Learning the Basics of Blackjack
From the name itself, blackjack or 21 has the primary goal of reaching the highest valued point in the game which is 21, or any number lower but close to it. Going beyond this point or landing on a point that is higher than 21 is said to be an automatic loss. The game is an easy-to-play-and-follow one. Most gamblers even get so hooked up with this game that they end up playing it for very long hours. However, despite this catchy upside to blackjack, it still tends to be tricky and challenging especially to many beginners. And the only way, for these beginners to go with the flow as fluid as possible, is by unravelling the simple mechanism behind it to ensure a suspenseful, thrilling, and exciting blackjack experience.
The Story Behind the Game
Although blackjack has been around for centuries already, it was not until Edward O Thorp transcribed in his book ‘Beat the Dealer’ in 1963 the detailed instructions, rules, and regulations of the simple casino game by which it gained popularity across the world. Through his book, many casinos noticed how the game is a promising one, and soon enough opened it to the general public for general patronage. With this, the game became an instant hit and has even been deemed as the most sought after casino game. So much so that even mathematicians and statisticians were thought to have devised a way to beat its system, leading the game to become controversial over the decade. Yet, no matter how this controversy has ignited certain reservations from the game, it is still not surprising how blackjack gamblers exponentially increase over the passing of the day.
The Two Types of Blackjack
The decks used in blackjack may vary in number. While some casinos may use one or two decks, others utilize even up to six or eight decks. For speedy shuffling of such a large number of decks, most casinos simply use shuffling machines. How the cards are shuffled and how they are stacked actually pave the way for the rise of the two types of blackjack: the manual type and the shoe game type. The dealer is the one in charge of manually shuffling the cards in the manual type. Upon shuffling the cards, he will then lay them down face-down in front of the player, so that he may privately view his hand. Contrariwise, the shoe game type is made possible by a shoe contraption that shuffles the cards. Once the shuffling part is done, the dealer will then give the cards to the players’ face-up, with the strict rule that players are not allowed to touch them anymore.
The Mechanism of the Game
Although blackjack may be played by a lot of players, there are only two competing parties involved: the player and the house or simply the dealer. In order for a player to win, he must beat the house and not his co-players. As mentioned earlier, the winner must have a summed up total of points close or exactly 21. The key is for each player to get a higher point than the dealer’s cards but not exceed the limit, which is 21. When a player intends to beat the house by going over 21, he is beaten by the house and is tagged as “bust” for the said round, regardless of whether or not the house “busts” as well. However, if the player doesn’t “bust,” but the house does, the house loses and the player wins.
The Values of the Cards
- 2-10 cards are taken as is, with no respect to their suit.
- face cards are taken as 10 each.
- Aces, depending on the circumstances, could be taken as one or eleven.
- A hard hand simply refers to the player or the dealer who does not have even just a single ace in his cards. When this happens, the player or the dealer will only obtain the total value of his cards, no more, no less. On the other hand, a soft hand refers to the player or the dealer who has obtained at least a single ace in his hand. When any or both of them has an ace, the total value of their hands will be determined based on the value of the ace. An ace will only be taken as 11 if it will make the hand equal to 21. For example, when someone gets a 4, a 6, and an ace, the total is equal to 21 because if the ace is taken as 11, the total will be the perfect score of 21. When this happens, the player or the dealer wins the round. On the other hand, if the total will not reach 21, the ace is taken as one. However, if the hand exceeds 21 if the ace is taken as 11, the player or the house may be spared from a “bust” by taking it as a mere one and not an 11.
Additional Wager Options
- Insurance is when the player side bets half of his initial wager due to his strong hunch that the dealer has 21 or blackjack in his hand. This is only possible if the dealer has an ace as his showing card. When the dealer really has a 21, the insurance pays the player 2-1 odds. If not, the player loses.
- Surrender is when the player literally surrenders his bet. He will then only lose half of what he has wagered.
- Early Surrender is when the player surrenders prior to having the house or the dealer check his hand.
- Late Surrender is when the player is allowed to surrender after the dealer has privately checked if he truly has a blackjack. If, in case, the dealer really has a blackjack, surrender is not allowed and the player loses right away.
- Even Money is when the player wants to cash out his wager to a 1:1 ratio with a strong hunch that the dealer has a 21 after knowing that the other has an ace.
- Split Hand is when the player divides or splits the first two cards he has received and wagers on them separately. This is only possible if the player received two equal or similar cards.
- Double Down is when the player bets a double on his hand, thinking that he is to win by just looking at his first two cards.
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