Blackjack is the most popular and perhaps the simplest, casino game. The basic premise is for players to reach as close as they can to a total of 21 without going over – or bust – and if the player gets nearer to the magic 21 than the dealer, then they win the hand.
Each card holds its own value, with the face cards (Jack, Queen and King) holding a value of ten. The ace is a very helpful card in Blackjack as it can hold a value of either 1 or 11, depending on which is most useful to the hand held.
Blackjack – or natural – is when a total of 21 is made with the original two cards. This can be made with an ace and a face card, or ace and ten. Blackjack is an automatic win for the player, usually of one and a half times the bet.
The game begins with each player placing their bets. The dealer will set about dealing each player around the table one card, usually face up, including himself. He will then deal each player excepting himself a second card; each player can then decide whether to ‘hit’ or ‘hold’ with his hand.
If a player ‘hits’ and his cards total over 21 he is ‘bust’ and out of the game.
The cards held will need to be below 21 then a player can keep asking for more cards – but it is unusual for a player to ask for a ‘hit’ if their hand totals 16 as the chance at this point of remaining under 21 is only 40% so it’s considered a risky play to hit at that point.
Once each player has played their hand, each reaching a score as close as possible to 21, the dealer will deal his second card and play his hand.
If the dealer’s hand, once played, totals less than the player then the player wins. If the dealer’s hand totals more than the player’s hand then the player loses.
If the dealer’s hand matches that of the player a ‘stand-off’ occurs – this means that nobody wins and the money already gambled stays on the table for the next hand.