Blackjack has been played in the U.S since the 19th century, and very little has changed in terms of the rules. In terms of popularity, though, more and more people learn to play this game all the time, all over the world.
A blackjack player’s goal is getting as close as possible to twenty one (21) points without crossing the 21 point mark. Whoever’s (the dealer’s or the player’s) cards total value is closer to the 21 point mark, without going over it, wins. A game results in a ‘push’ (tie) if the dealer and the player have cards totalling to the same value.
In Blackjack, the suits of the cards are inconsequential. Kings, Queens and Jacks are valued at ten points, and cards from two to ten have points corresponding to their values. Aces can be valued as eleven points or one point, as per the player’s wish. Hands which do not have Aces, or wherein an Ace is valued at one point, are referred to as ‘hard hands’; and hands which have Aces valued at eleven points are referred to as ‘soft hands’.
Playing the game follows a similar pattern the world over, with little room for variation. Given below is a brief step by step description.
Players place bets.
Two cards (normally face up) are dealt to the players and the dealer gets one card.
The second card that the dealer draws is placed facing down.
Players then have an option of asking for one more card (referred to as a ‘hit’), or can say enough (‘stand’).
Players can asked to be ‘hit’ repeatedly till they reach a total of 21, or exceed it (‘bust’).
If players go ‘bust’, the dealer (casino) wins.
If players ‘stand’ before the total of their card values reach 21, the dealer has to reveal the value of the second card.
If the second card’s value results in the total being 21 (a Blackjack), the casino wins. However, in other cases, the dealer has to draw cards till the total value of the cards is equal to or more than seventeen (17). If the dealer goes ‘bust’, the players win.
Once you have been dealt the first two cards, you have to decide how to advance. You can choose to ask for more cards to get closer to the 21 point mark with the risk of going ‘bust’, or continue to stick to the cards you’ve originally been dealt. Given below are descriptions of terminology you would encounter on the Blackjack table.
Hit: This is what you say when you wish to ask for another card to get closer to the 21 point mark. If you end up crossing the 21 point mark, you go ‘bust’.
Stand: You can choose to ‘stand’ if you are satisfied with your first set of cards and do not wish to get more cards.
Split: You can choose to ‘split’ your cards if, in the first round, you get a pair dealt to you. You then have to place an equivalent bet for the ‘second’ hand.
Bust: If, in your attempt to get close to 21 points, you exceed 21 points, you go ‘bust’.
While this is not a comprehensive guide and won’t make you an expert Blackjack player, it should be enough to get you started. Get the hang of the game by indulging yourself in some online Blackjack and watch some people play for real before placing any significant bets.
By Rakesh Gaikwad
Virgin Games offers you the chance to play Blackjack online, along with a variety of other popular casino games such as Bingo, Poker, Slots, Roulette and more.