The goal of is to get your cards as close as possible to 21 and score more points than the dealer. The ideal number of points is 21, which is called Blackjack. However, this card value must not be exceeded.
The Blackjack rules state that:
The suits (clubs, diamonds, hearts, spades) only matter in certain rare variations of the game.
Dealers must take cards until they have at least 17. This card is therefore the dealer’s up card. You simply add the points up for all the cards in the hand. The hand with the higher total is the winner.
Any hand with a total of 22 or higher is a bust; it loses immediately.
For calculating a win there a only two hands that matter, the player’s hand versus the dealer’s hand, even if other hands from other players at the table are in play.
There are other extra bets that you can make. For example, if the table is full, you can bet on a player’s hand. This is called Bet Behind.
Then there is an insurance bet, called Even Money …
It can be placed if you have been given Blackjack and the dealer has an ace. If you bet it, the final payout is 1:1, regardless of whether the dealer hits Blackjack or not.
If you decide against the option, the hand is paid out as usual.
Find a nearly full table because a fuller table gives you more time to think about each hand without being rushed. A game with fewer players is much quicker.
If you’re playing in a real casino, you can’t rely on a table opened in another window. That’s why you should try to understand for yourself how to play and why. The basic Blackjack strategy advises the player when to pass or stay in the game, when to turn back or split or give up, all based on the cards in the player’s hand and the dealer’s face-up card.
As a side note: K stands for kings, Q stands for queens, J stands for jacks, A stands for aces.
Either because you already have enough points and you calculate your chances of winning; or if you take too high a risk to take another card; or if the dealer is much worse positioned.
A classic example is when you have 16 and the dealer’s card is a 5. A 5 is not very good, even if the dealer gets a card with 10 points, he has to draw another card and takes the risk to bust, i.e. go over 21.
16 is not necessarily a good result to be satisfied with, but if the dealer is so bad, you can live with it.
It’s different if you have 16 points, but the dealer has 7. In this case you shouldn’t stop, because the dealer could easily overtake you with a 10-point card.
There are also cases where you should stop although you would tend to make a split.
For example, with twice 10 points many players are inclined to make a split. However, the correct way to play would be to stop, regardless of which card the dealer shows.
You should take a card if you are either far below 21 and can’t be busted or if you have no chance to win.
If you have 6 points after the first two cards, it is clear that you should simply take one card and nothing else. No doubling, no split and certainly no stand.
But you have no chance to win with 16 if the dealer has an ace. In this case you can actually give up (if this option is offered) or take another card and hope for a small miracle.
The decision when to take a card or when to stop is often very simple, but sometimes borderline.
For example, if you have 16 points and the dealer has a 7. In this case you should take a card, but if the dealer has a 6 you should stop. You should know this limit and control it better over time.
It is also difficult if you can double. Some players simply take a new card without considering the option of doubling.
You must always double if you have a better chance of winning with just one more card than the dealer as a whole. This means that you need a good starting position and the dealer must have a weak hand.
The classic example is 5-5 (which would give you 10 points) while the dealer only has a 4.
In this case, with only one new card, you will most likely get 20, 19, 18, or 17, and the dealer will find it difficult to make a good hand out of 4.
To be more precise, he needs a lot of luck. And that’s exactly what you have to take advantage of by doubling. But even with aces in your hand, you should often double.
A doubling is considered to be borderline if the dealer has 10 points or an ace and you have 5-5. In such a case you should simply take another card instead of doubling.
A split can only be made if you have a pair in your hand and you don’t want to believe it, but in most cases you should make a split unless you have a pair with 10 points, or you have 5-5.
At 5-5 you double and at 10-10 you always stop. Otherwise, you should split when the dealer is weak and your hand is higher.
At 9-9 or A-A, you have a slight split if the dealer only shows a 5. If you only have 4-4, you should just take a new card even if the dealer is weak.
What is surprising for many players is this:
At 2-2 or 3-3 you should split again if the dealer is weak and for example has a 6. The reason is that you can often make a good hand with 2 or 3 on two new cards and the dealer has a hard time doing the same with a 6.
