Playing Blackjack - Part 1
Blackjack - whether played online or not - is by far one of the simplest and most rewarding card games to play in a casino. Not only does it take no time at all to become acquainted with the basic instruction steps of Blackjack but you’ll quickly see that Blackjack is a game that you can have total control of; and your winnings and losses are entirely down to your personal skill and choices in play. Blackjack is also commonly known as 21.
How to get started
Using a regular deck of 52 cards the object of Blackjack is to score 21 points from the cards you’ve dealt. When those cards are dealt the numbers are all worth their face value and any picture cards are also worth 10, as are the 10s themselves. The Ace can be worth 1 or 11 – this decision is up to you. To win a Blackjack game you don’t need to worry about any of the other players, you’re not out to beat them – your mission is to beat the dealer. Expect up to six other players around the Blackjack table plus the dealer. The dealer will dispense the cards to the players from a shoe, card holder, and one at a time from his or her left. Cards can be dealt face up or face down; this usually varies from casino to casino, so if you’re playing online Blackjack you can easily find a Blackjack website dealing the cards you way up that you like.
How to win
How to win at Blackjack really couldn’t be any simpler. All you need to do is to score 21 points or to beat the dealer - how can you do this? First off you aren’t dealt an infinite number of cards per hand. The maximum number of cards you are allowed to hold in hands is five, but ideally you’ll only need two to win. Any starting hand you get that has either a ten or a picture with an Ace - makes 21 points straight off which is Blackjack, also known as ‘a natural’. If the dealer doesn’t also have a Blackjack - you win. If the dealer has a Blackjack too - it’s called a draw. However, you don’t have to even get a Blackjack to win. If the dealer deals him/herself more than 21 points and you have a Blackjack or fewer than 21 points - you win. In the end, you can still win if the dealer hasn’t bust, gone over 21 points, but you simply have a higher score on your cards than the dealer has - also without going bust. For example the dealer has a 10 and 6, which equals 16 points, but you hold a 10 and 8, equaling 18 points - you win. That’s simple, isn’t it? As previously mentioned, you can have more than 2 cards. Suppose you had a really low score off your initial two cards. You can ask for a ‘hit’, another card, to see if you can make 21. You can have up to three hits per hand - more on this in another article.
Betting and Blackjack
You always use chips to bet within a game of playing Blackjack and there will be a clear sign on the blackjack table stating the minimum and maximum bets that can be made. You’ll also see that the table will tell you what the payouts are and if there is a minimum draw the dealer must make for a valid hand. You buy your chips at the table from the dealer by just laying the cash on the table and asking the dealer for that amount of chips. Needless to say, depending on your bankroll - start off on tables with smaller betting limits. Once bought, leave the chips on the table and place your bets in the ‘betting square’ marked on the table at your seat. If you are just starting out playing Blackjack look for a table that’s already got a lot of players on it, as that’ll mean you have more time to clearly think about the bets you want to place, rather than feeling rushed into making decisions you can’t handle if you’re on your own, while not being a pro to this game. The seat to the dealers left is called the ‘first base’ and on the right is the so-called ‘third base’ - if at all possible be as far away from ‘first base’ as you can be - ‘third base’ is the ideal seat here.
The counting of the cards
If you’ve seen the film ‘Rainman’ you are well aware of the fact that the Blackjack deck isn’t shuffled and, if you are able of counting cards - you just might be able to remember what’s already gone and what’s likely to crop up next. Both online and real casinos have ways of spotting card counters - to whom they don’t exactly take a shine. However, most casinos will use multiple decks of cards with 8 being quite common. However, should you find a Blackjack game using just the one deck - your chances of winning can be increased.