Blackjack Rules and History
Blackjack is the most popular gambling card game played in both online and land-based casinos across the globe. Some players play for fun, but most enjoy gambling for high stakes.
Blackjack started with the French game "Vingt-et-Un" ("Twenty-one"), which surfaced in casinos in the early 1700s. When French settlers brought the game to the New World, Blackjack was not as popular, thus the casinos had to provide a wealth of incentives for certain hands to lure in players.
One of these was the celebrated payout of ten-to-one for the ace of spades and a "black jack" (jack of spades or jack of clubs), hence the name of the game. Although the big payouts are a thing of the past, the name has stuck to this day.
Players compete against the dealer, rather than each other, for the best hand. The dealer and each player receive two cards. In a single-deck or double-deck game, the cards are face down. In a game using a multi-deck shoe, the cards are face up. The objective is to get a point total as close to twenty-one as possible, without going over that score.
The cards' suits are irrelevant. All face cards (kings, queens and jacks) are worth ten points each. Aces are valued at either one or eleven, depending on the current hand total score. If a hand's total score goes over twenty-one, the hand is "busted" and the player loses. If the dealer’s hand is higher than the player's and still under twenty-one, the player loses.
Players lay their bets down at the start of a Blackjack hand, or at different specified points during the hand. Some of these include making a "double-down" or "split" bet. The player has numerous choices ahead of him when he receives his first two cards.
He can choose to "hit" (take another card). A player can hit his hand until his score is at or above twenty-one. The player can signal for a hit by tapping his finger on the table.
A player can also choose to "stand" or "stay" (stop taking more cards). The player can signal his intention to stand by either waving his hand over his cards or tucking his cards under his chips.
A player also has the alternative to “double down” by making another bet and getting only one more card. The player can signal his choice to double down by placing his second bet next to the first bet.
If a player receives a matching pair, he can "split" the hand. A player can split up the pair into two distinct hands and get another card for each one. The player has to place another bet for his new hand for the same amount as the original bet. The player can signal his option for splitting his hand by showing two fingers and placing an additional bet.
The last option the player has is that of "surrender". A player can "surrender" his hand and lose half his bet rather than risk the whole bet on a bad hand. Surrender is a special alternative at most casinos, but the hand signal is a vertical slashing gesture.
Expert Blackjack players use a multitude of maneuvers. They often make their decisions based on an advanced chart of computed options. Even so, it's crucial to remember that Blackjack is a gambling game, which means that the casino always has the advantage.