The origins of Blackjack are still unclear, but it is presumed to have originated from the French casinos. This game features some of the lowest house edges, making it one of the most popular games on the casino floor. Additionally, the rules of the game are not very complicated, allowing most players to quickly pick it up.
Of course, everyone wants to know how to beat the house, but before you become a master at Blackjack, there are blackjack rules you should know and learn by heart.
How to play
Blackjack aims to have a total card value higher than the dealer at the end of the turn without going over 2, otherwise, you go bust. Depending on the version of blackjack you are playing, they have several factors in common.
The round will start with the player being dealt two cards, face-up. On the other hand, the dealer will mostly have one card face-up and his other face-down. At this point, the player needs to decide whether he wants to stand, hit, split, or surrender the round based on the hand dealt and what the perceived hand of the dealer is. If the player signal they would like another card (hit) then the dealer will place another card in front of the player.
Caution should be taken as this could cause the total of the hand to go over 21, which will instantly cause the player to lose. If the player comes in with a total under 21, then it is the turn of the dealer to play. The dealer has strict rules on whether they can take another card and this varies according to the version of blackjack that is being played. In most cases, if the dealer has 16 or below, they must take a card, while if they have 17 or above, they must stand. Thereafter, it is just a case of simple math to see who has won.
It is easy to see why so many players prefer Blackjack, however, even though the game of Blackjack has one of the best house edges in favour of the player, it is always prudent to make that edge as small as possible.
Over the years, many Blackjack enthusiasts have come up with strategies that will give them the maximum edge possible. None of these strategies works 100% of the time perfectly, but they do allow you to increase your chances of winning.
Double down on a hard 11 – If the rules allow, always double down if you land a hard 11 unless you are playing a multi-deck game, then you hit if the dealer must stand on 17.
Always split Aces and a pair of 8s – You are in a better position when you split two 8s than you would be by playing a hand of 16. Splitting Aces allows you to start with a strong hand. It should be noted that if you are given the option to surrender, then it is a good idea to take it.
Never split a pair of 5s or 10s – A pair of 5s is just as good as a hard 10, and it is better to draw another card than to split the 5s. Splitting a pair of 10s is a horrible play, you are already on 20, giving you an excellent chase of winning the round.
Do not take the insurance bet – The insurance bet does not offer good value for money or good odds. Never accept this bet. It is better to just lose the hand than throw good money after bad. The reasoning behind this is that the payout of 2:1 is less than the odds of the dealer having blackjack.
Use the Blackjack strategy chart – At the very least, you should be familiar with the Blackjack chart or have one with you. This chart shows you what to play and when. It is not foolproof but will increase your chances.
There are a huge number of strategies available online, many more than mentioned here. If you are serious about playing Blackjack then you need to familiarise yourself with many more strategies and build up an arsenal of weapons at your disposal.