Blackjack, the gambling game offering the highest probability of winning
Blackjack is the oldest and also most popular card game played all over the world. You can find it in all brick-and-mortar casinos, online casinos, gambling houses and various clubs. Blackjack is sometimes also called "21".
Why the game is called blackjack
Blackjack is played with a pack of cards, specifically French cards. These are the same cards that are used for most classic card games. Originally, blackjack referred to a winning combination consisting of two specific cards – an ace and a "black jack". However, today blackjack means that your first two cards add up to a value of 21. This means that a blackjack consists of one ace and one card with a value of 10. The original name of the game remained unchanged since its creation.
Chance or strategy in blackjack
As in every gambling game, blackjack is also about chance and luck, to some extent. However, this is one of the very few games where an experienced player can cancel out the house advantage and turn the game into his favor. If you want to increase your chance of winning, you should know at least about the most basic blackjack strategy. This requires good memory and decision-making as well as basic mathematical skills. The basic blackjack strategy is often illustrated in the form of a table containing all combinations of cards, with recommendations for the best possible move for the player. We recommend learning the right moves by first playing blackjack for free. This allows you to gain experience; after some time, you will be able to reliably leave from a visit to the casino and/or a gambling house with a win.
The rules of blackjack are simple. Your goal is to defeat the croupier (also called the dealer). To do so, you need to hold a higher value of cards than those held by the croupier, but you must be careful not to exceed the value of 21. You also win if the croupier exceeds 21 or if your first two cards are a blackjack – meaning that their value is precisely 21.
Counting cards in blackjack
- Cards 2 to 10 have precisely the value that is listed on that card.
- The J (Jack), Q (Queen), K (King) cards have a value of 10.
- The ace (A) can have a value of 1 or 11, depending on what you prefer.
How to start playing
The first step in a brick-and-mortar usually involves getting chips for your real money. You don't put money into the croupier's hand, but instead leave them on the table. Before a game, you place your bets (in the form of chips) on the designated spot on the table. And after that, a game of blackjack can begin.
The croupier deals cards to all players (including himself). Every player gets 2 cards, face up. The croupier will get one card face up and one card face down. Players are not allowed to touch their cards.
If your first two cards have a value of 21, then you have a blackjack and win 1.5 times your initial bet. Of course, this is assuming that the croupier has a lower value of cards. If the croupier has the same total value of cards as the player, then the result is a draw and the bet remains for the next game.
As soon as the game begins, the player will need to decide how to proceed. There are several options, each with its own name:
- Hit/Draw – if the value of your cards is too low, you can draw another card from the croupier.
- Stand – if you're happy with your cards, you can stand, which means you won't draw another card.
- Double – double your bet. In this case, the croupier gives you one more card and the game ends.
- Split - if you have cards with the same value, you can split them; after that you will continue by playing each game separately. But you should double your original bet.
- Surrender – if you don't like your first two cards, you can surrender. In this case you lose one half of your bet.
- Insurance – you get a safety net. This is used to cash in on the croupier's blackjack. You can use at most one half of your bet as insurance. However, the probability that the croupier will get a blackjack is so small that it's not generally worth it to use insurance.
Blackjack rules for the croupier
Once players are out of options, the croupier will reveal his second card and proceed based on fixed, deterministic rules. If the sum of his first two cards is at most 16, he must draw. If his cards have a value of 17 or more, he must stand and cannot draw another card.
For the croupier, it holds that an ace always has a value of 11 unless the total value of his cards exceeds 21. If the total value exceeds 21, then an ace can be valued as 1.
Winning or losing in blackjack
The player wins whenever he holds cards with a value greater than those of the croupier, as long as the player's value doesn't exceed 21.
The player loses whenever he holds cards with a value lower than those of the croupier or if the player's value exceeds 21.
A draw occurs if both the croupier and the player hold the same value of cards.