Blackjack, also known as twenty-one, is one of the world’s most beloved casino games. It requires skill, strategy, and luck as players strive to have their hand value reach 21 or close to it without exceeding it. In this article, we’ll look into the rules, how to play, tips, and strategies associated with this popular card game.
The game of cards is typically played with one or more decks of standard playing cards, each card assigned a point value. Cards 2-10 are worth their face value while face cards (Jacks, Queens, and Kings) are worth 10 points; an Ace may be worth either 1 or 11 points.
At the start of each game, the dealer deals two cards to each player including themselves – one face up and one down. The goal is for your hand value to equal or close to 21 without exceeding it; if a player’s hand exceeds 21 points, they are declared a bust and lose the game; similarly, if your dealer’s hands exceed 21 as well, then both ends are lost in that round.
How to Play
After the dealer deals cards, players have two choices: hit (take another card) or stand (keep their current hand). If a player’s hand is close to 21 but not quite there yet, they may opt to double their bet and take one more card (known as a double down). Furthermore, players may split their hands if they have two identical cards with different values, creating two distinct hands.
Once all players have finished playing their hands, the dealer turns over their face-down card and plays according to the rules. They must hit until their hand value equals 17 or higher, or stand if it exceeds 17.
Tips and Strategies
To increase your chances of winning at blackjack, you must understand some basic strategies. Here are some helpful pointers and tactics:
- Always assume the dealer’s face-down card is a 10. This is because there are more cards with a value of 10 than any other value in the deck.
- Be mindful of the dealer’s upcard. If they have a 2-6 card, this increases their likelihood to bust, so it may be best to stand on a lower-hand value. Conversely, if they have an Ace upcard, there is less likelihood they will bust so hitting on that lower number has more benefits.
- Always split aces and eights into separate hands, as each can be played independently. A pair of eights should also be split, as 16 is considered a weak hand and splitting allows you to increase your hand value.
- Avoid insurance. Insurance is a side bet that the dealer has blackjack, and it’s not recommended for beginners.
- Practice basic strategy by studying available charts online. These will assist you in making the best decisions for each hand value.