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Blackjack

Blackjack is an ever popular card game played worldwide in Casinos far and wide. Originating from the historic British card game “Twenty One”, it belongs to the same family of card games as Pontoon. This family requires players to reach a certain numeric value with their hand of cards whilst. There is an element of luck attached but more savvy players may use probability and known cards to try and better their odds.

The full 52 card deck is used for a game of Blackjack. Players play against the dealer, traditionally seated at a Blackjack table. This table is semi-circular with the dealer standing or seated behind the straight edge and players gathered around the circular edge.

The aim of the game is for each player to score a card number total value of 21, or as close to this as possible, without going over 21. Going over 21 makes a player ‘bust’.

Where does the betting come in? Well, before the dealer deals, players place a bet. The dealer then deals to players left to right face up so cards are visible to all. Dealers’ cards may be dealt one face up and one face down to reduce chances of players being able to ‘count cards’ or better their chances of besting the dealer.

Depending on their hand, players can request more cards or stick with their existing. The choice is up to you based on how close to 21 you are and how close the other players are. You may request as many additional cards as you like on your turn. But remember, going over 21 makes you ‘bust’.

The dealer plays once all players have had their turn. If the dealer busts out, all players with a hand of 21 or less will win. If the dealer beats the players to 21 or closer, dealer wins.

Blackjack is a popular Casino game that has transparent and simple rules that you can pick up readily. It is in fact a thrilling game that favors strategist minds in several ways. There are high chances for an expert to win who can accurately count the number of cards and plays a perfect game. Blackjack can easily be classified as one of the most attractive casino games.

In the current-day world, blackjack is the hottest game in almost every casino, be it traditional or online. However, the popular home game has somewhat different rules and regulations. In the casino version of blackjack, the deals handle most aspects of the game, including shuffling, dealing with the cards, and supervising all the bets, whereas, in the home game, the players are allowed to be a dealer.

What Is the Objective Of Blackjack?

In blackjack, you aim to beat the dealer. While many people seem to be confused about the objective, it is rather simple.

Here are some frequently asked questions about beating the dealer:

How can I beat the dealer?

  1. By pulling out a hand value that is higher than the hand value of the dealer
  2. If the dealer pulls out a hand value over 21, you will win
  3. By pulling out a hand value of 21 on picking your first two cards. But the dealer doesn’t do so. 

Can the dealer beat me? 

Yes of course! The dealer can beat you if:

  1. Your hand value goes over 21
  2. The dealer manages to own a higher hand value than yours by the end of the round.

The pack in blackjack

Most of the games use a standard pack of 52 cards. However, these days, most casinos use shuffled decks. The game involving six decks (312 cards altogether) is extremely popular in online casinos as well as physical ones. In addition to the variations in the number of cards, a lot of casinos use a blank plastic card. The dealer places it towards the end of the shuffled cards. This extra card indicates when the cards need reshuffling. Then, once the cards from four or more decks finish, the dealer manages those cards using a shoe.

Betting in blackjack

Before the game and dealing begin, all players are obliged to place a bet. They bet chips in their designated areas. Although the general limit of the bet ranges from £2 to £500, it may vary according to the players.

Scoring in blackjack

  1. Each player has the freedom to decide whether an ace is worth 1 or 11. 
  2. All face cards (J, Q, K,) in the deck are worth 10.

3. Every other card has its pip value meaning 4 counts as four and 10 counts as ten.

What Is the Table’s Layout When Playing Blackjack?

In most casinos, blackjack is played on semicircular tables. Such tables can accommodate a differing number of players. Commonly, a table can accommodate 7 players. But we have seen tables that are capable of accommodating 12 players as well! The dealer stands behind the chip rack, whereas the players sit on the opposite side.

Playing the Blackjack Game

Blackjack is a super entertaining game that can be played with variations in rules and number of decks. However, the most universal version of blackjack uses six-deck or eight-deck shoe. Furthermore, Blackjack games that involve the “shoe” (a machine that dispenses cards) are more popular than single or double deck games. However, many casinos do not have this version of the blackjack yet.

Here’s the step-by-step method of playing the most common six-deck blackjack. It is bound to take you through the game conveniently!

1. Player Buys Chips

The first and essential part of playing at a table is to have the chips. These days, most casinos do not allow players to use cash. So for this purpose, you need to get your money exchanged. You can do this by simply walking to the table and placing your amount on the table. You cannot hand over your money to the dealer. Moreover, for security reasons, the dealer doesn’t take another from the player’s hand directly or vice versa.

Just lay your money on the table, and the dealer will get this on the camera. Within a few minutes, the pit boss will arrive to check the amount placed. After verification, the dealer will count chips equal to the amount you have put in and push the chips toward you. Now you are in charge of the chips, and you can wage them according to your will. In addition, the dealer will set up your buy-in on the table so that the cameras can see your amount openly.

2. Player Places A Wager

At the start of the round, the first thing you need to do is place the bet. You are supposed to place the bet in the betting circle, which sometimes is a square or the casino’s logo. The table will have a guide telling you what the limits of betting are. In the UK, most tables have at least £5 as the minimum limit of betting.

