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Blackjack Basics: Your Ultimate Blackjack Guide

Play your cards right and get ready to battle it out with the dealer in a thrilling game of Blackjack. In this guide, we’re going to let you in on all the secrets of the game – the lingo, types of cards, strategies and everything else in between. Who knows, you might turn out to be the next James Bond!

chips and cards

How the Blackjack Game Evolved Throughout the Years

This casino classic certainly has a long history. Who started it? What were the very first forms? Needless to say, there have been plenty of debacles regarding the topic, but it seems like there was more than one person who contributed to the evolution of the game.

Since they were known to enjoy a bit of gambling here and there, the Romans were thought to have paved the way for game as we know it nowadays. Their form of blackjack featured wooden blocks with numerical figures representing the cards.

Others argue that it all started in French casinos during the 1700s, with a game called Vingt-et-Un (21). Following its popularity, more forms of the game were introduced in France, Spain and Italy, with the introduction of the Quinze (15), One and Thirty (31) and Sette e Mezzo (Seven and a Half).

Interestingly, it didn’t get off to a great start by the time it reached the States during the 18th century. However, the year 1931 changed things around – it was the year that the state of Nevada legalized gambling for the very first time. On top of that, casinos introduced a special bet that truly changed the game – a hand with a Jack of Spades or Clubs and the Ace of Spades had a card total of 10-to-1 payout on the player’s bet.

From then onward, players from around the world are playing the game as we know it today. Whether you visit a land-based casino, or sign up to an online one, you’re guaranteed a memorable experience like no other.

How to Play Blackjack

Blackjack is played with a deck of 52 cards. Jack, Queen and King have a card total of 10, values of 2-10 stick to their respective values, while the aces have a total of either 1 or 11.

So, what do you have to do? Simple – bring down the house by forming a hand that does not exceed 21. You can also win by forming a hand that has a value that is higher than the dealer’s or drawing 21 on the first two cards dealt.

A dealer with chips and cards.

Blackjack Lingo

It’s really important for you to know the basic terminologies. Trust us when we say you don’t want to be THAT player to slow down the pace. Here are few basic terms that will help you understand the concept of the game.

Stand: When a player holds and ends his/her turn.

Hit: When a player requests another card from the dealer.

Split: When a player splits two cards of the same value into two hands.

Double Down: When a player places a second bet depending on his/her chances of winning the game.

Soft Hand: A hand consisting of an ace valued at 11.

Hard Hand: A hand consisting of an ace valued at 1 or no aces at all.

Bust: When the losing hand exceeds the amount of 21.

Types of Blackjack Games

As with any other casino games, casino providers are offering a plethora of online blackjack games to choose from. The rules of the game are the same, except for a few minor changes in the payouts, the number of cards used, as well as any settings or options that come with all games.

To name a few here are some of the most popular blackjack games you can try your hand at:

A live casino dealer and blackjack table

Classic Blackjack

The traditional form of blackjack, that is played with 1 or 8 decks. The objective of the game is to have a card total of 21 or a value that is higher than the dealer’s. You will both be dealt 2 cards each – the one which is facing down from the dealer’s end is called the hole card. The number shouldn’t be exceeded, as that would classify as a Bust deal and a broken hand.

Progressive Blackjack

For the most part, the same rules of classic blackjack are employed, with the only difference being that you can win a progressive jackpot. To win, you need to place an additional $1 bet within the jackpot.

Vegas Strip Blackjack

Vegas Strip Blackjack is played with 4 decks. Some of the rules include the following: the dealer is allowed to view his hole card and must stand on the soft 17, you can double down after the aces are split and cards can be re-spilt up to 3 times.

Pontoon

Pontoon brings an element of fun to the game. Interestingly, it is played with 48 cards since all 10s are removed. Stand, Hit and Blackjack also change to Pontoon, Twist and Stick.

Live Blackjack

If you really want to raise the stakes, then you should give live blackjack a whirl. Simply nothing beats the experience of watching the action unfold right before your eyes – the hand gestures, the interactions with the dealer, the camera angles, the sound effects… need we say more?

Understanding Blackjack Strategy

So, what’s the key to beat the dealer? While we’ll be highlighting everything you need to know in the blackjack strategy guide, we thought it would be a good idea to introduce you to some of the most popular blackjack strategies. The question is, do they really work?

Blackjack Basic Strategy

The blackjack basic strategy is the blackjack chart that features all combinations of your hand against the dealer’s card. While you won’t necessarily win big with this strategy, it’s a great way to work your way up to the top as a pro blackjack player. The more you include this in your game, the closer you are to reducing the house edge.

The Blackjack Basic Strategy follows a set of rules: the card decks, Soft 17, Doubling Cards, Doubling after Splitting and finally Surrendering at the right time.

blackjack strategy chart

Card Counting

As the name stands, card counting is a technique that allows players to know when they have an advantage over the house. It’s also great to include it in the blackjack basic strategy. It might be tricky to master at first, but with a few simple steps you can get the hang of it. In short, card counting is an efficient way of keeping track of the ratio of low cards to high cards.

It is legal to employ such a technique, just as long as the casino doesn’t catch you doing it. For obvious reasons, they don’t like this strategy as it gives players the upper hand.

Play Online Blackjack Today!

Simply put, you’re in for the ride of your life with this one. Blackjack is a true casino classic that has dominated the casino world by storm. So play your cards right, and who knows, you might be taking a few big wins home!