If you happen to hear our enthusiastic Casino Gorilla gambling blabbing about an obscure-sounding game by the name of ‘Twenty-one’, well don’t despair and wonder how it passed you by. He is merely talking about the good old trusty game of Blackjack. By far the most popular casino game ever invented. The Gorilla was of the opinion that an expansive description of the game was necessary for players who were curious about trying it out.
And as it happens, he is in the mood to tell you all about it. Luckily enough for beginners, online blackjack isn’t rocket science; it’s a game that one can quickly grasp and go about having fun, and possibly earning some dough. Once you go through this guide, you will be able to understand the basics about the game and who knows, it may be only a matter of time before you become a Blackjack guru like Edward O. Thorp.
What is Blackjack?
It’s not uncommon to encounter people (mostly casino amateurs) who don’t know what Blackjack is leave alone its alternative moniker, ‘Twenty-one’. The credit for the game’s invention goes to the Americans who went on to popularize it to the extent that it became a global hit. There is hardly a casino in the world worth its salt that operates without blackjack tables on its premises.
Blackjack is essentially a game that involves comparing cards. The typical traditional set up for a game involves a dealer surrounded by several players who compare cards with him/her in turn. The players compete with the deal but as a rule, don’t compete with each other. Playing the game requires one or more decks of 52 cards. In online casinos, you have an option to play with the computer, or with live dealers with actual professionals.
Understanding the Basics
The game begins once the dealer (the computer or live croupier) hands two cards to himself before dealing two cards to every player on the table as well. Usually one of the dealer’s cards will be facing up and the other down.
- All the cards with numerals on them take up the numerical value embossed on them i.e. (2 through 10)
- Face cards, on the other hand i.e. King, Jack and Queen, have a value of 10.
Aces are worth either 11 or 1. It at this juncture that beginners need to be acquainted with a number of terms;
- Hand value – This refers to the sum of all the card values you possess.
- A soft hand – Refers to a hand that has an Ace valued at 11. The game allows a player to draw an additional card to boost their hand. The reason why a hand value of 11 is called soft is because it won’t bust if a player takes an additional card.
- Hard hand – The reason why a soft hand doesn’t bust is because the Ace takes up a value of 1. This then prevents the hand value from exceeding 21. In the event you don’t have an Ace with you then the hand is hard.
The goal of the game is to strive to ensure your hand value gets as close as possible to 21 without busting.
Thus, the goal of the game is to strive to ensure your hand value gets as close as possible to 21 without busting. If your hand value exceeds 21 you lose the bet immediately. Upon completion of the player’s hand, it will now be the dealer’s turn. The dealer can, however, fail to play in the event the player has received a blackjack or has a busted hand.
The dealer will then proceed to reveal the card which customarily has a total of 17 or more points. The players on the table can beat him by;
- Reaching a higher final score without exceeding a hand value of 21.
- Receiving two cards that have a hand value of 21 which the dealer’s cards can’t match. This phenomenon is often called a ‘natural’ or a ‘blackjack’.
- Holding out till the dealer’s hand value surpasses 21.
Should any of the above three outcomes take place while you’re playing, feel free to celebrate as best you know how before getting back in there. Nevertheless, in the event the dealer and the player have similar totals (also called a ‘push’), no one loses on that hand.
The dealer will hand you your two cards and deal out two for himself. Once you’ve received you cards and have seen what you have to work with, one can make use of the following options;
- Stand – Taking this option communicates that you are satisfied with the cards you have and require no additional ones.
- Split – In the event you have two cards of equal value, this option allows you to play each of them as an individual hand.
- Hit – Requesting an additional card.
- Insurance – This option serves to protect you from a blackjack from the dealer. Should the dealer turn an Ace, taking this option compels the dealer to view the other card. In the event it has a value of 10 points, you get to win back the insurance bet. You should recognize, however, that this bet may be equal to half your original bet.
- Double – This options doubles your bet and procures you an extra card.
- Blackjack – You have one ace and a ten card. You win.