Note: The minimum and maximum limits depend on the casino you go to and its environmental status where its location is. 

3. Dealer Deals Cards To Play

After you have given out your bet, the dealer will distribute the cards in clockwise direction. Each player will be given one card, facing upwards while the dealer gets a card facing downwards. Once again, the dealer will give every player and himself a card facing upwards. At this point, every player has two cards with faces up in front of them whereas the dealer has one card facing up and one more, facing down. After the card distribution, starts the real game!

4. Player Chooses How To Play Hand

The dealer usually starts with the player at his left, also known as first base. And wait for that player to play their hand. You have two cards in front of your bet. Add up the values so that you get a hand total ranging from 4 to 21. If for your first two cards, you receive a ten-value card and an ace. It means that you got a blackjack. For those, you get paid 3 to1.5 of your wager at the spot without playing through the entire round!

However, there is an exception. If the dealer also gets a blackjack, you will not win any amount, but you will not lose your actual wager. If neither you nor the dealer gets a blackjack, the dealer will point towards every incoming player to play the hand. When it’s your turn, use relevant hand signals to make your decision.

Note: The dealer will not consider and even respond to any of your verbal instructions. It is because the camera needs to know your decision as well

Here are five ways you can play your hand:

Stand: If your next two cards are efficient you can stand. In this way, the dealer will move to the next player. (Hand signal: wave your hand or place it openly on the table). 

Hit: You can ask for more cards if you want to improve your hand total. The dealer will give you a single card at once until you go over 21 (bust) or you choose to stand. (Hand signal: Slightly tap the felt with your fingers). 

Double down: If you desire to take an additional card despite having a hand total that is beneficial to you, asks the dealer. But you would have to double your wager, and then he would hand you only 1 additional card. (Hand signal: to secure a supplementary card, place a wager that equals your initial wager and put it on the left side of your original bet. The dealer will hand you a card sideways). 

Split: In the case of getting a pair meaning 2 cards having equal value, you have the freedom to place another wager. The dealer will split both cards such that each will become the first one on two new hands. This strategy applies to the face cards as well. It is because they have the same value as well. (Hand signal: before making a peace sign, make sure to place a wager equal to your original one.) 

Surrender: if you feel unsatisfied with your initial hand, then you can give up on it in exchange for half of your original bet. (Hand signal: mark a line behind your bet as if you are replicating cutting a slit on the table with an invisible knife). To stay on the safe side, make sure to comment verbally “surrender” and indicate the hand signal to the cameras. 

5. The dealer’s play

All these choices may have put you in a dilemma. How to choose the best option? Which one is the most suitable for me? Well, choosing the best choice always depends on the dealer’s “up-card”. Well remember, it is the one that is facing upwards and visible to you and the other players. 

Nonetheless, based on the card the dealer makes visible and, what you have, you have to make the correct choice according to the basic strategy. Realistically, the basic strategy is a mathematically optimal way that provides a solution for every combo of player card and the dealer’s up-card. A computer that played millions of blackjack matches founded the basic strategy. It founded the best way to solve every hand combination. If you follow the basic strategy, you don’t have to stress over the guesswork!   

Player hand resolution

If you succeed in using the above mentioned 5 options of the basic strategy, then one of the following given things may happen:

  1. You received cards, and according to the basic strategy, you should not take any additional cards. 
  2. You made a hand and collected a total of 21 or less and didn’t get busted. 
  3. You chose to surrender, or your hand got “busted”. If this happens, you will lose your wager at the spot. 

If at this point your hand isn’t busted and you haven’t chosen to surrender either, then it’s now the dealer’s turn to play. The dealer flips over their “hole card” (facing down) and adds up the cards. If the hand turns out to be 17 or greater, the dealer will stand by default. But if the hand is lower than 17, then the dealer takes up additional cards.

You should know that doubling, hitting, and splitting are not usable by the dealer. He plays the hand in the same manner. But there is only one exception. If the dealer turns out to have a 17 with an ace and a six, then the dealer may hit the hand. Such a 17 is called “soft 17”. This condition is favorable for the dealer because of the flexible value of the ace (either 1 or 11). If the dealer hits the hand, a bold and prominent text will appear on the table.

Payouts

Now you and the dealer are done playing their respective hands. According to the restrictions listed above, the following things may occur:

  1. The dealer’s hand will bust, and they will pay 1 wager to every hand that is present on the table.

Or

  1. The dealer manages to make a hand (through17 to 21). If your hand is still in the game, it is a simple game of who has the higher hand. If the dealer manages to have a higher hand in the game, they will sweep your bet. However, if you have a higher hand, the dealer pays you an amount that is one time equal to your wager. In some rare cases, you and the dealers have an equal hand-total. So, in this case, you don’t have a wager, but you get to keep your money. This situation is known as a “push”. 

That’s it; you have made it through the round! That’s all you need to know. After this, the cards get shuffled, and the next round begins. All the best!

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