Blackjack, The Game

Blackjack, also known as twenty-one, or Pontoon, is one of the most popular casino card games in the world today. When it was first introduced in the United States it did not gain much popularity, not until the gambling houses and casinos tried offering several bonus payouts to attract the interest of players to the tables. One such bonus was a ten to one (10:1) payout if the player's hand showed the ace of spades and a jack of either the clubs or the spades, which are both black in color. Such a hand was called a " blackjack".

This card game has undergone various changes. Today, a "blackjack" may be any of the aces paired with any of the ten/face cards. It may be a 10/face, and an Ace of all four suits. Also, despite abolition of bonus payouts by the gambling houses or casinos, blackjack still has gained players and has become very popular, because of the combination of chance and skill, as well as the publicity that surrounds the counting of cards from its last shuffling.

The card-players must abide by house rules:

(1) If the dealer has a blackjack, the player automatically loses if they don't have a blackjack, and vice versa;

(2) It is a "push" if both the player and dealer have blackjack;

(3) Each player plays out their hand, one at a time, if neither has a blackjack.

(4) The dealer plays their hand when all the players have shown their cards.

(5) Each player has an independent game with the dealer, so it is possible for the dealer to lose to one player, but still beat the other players, in the same round.

The following are the players' options for playing the game:

(1) Hit: When the player wants to take another card.

(2) Stand: When the player refuses to take anymore cards.

(3) Double-down: (Double the wager) when the player takes exactly one more card, and then stands.

(4) Split: Double the wager and have each card be the first card in a new hand.

(5) Surrender: Forfeit half the bet and the player gives up the hand.

The game begins with each player being dealt two cards. The hand with the highest total wins (must not exceed 21).

The following are the values of the cards: Numbered cards are worth their value; Jack, Queen, and King (or face cards) are worth 10; and Aces are worth 11 or 1.

Other terms to remember on this game are the following:

•A soft hand is a hand that has an ace's value counted as 11, because it cannot be busted if the player draws another card.

•Push: A situation where both the player and the dealer have the same point value, and neither of them wins the hand.

•Bust - the hand that exceeds 21.

The game is enjoyable and easy to play, because it has an element of player choice, which reduces the advantage of the casino to a small percentage, especially when players employ a basic strategy. A strategy helps the player in determining when to hit and when to stand, and also when splitting when it's the correct action. The player must be keen with the basic strategy, for it must be based on his/her total points and the visible card of the dealer. The goal of every player is to beat the dealer by having the higher points and unbusted hand. If the player exceeds twenty one (21), or busts, they lose, even if the dealer also busts. Blackjack, in the final analysis, is more favorable to the dealer.

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