed.
After he or she is dealt two cards, the player may double down, or double his or her initial bet and request only one more card. Additional chips are placed next to the original bet to signal the desire to double down.
The Reno Rule
This rule restricts players to doubling down only with an initial total of 9, 10, or 11, or just 10 and 11. This increases the house advantage since players are not allowed to double on hands such as soft 17.
No Hole Card
Outside the USA, no-hole-card games are played. The dealer in such a game does not draw or consult his hole card until after the players have made their decisions. In this kind of game it is not a good idea to double or split against a dealer’s 10 or ace, since a dealer blackjack will cause the loss of split and double bets, unless a pair of aces is played against a dealer’s 10. Then it is still okay to split. In some casinos, if the dealer later turns out to have blackjack, the layer loses his original bet but not any doubles or splits.
Altered Payout for Blackjack
Sometimes when only one deck is being used, blackjack will only pay 5:6 or 1:1 instead of the usual 3:5, since the player has the advantage of being able to count with only one deck.
Dealer Wins Ties
This variation so favors the house that it is usually only played in charity games.
If the dealer’s known card is an ace, the player has the option of betting that the dealer will get blackjack. This bet is half the player’s original bet, and pays 2:1. Insurance is not a good idea unless the player is counting cards, because the probability that the dealer will get a 10 card is only 4/13. If the player is counting cards and knows that the probability is higher, insurance can be a wise decision.
Some houses allow players to make bets alongside their original bets,and such bets include getting three of a kind, a pair, or many others.
Basic strategy is a standardized set of decisions for the best play under the following circumstances: 4 to 8 decks, dealer stands on soft 17, double on any 2 cards, double after split permitted, only original bets lost on dealer blackjack, and late surrender.
If a player keeps track of cards which have been dealt, he or she can calculate the probabilty of any undealt card’s being played. This allows the player to deviate from basic strategy and to decide how much to bet depending upon the probability of getting a good hand.
Card counting sytems typically apply point scores for ranked cards, such as 1 point for cards 2-6, or 0 points for cards 7,8, and 9. When a card is dealt, the player adds number for that card’s rank. Counting starts out a 0 for a new deck, and may vary depending upon the number of decks. While basic strategy reduces the casino’s advantage to only 1 per cent, card counting can reduce it to 0 or even give the player the edge over the house. Players caught counting cards are asked to leave, so it is a good idea not to make counting too obvious. Using calculators or other external devices is illegal.
While basic strategy depends upon the player’s total number and the dealer’s visible card, composition-dependent strategy takes into account which cards make up the player’s total. This method changes the odds in the player’s favor only slightly.
Shuffle Tracking and other Techniques
In games with more than one deck, tracking groups of cards, known as slugs, packs, and clumps, can be effective. This technique requires good eyesight and careful observation, but it has the advantage of being difficult for the casino to detect, since decisions are based upon what cards can be expected to be dealt because of their being near other cards in a cluster. If the house is unaware of the cluster, then it is not clear how the player is making his or her decisions. More information on shuffle tracking can be found in Arnold Snyder’s book The Shuffle Tracker’s Cookbook, or in his articles in Blackjack Forum, or in the works of Jerry L. Patterson. Various other methods for predicting which cards will be dealt are also available.
Games similar to blackjack include the English version, pontoon, and the an American variant, Spanish 21. The latter provides players with blackjack opportunities such as doubling down or surrendering, payout bonuses for certain card combinations, player pushes winning. The cost of those opportunities is that there are no 10 cards in the deck. Vegas style, or 21st century blackjack, has certain instances in which a bust does not necessarily equal a loss. In double exposure blackjack, both the dealer’s cards are played face up. Double attack blackjack has liberal rules made up for by the fact that blackjack only pays off at 1:1. In the French and German versions, splitting is not an option. Aces count only as elevens, but two aces count as blackjack. Chinese blackjack also has no splitting, and has other rules. Kampung blackjack is a Malaysian version of the Chinese game. In blackjack switch a player is dealt two hands and allowed to switch cards. Blackjacks only pay off at 1:1, and if a dealer has 22, it is a push. In Multiple action blackjack, 2 or 3 bets are placed on a single hand, and the dealer is dealt one hand per bet. Splitting and doubling are also allowed. Elimination blackjack is played as a tournament.
Side bets are allowed in many casinos. In royal match, a player is paid if his first two cards belong to the same suit, and there is a higher payoff if the suited pair is a king and queen, or if both the player and the dealer have suited king and queen. Another variation is 21 + 3, in which a player is paid if his hand and the dealer’s hand equal a certain kind of poker hand.
