There is some debate as to who invented the game of blackjack. Some say that the Italians were responsible for creating it and yet most people believe blackjack is of French origin. Lending some support to this theory is the origins of the name of blackjack (in French) “vingt-et-un” or twenty and one. This game was dubbed blackjack due to a variation of the original game that included betting if the player would be dealt an ace of spades and a jack of spades in the first hand. Since spades are black and the jack was a key component in winning this variation it was named blackjack.
What is blackjack? Blackjack is a card game that involves using various techniques to bring your count to 21. Basically you can keep hitting, or drawing another card from, the deck until the numbers on the cards add up to twenty-one. If you go over twenty-one you bust. If your dealer goes over twenty-one they bust. The point of the game is to know when to hit and when to stand (decline a card) in order to get the dealer to bust. At most blackjack tables you will find five to seven seats arranged in a fan shape around the dealer. This dealer will then either hand you the cards or arrange them face up on the table, in which case you are not allowed to touch them. Face cards, the king, queen and jack are all counted as ten but the ace can be counted as either 1 or 11.
There are many different terms that are used in blackjack. For instance, a hole card is any card that is face down on the table but this term mainly refers to the dealer’s single face down card. A pat hand is any hand with a total of 17 to 21 and a push means that there is a tie between the dealer and the player. Blackjack is considered to be confusing by many people but if you learn the rules and develop a basic strategy you will greatly increase your chances of winning. In order to understand basic strategy you need to understand the four different situations you may find yourself in. First there is the hit. As stated above, when the player hits the deck it means that a card is being given to that player. Basic strategy tells us that it is always a good idea to hit on a 10 or 11 but never on a 20. A stand is where you simply do not want to draw another card. For instance, if you already have 17 and you decide to stand you are betting that the dealer will not be able to get a better hand than your 17, without busting. Splitting is used when you have two cards that are individually good cards but together they make a very bad hand. Good examples of cards to split are 8’s and aces. Never split a 5 or a 10. If a player wants to double this means that they expect their next hit to be very good and that they want to double their original bet. The split and the double are two of the most valuable tools for a player because most house dealers are not allowed to split or double down.