You can also use a Blackjack strategy trainer (a program, app, or website) to exercise. You can try the game for free and learn while playing – what you do right and wrong is explained directly.
The goal is always to know exactly what all the possibilities are when you look at the two cards without having to know which up-card the dealer has.
If you know some typical sets, you’ll know what to do at the Blackjack table before you look at the dealer up card. So you can make your decision in a fraction of a second.
By remembering around 30 sets, you’ll be much faster and make fewer mistakes. And you don’t have to roll around books, you can immerse yourself in the action instead.
Here are three more legal methods that can lead to gains:
A method to track the relative ratio of good cards (10, king, queen, jack, ace) to bad cards (2, 3, 4, 5, 6) left in the shoe. If there are substantially more good cards than bad cards, the player has an advantage over the house. The player beats Blackjack by betting more when he has an advantage than when he bets when the house has an advantage.
Knowing that you will receive an ace as one of your first two cards gives you more than a 50% advantage over the house. One way to find aces is to remember two key cards right in front of an ace while the cards fall into the tray. If there is no draw in the shuffle, the player can predict when the ace will come. This method is often used in a team approach that allows the team to control the aces and pursue more than one ace.
Free gifts given out by casinos to encourage players to play. Casinos reflect a percentage of a player’s theoretical win (T-Win) as soft comps, including room, food and drink. They also award cash prizes, match games, free games, promotional game tokens and more. By selectively skipping rounds, placing high stakes and slowing down the game pace, the player can achieve an effective T-Win that is less than the one that the casino records.
The best Blackjack strategy was developed when computers came up. They made it possible to enter all possible card combinations, the player’s two cards and the dealer’s face-up card …
And then to analyze the results of each possible move by the player with billions of simulated games to determine the best move for a particular situation.
From this data the so-called Basic Strategy evolved. It comprises three tables.
The Basic Strategy is presented in table form and consists of three parts, indicating the mathematically best possible action for each situation at the Blackjack table.
The dealer up card is placed at the top edge of each card; on the left side is the score of your hand; in the intersection is an abbreviation of the recommended action to be taken:
Following the Basic Stragy reduces the advantage of the casino to about 0.5%. If played faultlessly, then Blackjack is the casino game with the lowest house advantage.
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Face up 21 – In this variant of online blackjack, the dealer’s starting cards are revealed. This will give you an advantage on your next move. The following rules also apply:
Pontoon – Also called Spanish 21. In this variant both initial cards of the dealer are hidden. The advantage of this lack of information is that the odds are higher for the player.
Blackjack with perfect pairs – The classic rules apply. However, there is an extra side bet at the beginning of each hand, the bet that the first two cards have the same value.
As we now have the luxury of playing Blackjack online at any time, we can easily lose sight of the true origin of this exciting table game. Some believe it comes from Italy, while others suspect it comes from France or Spain.
An important milestone is certainly the year 1440, when Johann Gutenberg printed card games for the first time and rich and noble people started the lucrative game.
It is generally believed that Blackjack is made up of different games. The games Vingt et Un, One and Thirty, Trente et Quatre, Seven and a Half and Baccarat may all be predecessors of the game.
The first real predecessor of Blackjack is the French Trente et Un. In German, this means thirty and one or thirty-one. Similar as with Blackjack today, the goal back then was to get as close as possible to 31 without exceeding it.
During the 18th century, Vingt et Un which literally means twenty-one, became popular in French casinos. It reached the United States the next century and became widespread in the country despite anti-gaming laws.
In the 1960s, computers changed the way Blackjack was played. Edward O. Thorp’s legendary book “Beat the Dealer” was published in 1962 and Blackjack has not been the old game ever since.
Thorp used computers to show a new aspect on the statistical side of the game. He proved that if a player could keep track of the cards dealt, he had a better chance of calculating which cards were still in play and could increase or decrease his bet accordingly.
This gave Blackjack players an advantage they had never had before, Blackjack card counting was born and made Blackjack history.
This brings us to the final question:
You can definitely keep track of all the cards that are dealt. But you can’t know for sure if the deck has been reshuffled. There is one exception: When playing Blackjack as a live casino game, you can see the dealer and the cards (filmed by a camera) and give it a try.