It stands to reason why Blackjack, one of the most famous casino games, should be labelled more than just ‘popular’, it’s a global success and justifiably so. Here we give you an overview of the origins of Blackjack as well as some applicable strategies. Blackjack is no longer played by the few, but attracts countless numbers of online gamers from all over the world.
Like the majority of card games, the origins of the game cannot be easily traced. The rules evolved slowly only to be later transformed and over the years several styles of play ended up being melded together. It was in 17th century France that the closest ancestor of blackjack originated through a card game called "Twenty-one" or 21. The rules were slightly different from those of the modern game, for example the dealer was the only one who had the opportunity of doubling down and there was a round of betting between each card dealt. Another similar game called “Thirty-one” was born in Spain, the objective of which was to reach 31 with at least three cards. To attract players to play the game, casinos tried various bonus programs to make it more attractive. One of these bonuses was awarded to players that obtained 21 with the Ace of spades in combination with any of the black jacks. These are the origins of the famous name the game has come to be known by today.
Blackjack (or 21) is very simple to learn in essence; to win you have to beat the value of the dealer’s hand without exceeding a score of 21 or ‘going bust’. The game is played using either a single deck or up to 8 decks of cards, with single and double decks being dealt by a dealer and multiple decks of cards being dealt from a special box called a shoe. The suits of the cards have no impact on the game. Cards 2 through to 10 are counted at face value. An ace can count as either 11 or 1 and the face cards i.e. the Jack, Queen and King count as 10 in value. Blackjack can be played by up to 7 players per table. The best total score is of course 21, with the toughest hand to beat being a two card draw of 21.
Choosing a variation of the game to suit your playing style can be difficult because of the numerous variations available to players in this day and age. It’s recommended to try out some variations of the game before settling on a type to play regularly. Consider what your goals are within the game and also how your available budget will affect your strategy. It’s not uncommon to find 2 or even 3 types of blackjack that fit all your criteria so it’s a good idea in the long run to switch between a few types, keeping your interest peaked during the game and ensuring you have a lot of fun in the process.
Like all other casino games, blackjack has its own extensive list of terms and associated phrases.
The most frequently used terms in a game of blackjack are those used during the course of play.
Some examples of common blackjack lingo you’re likely to use during a game are as follows:
Bust – When the combined value of your cards exceed 21
Draw – The act of being dealt a new card
Stay – Refusing a new card and sticking with what you already have
There is always going to be information that you do not know the answer to. Blackjack for example is such a complex game at times that it’s necessary to consult a lot of reference material or ask other players directly in order to find the answers that you’re looking for. Never be afraid to ask a question because you might miss a small detail or piece of information that in the end proves crucial to whether you win or lose.
Blackjack is one of those casino games that once studied and practised for long enough can actually become a full time job. Some people have taken the time to master the game and gone on to become rich, famous and have had the opportunity to travel the world as a direct result. They have a lot of great stories to tell about the game and the culture, directly contributing to the positive promotion of the game both online and in land based casinos.
Blackjack is one of those games where the myths and legends combine, giving the card game an air of mystery. It has been represented throughout history and popular culture as a decadent game played by the rich, powerful and often the reckless. These myths and legends have in their own right become a powerful marketing tool for the game. In reality blackjack is played by people from all over the world and from all backgrounds because of its ease of access and also the fact that it’s a game where you face off against the dealer instead of the other players at the table. Is your seating position considered an advantage because of this? Is there a specific betting system that’s 100% guaranteed to help you beat the house? These are just some of the myths and legends that surround this popular casino game.
Some people believe that you can gain advantage at the blackjack table depending on which position you choose to sit at. This is one of the greatest myths and legends that surround the game, with some saying it does and some saying it doesn’t. What is agreed on is the fact that seating position can have a direct effect on your ability to cheat in the game. An example of this would be “front loading”, whereby you choose either the centre position or one of the 2 positions directly to the left and right of the dealer in order to potentially catch a glimpse of the dealers down card as it’s drawn. Some people even believe some seating positions are directly responsible for the outcome of the round for every player on the table.
Inherently different to the heads up style of play, blackjack tournaments can involve hundreds of participants at one time. The object of the game remains exactly the same i.e. beating the dealer and one good thing is that whether you play online or at the casino, the probabilities are identical. Players who win tournaments do so by combining their extensive knowledge of the game with an adaptable playstyle, knowing what hands to play when and using precise betting methods to limit their losses.
It’s fairly evident that there’s a great variety in the types of people who frequent the blackjack table. Recognising that there is subtle difference is only part of it. For the most part, blackjack players can be classified by one of several types of player profiles. One such example is “the statistical player”, the most famous of these being statistician and mathematician Edward Thorp, who to this day is still considered the grandfather of the technique of card counting.
When played correctly, online blackjack is the game from which the casino derives the smallest profit (about 0.5% in favour of the casino). There is no single basic strategy in blackjack. As the card game began gaining popularity among casino players, mathematically proven game strategies began to appear. The Optimum Strategy in Blackjack, written by the American author Roger Baldwin, explains the different theorems applicable to blackjack. In addition, the early nineteenth century was rich in strategic publications of all kinds.
Later, even more complex strategies were born thanks to the birth of computerized simulations. These went on to be used by talented players or even teams of players. Nevertheless, the latter has now been banned by casinos. These simulations gave clear and accurate responses to the questions that players frequently asked such as potential pay outs and frequencies of winning hands.
The answers to all your questions and more can be found in our exclusive blackjack strategy guides available on this website. You will also find more guides covering the following games: