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Blackjack is a card game popularly played in casinos and at home with family and friends. The game can be played either for profit or fun. This piece introduces a beginner to the game, providing brief coverage and most importantly outlines the various tips and strategies on how to set up and get started.
As mentioned earlier, its precursor is twenty-one an ancient card game that finds its roots in Spain and which was first recorded in the early 17th century. The game later became prominent in France in the 18th century where it quickly spread from Europe into America and other parts of the world.
It later developed into pontoon in Great Britain, and soon after the first world war in the early 19th century, it was introduced in America as blackjack. Today, blackjack is a household name in the gambling arena and casinos around the world. Its widespread popularity is much credited to the legislation of gambling in America.
The game involves comparing cards between one or more players around the table, including the card dealer, some of who`s functions include; shuffling the deck of cards, handling the money, counting chips, and at the same time controlling the floor, making sure players observe and adhere to the rules and regulations of the game. Here players don’t normally compete against each other but rather compete in turn against the dealer. The game can be played with one or more decks of 52 cards.
The value of the cards two through ten (2-10) is known as the pip value. the Jack, King, and Queen are usually the face cards, which normally have pictures on them and all of which are worth the numeric value ten (10). Aces can either be worth one (1) or eleven (11). At any particular point, the total sum of the holder’s cards is the hand value. To improve their hand, the players are allowed to draw more cards, thus a hand with the value of an ace at eleven is called a Soft hand, which means that a hand will not bust by taking up or drawing an additional card. Aces can also be valued at one, therefore preventing the hand from exceeding twenty-one (21) otherwise the hand will be called (HARD).
Once each player on the table has completed their hand, it turns back to the dealer. The dealer’s hand cannot be completed if all participating players have either busted or have received blackjacks. The dealer, in turn, reveals the hidden card and must continue to hit until all cards total 17 points, but with the 17 points or higher, it’s a must for the dealer to stay.
To understand the best strategy in approaching the game, it’s important to first have a look and go through the basic rules of the game.
You can enjoy the blackjack game without necessarily having to go to a physical casino by playing on an online casino. A majority of the online casino providers do offer blackjack because of how popular the game is. In some of the online casinos, such as on black-jack.com/free, you can even play for free.
Let’s get straight into the action. Before any deal begins, each of the players is required to place a bet on the table in the form of chips where the minimum and maximum amount limits are established beforehand.
The shuffle and the cut
The dealer shuffles the cards thoroughly thus effectively mixing and combining a portion of the pack. The dealer then picks a player to cut the cards and then inserts the plastic card in place so that the rest of the cards are not used. This move is effective in that it discourages and hinders professional card counting.
After each player successfully places their bets, the dealer gives each player one card face up in a clockwise rotation. The dealer also draws one card face up for himself. On the next rotation, the dealer deals each player another card faces up, but in this round, the dealer draws for himself the second card face down.
In instances where only one deck of cards is used, all the player’s cards are dealt face down and here they get to hold them in their hands.
The Blackjack or Naturals.
This is almost rare but lots of fun when attained. This occurs when the player’s first two cards are an Ace and a picture card or face card, thus this giving a value of 21 in the two cards hence the name natural or blackjack. If any of the players has a blackjack while the dealer does not, the player is immediately paid. On the other hand, if the dealer has a natural, he immediately collects all bets belonging to all players who do not have a natural or blackjack. If the dealer and a player both have naturals, then there is a standoff or a tie, and the player takes back his chips.
Normally, the player on the left side of the table goes first and has a choice on whether to stand, meaning to ask for another card or hit, meaning to ask for another card to reach a value closer to 21 or ultimately hitting the 21 spot. Hitting could be a bit risky for players in that a player may hit a score above the 21 limit hence going bust. when this happens, the player loses and the dealer collects the wagered bet. This goes around in the same rotation where each player is served the same.
On each player’s turn, they can hit, or signal for a card. There are several ways to signal, like scratching the table with a finger or two pointing towards their direction. or wave their hands in a motion that would suggest to the dealer to add a card or not .if the player decides to stand they can signal this move by moving their hands sideways.
Nobody walks into a blackjack table with the hope of losing a game. For this treason alone, we tapped some expert minds and borrowed a few tips to help beginners settle for their first game. Below are some tips and strategies on how to come ahead.
If two of the player’s initial cards are of the same value, for example, two Kings or Queens, he may choose to treat the cards as two separate hands when dealt in the following round. Here the bet amount placed in the original bet goes to one card, and an equal or same amount must be placed on the second card This move highly increases the chances of winning since the dealer treats each hand on its merit.
The Double Down
Another strategic option open to the player is to double their bet when the two initial cards dealt add up to 9, 10 or 11. When the turn falls on them, they can add up another bet equal to the original bet placed before. In this case, the dealer will only issue one card to the player faced down and can’t be turned up until all bets are settled at the end of the first hand. This is a great advantage to the player since the dealer does not enjoy the same privilege of either splitting or doubling down.
If the dealers face-up card is an ace, players are allowed to make side bets as insurance which can amount up to half the original bet placed. Here they wager on the probability of the dealers remaining face down card being a 10 or a face card thus amounting to a blackjack for the house to win. If this turns out correct, any player who placed the insurance bet is paid immediately the amount double the side bet. This proposition is only advisable for players only when they are absolutely sure that a sizable number of ten cards are still left undealt.
The Winning Strategy
Finally, the winning tactic in blackjack requires that a player plays each hand in its optimum. Such a strategy will always take into consideration the value of the dealers up card. If the dealers up card is relatively a good one e.g. the 7,8,9,10 or an ace card, the player should hit and continue drawing until a maximum of 17 or more is reached. However, if the dealer’s up-card is a bad one, for example, 4,5 or 6, the player should stop drawing immediately he reaches a total of 12 or above. The strategy in place here is to avoid taking any chance of going into a bust. This might seem like a poor holding strategy but works wonders with the desire that the dealer will hit and hopefully land above 21.