Blackjack is an age-old casino card game which is essentially the Americanised version of a popular banking game called 21. Some of the other relatives of 21 and Blackjack include Vingt-et-Un and Pontoon. Blackjack is about card comparison between player and the dealer. There can be more than one players simultaneously playing the game against the dealer. It should be noted that each player in the game is competing against the dealer, and not against each other.
Blackjack has been a staple of brick-and-mortar casinos for centuries. Today you can also play Blackjack at different online casinos by using your money to bet, but there are also free Blackjack games available online. These free games work as excellent means for starting-out Blackjack players to learn the ropes of the game and get better at it, before investing any of their own money.
How to play Blackjack?
Blackjack can be played using one or more 52-card decks, and is also the most commonly played card game in casinos all over the world. All players in the game are dealt two cards each, face down or face up depending upon the rules applicable at the Blackjack table, and the casino. When playing in the US, two cards are also dealt to the dealer, usually one facedown and one face up. In majority of the other countries, the Blackjack dealer receives just one face up card.
The cards from 2 to 10 are valued at their pip value. King, Queen and Jack, the face cards are all considered worth 10 in value. Aces can be considered as equivalents of 11 or 1. The overall value of a hand is the sum total of the values of cards in it. Players are permitted to take additional cards (called hitting), in order to better their hands. A Blackjack hand comprising of just an Ace (if taken as 11) is called ‘soft’, implying that it will not go bust if an additional card is taken from the dealer. The Ace’s value can oftentimes be also taken as 1 in order to prevent a hand from going beyond 21. Else, the hand can be referred to as ‘hard’.
Once every player in the game has completed their hands, the dealer will reveal his hidden card and must continue hitting until his/her total reaches 17 or higher, upon which s/he will need to stay (take no more cards). Please note, the dealer won’t complete his hand if all the players have either received Blackjacks or have gone bust. The players bet on the possibility of having a better hand compared to the dealer. Please note, it’s the hand closest to 21 (without exceeding it) that would be considered the better hand. If practised well and played with attention, people can win millions of dollars playing Blackjack.
The outcomes of different Blackjack hands can be as follows:
- If a player gets an Ace and another card valued 10, s/he’s said to have received a ‘natural’ or ‘Blackjack’, and the dealer not. In this case player wins and normally gets a bonus.
- If a player’s hand total exceeds 21, s/he busts and loses, even if dealer goes bust.
- If a player’s hand doesn’t exceed 21 and the dealer’s does (goes bust), the player wins.
- If both player and dealer don’t go bust, but player’s total is higher than that of dealer, the player wins.
- If both player and dealer get the same total, no one wins and it’s called a ‘push’.