The game of BlackJack is a mix of strategy, skill and fortune where the gambler has to constantly make a choice: to play or to stand, to double down or not, to split or not. The calculation of probability is essential here and an appropriate game strategy can provide a mathematical advantage over the dealer (the casino), who always adopts a game tactic a priori.
BlackJack, which many still call by its original name ” Vingt et Un” (twenty-one), originates in France around the 17th century. It became very popular in England and was first introduced into the United States around 1910 and quickly began to spread all over the country.
The English name BlackJack was coined in America and came from a special feature of Vingt en Un, that is, a payout (precisely 10 to 1) when one had a hand of a Jack and an Ace of Spades. Now let’s examine the essential rules of BlackJack and later on, the winning strategy.
The rules of BlackJack
The rules of the game are fairly easy to learn. The dealer (bank) faces one to seven players. Multiple decks of French cards, ranging from 2 to 9 according to the casino, are utilized.
The cards retain their nominal value except for the ace that may take on a value of 1 or 11, at the player’s discretion. All face cards have a value of 10. The basic aim of the game is to win a hand with a value close to twenty-one without overstepping. Any hand more than twenty-one is a “bust” and immediately causes the player to lose.
After the players have made their bets, the dealer distributes two cards to each player in turn and deals himself one (face up). After checking his own score, the player may take additional cards (hit) with no limit, to improve score. The highest score is 21 and the cards of those who bust are immediately withdrawn together with their wagers.
At the end of these operations, the dealer exposes his second card and if he has a hand that ranks less than 17, he is forced to hit until he reaches that minimum score. The player with the highest score wins. If the game ends in a tie, the hand is considered null.
Payouts are 1 to 1 except for BlackJack, which occurs when the hand’s first two cards sum to 21. In this case payout is 3 to 2. Blackjack wins against an ordinary 21.
If the dealer’s first card is an Ace, the player may buy insurance to protect himself from dealer blackJack. To take the option of insurance, you will have to pay half the amount of your original bet. If the dealer has blackJack, he collects all the losing wagers and pays insurance 2 to 1. If he does not have blackJack, the insurance wager loses and the game continues as usual.
If the player’s first two cards are a “pair,” meaning two cards of the same value, he can “split the pair.” He then plays two separate hands.
To avail himself of this option, the player has to make a second bet of equal value. When splitting a couple of aces, only one card can be played for each ace. If blackJack is obtained after splitting, it is no more considered blackJack but an ordinary 21.
If the player’s first two cards add up to 9,10 or 11, the player has the opportunity to “double down“by making a second bet with equal value. In this case, he will have the right to take only one additional card.