The Fundamentals of Blackjack


Blackjack, also known as 21, is a staple in casinos that provide table games. This is one of the oldest and most popular betting games offered. There are many different limits and anyone can play. The rules are fairly simple with the primary objective being to beat the dealer.

The Basics

Blackjack can be played with one to eight decks of cards (this is an effort to diminish the card-counting technique). Many casinos are not only using multiple decks, but have continuous shuffling machines. In single and double deck games, the dealer holds and shuffles the cards and distributes them. In a multi-deck game, the dealer distributes the cards from a shoe (a box that holds the cards).

One and two deck games are extremely uncommon in casinos with most dealing from the shoe. The hand is dealt face up to all the players at the table who are not allowed to touch their cards. The game is played in a heads up fashion with everyone against the dealer. If the total count of your cards is less than or equal to 21 and is higher than the dealers hand you win.

If your hand totals over 21 you bust which is an automatic forfeit of chips. If the dealer also busts, you still do not win. The player always makes the first move. Unlike other card games, the suit of the card has no bearing on the outcome of the hand.

The Card Values

Cards 2-10 are counted as shown. All the face cards have a value equal to 10 and an ace counts as either a 1 or an 11. For instance, an ace and an 8 can either be combined to equal either 9 or 19 depending on the strategy for that hand. Hard hands are those that do not contain an ace. A soft hand is one that does contain an ace.

The Table

A blackjack table is shaped as a semi-circle. On the felt, there is a circle and a square for each seat. Chips must be purchased from the dealer and a bet is only valid if the chips are placed in the circle. Once all bets have been placed play can commence.

Blackjack is a fairly simple game consisting of simple math. Good decisions are based on mathematical calculations. Blackjack is one of the most fun and popular casino games due to its simplicity and immediate action.

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