In Washington State, blackjack players can place an ante bet and a player can make a bet equal to the ante. Payoff is 1:1 for both ante and individual bets. More payments are made if aces are in a hand with various other cards. This is known as three card blackjack.
Blackjack Hall of Fame
The Blackjack Hall of Fame is located in Barona Casino in San Diego, California. When it opened in 2002, seven players were inducted, and more have been added every year. Some of its most famous members include Edward O. Thorp, author of Beat the Dealer, Ken Uston, who made popular the idea of team play, Arnold Snyder, editor and author of Blackjack Forum, and Stanford Wong, originator of the “Wonging” technique, playing only with a positive count.
HOW TO PLAY BLACKJACK
The purpose of blackjack is to defeat the dealer’s cards by accumulating a gross that is greater than dealers gross, or by not going over 21 when the dealer does. Having a total greater than 21 is called “breaking” and the casino dealer wins automatically.
Online Card values:
- An Ace values are either as 1 or 11
- Cards 2 thru 9 value as their face values
- The 10, Jack, Queen and King are all grossed at 10
Because an Ace may gross as 1 or 11, a player will need to decide its count. You should of cross assume the value to which make your hand nearest a blackjack. The gross in the same hand (from 11 to 1 for instance) to keep your hand from going over 21.
A casino hand including an Ace is named a soft gross, if the Ace can be valued as either 1 or 11 without being greater than 21. A casino hand that includes an Ace is called a hard total, possibly if the Ace must be grossed as a 1 to keep the online player from busting.
Playing Online Blackjack
Pre the deal, all bettors have to place a bet by betting chips. Each casino player and the dealer are dealt two cards. One of the dealer’s hands, the up card, dealt up so bettors can view its value. The other dealer’s card, is down so its unknown to the other players.
Its important to re mine your self that blackjack is between the player and the casino. The other players at the table can not affect the outcome of your play.
Also, there are no plays that are left to the dealer, all regulations of play are already predetermined by the online casino.
Hit - means you’ll take another card.
Standing - means you have a value that you feel will beat the dealers and you don’t need to draw any more cards.
Doubling down - means to double your wager and draw one more card.
Splitting pairs - means to split a pair. If you receive a pair of 3,3, than you may request to split that hand to increase your chance to draw to a bettor hand.
Insurance. Insurance a bet made on the side, your given 2 to 1 odds that the dealer has a blackjack. Normally you pass because the odds are not in your favor.
General Online Blackjack Chip Colors
Blackjack or "Natural"
A blackjack or natural is when you have a made a hand that grossed a total of 21 with two cards. This hand pays 1.5 to 1 and is the biggest reason blackjack is such a great game to play at an online casino.
Also a blackjack is the most powerful hands in casino blackjack. It cannot be beaten, only a tie can result if the dealer too has a 21. Of course you can call insurance in this position and still win even money. I’d recommenced that bet if you are risking a lot on one hand.
GLOSSARY OF TERMS ONLINE BLACKJACK TERMS
Only applies in brick and mortar casinos. Its when the first card of the shoe is burned. Its there to help detour card counting.
Also called a bust, when your hand exceeds the value of 21
Only applies in brick and mortar casinos. Its what is used to cut the deck post shuffle. Usually the host player at the table cuts.
To double your wager when in an advantageous position.
Double For Less
To double less than your original bet when in ad advantageous situation.
When you continually make the same bet hand after hand.
Only applies in a multi player games. Its the player who acts first in a hand.
When you are isolated and only play against the dealer.
To draw another card<
The card the dealer has the is not visible to the public. The mystery card.
A side bet made to protect your hand against the dealers blackjack. Normally not a good bet unless you count cards.
Also called a blackjack, is when your two cards total a 21. THIS IS THE MONEY HAND!
When both the players and dealers hands have an equal numerical value. Bets are returned to player.
Only applies to brick and mortar casinos. Its where decks of cards or store before being dealt.
A hand that has an ace in it. When ever you have to different totals.
A hand where you can split and make into two hand increasing or decreasing your advantage over the dealer. A very smart blackjack move.
To wager half your bet before cards are given.
To draw no more cards.
This is when you have a value of a hand that’s between 12 and 16. Basically a hand with a small odds of winning. Not a hand you want.
Not available on all blackjack games. Its when you end your hand early but loose half your wager.
In my opinion the best pos ion. This is the position where the players acts last and basically determines the dealers outcome. All the players at the table depend on you to play good hear.
The card that dealer show to the rest of the players.
Scroll To Top