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Casino Games: Blackjack 101

Alt text: A winning Blackjack hand

Source: Pixabay

It’s easy to see how Blackjack has become a mainstay of casinos the world over. The game is simple to learn and play not only in a casino, but also at home, or even in an online casino. All you need to play is a pack of cards and something to bet with. The game has seen a number of evolutions over the years that have cemented it as such a popular casino game.In this article we’re going to take a look into everything players need to know about Blackjack, from the history to the rules.

Humble beginnings

There are several theories about where Blackjack began, but none seems to be the definitive answer. The most popular theory about the origin of Blackjack is that it was originally invented in France during the 1700s. It was called Vingt-en-Un which is French for twenty-one. It’s likely that this game grew out of two other popular card games of the time called French Ferme and Chemin de Fer.

The game would eventually arrive in North America after it was brought over by French colonists to the new world. It was here in America that Vingt-en-Un would morph into the Blackjack that we play today.

The name for Blackjack would originate after the legalisation of gambling in Nevada in 1931. As casinos began to grow in popularity many would offer special bets to attract players. These special bets would offer players 10-to-1 on their bet if they were dealt the Jack of Spades or the Jack of Clubs together with the Ace of Spades. Players familiar with cards might recognise that all these cards are black, hence Blackjack. Though these special bets would soon be phased out, the name would stick. The game of Blackjack had its name.

Playing at a Blackjack Table

Source: Wikimedia

Playing Blackjack

The object of Blackjack is simple. Players must attempt to beat the dealer by getting as close to 21 as possible with the fewest possible cards. Going over 21 counts as a “bust” which is an automatic loss.

Each round begins with betting. Players must place bets inside a designated area on the table. The bet must be above the minimum but below the maximum. These limits are generally between $2 and $500 but they can be lower or higher depending on the casino.

Once betting is complete the deck is shuffled and one of the players is invited to cut the deck. A plastic insert is placed into the deck as a reminder to the dealer of when to reshuffle. This is a measure to make it more difficult for card counters. Each player is then dealt their cards one at a time in a clockwise manner. The dealer is also dealt two cards however the player’s cards are dealt face up while only one of the dealer’s cards is dealt face up and the other face down.

If a player has 21 off the first two cards then this is known as a natural or “blackjack”. If a player gets a natural and the dealer doesn't, the player is immediately paid out one and half times their bet. If the dealer gets “blackjack” then all players that don’t have “blackjack” immediately forfeit their bets. If a player and the dealer tie on “blackjack” then the player receives their bet back.

In the case of no naturals, players are dealt extra cards in a clockwise direction in an attempt to land close to or on the number 21. Players can choose to either “hit” to receive another card, or “stay” to keep the number they are on. Again, if they “bust” then they lose. It’s important to note that an ace card can either stand for 11 or 1, it’s up to the player to choose.

Once everyone has been dealt their cards, the dealer flips their face down card and then chooses to “hit” or “stay” in an attempt to beat the other players.

After the dealing is done the results are tallied and those who beat the dealer are paid out their bets.

Getting started

Players who feel confident enough can try their hands at playing Blackjack or other casino games online at Ruby Fortune.

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