Brief History of Blackjack
There is a lot of debate among historians about the origins of blackjack. The common consensus is that the game originated in France in the early 1700s. There is documented proof of a game called Vingt-et-Un (French for 21) taking place. There is some speculation that this game could have been the product of other games that were being played around Europe, with some suggesting that it went all the back to the Romans.
The game became popular in casinos in the USA in the 20th century and has become a staple of casino strips around the world ever since. The game has made a successful transition to the world of online gambling but still remains a popular choice in brick and mortar casinos as well.
Basics of Online Blackjack
Blackjack has managed to endure the test of time more than any other casino game thanks to its simplistic gameplay. To win a game of blackjack, players must simply score closer to the number 21 than the dealer. In casinos, a dealer is a physical person, while online players are playing against a computer or a live dealer.
Players have to choose their stake for their hand. Once they have done this, they will then be dealt two cards to start the game. The dealer will also have two cards and one of these will be turned up. The player must then decide whether they want to hit or stand. The player always goes before the dealer in blackjack.
Blackjack Card Values
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Those who have played online blackjack will know that the value of the cards is fairly simple to understand. Each of the numbered cards is worth their numerical value, while each of the suits is worth 10. The ace is the wildcard in blackjack, with the card either being worth 11 or 1 depending on the rest of your hand, so a combination of 9 and A can be worth either 10 or 20, depending on whether or not you decide to stand or hit.
Blackjack Betting Rules
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There is only one target in blackjack, beat the dealer. All a player has to do is score closer to 21 than the dealer in order to win the game. At the beginning of each hand, the player must wager their stake. If the player wins the hand, they are paid out 1:1, so if you bet £100 and win, you will get your £100 back and £100 from the dealer, totaling £200. If a player scores blackjack, they will be paid out 1.5x their stake, so in the above situation, they will receive £150 from the dealer.
When a player is dealt their first hands in blackjack, they will then be given two options - hit or stand. To hit on a hand means to request another card. A player can continue to hit until they go bust, which is when you go over 21. The player must always go first in blackjack, which is one of the ways the house retains its edge in the game.
The term stand, sometimes referred to as stick, is the other most common you will encounter when playing blackjack. Whereas hitting is requesting another card from a dealer, standing is sticking with the hand that you have got. For example, if you have an 8 and a King, this will come to 18 and you would probably want to stand and not take any more cards in this situation.
Doubling down is an interesting move to make in blackjack. If you are given the option to double down then you can double your stake halfway through your hand in exchange for one more card. After you have done that, you can not hit again. This is a risky move to make but it can be incredibly advantageous if played at the right time.
If a player is dealt matching cards on their first hand, then they will be given the option to split them into two separate hands. For example, if a player receives a 2 and a 2 for their first hand, they will then be given the option to play two hands for that round. With certain pairs, this is always a better option.
Insurance is a side bet that is offered when a dealer’s upturned card is an ace. In this situation, the player puts an insurance bet, which is typically half of their original stake, which will be paid out in the eventuality that the dealer has a blackjack. As a blackjack rule of thumb, many online blackjack enthusiasts advise against players taking insurance bets.
As its name might suggest, to surrender in blackjack is to give up your original hand. For example, if a player gets a poor hand that they feel has no chance of winning, they can then lose half of their stake and surrender the hand. This option is not available in a lot of blackjack games online but can be useful if it is offered in certain circumstances.
Even money is a side bet that is only offered to players when they have a natural hand. A natural is when the player has a blackjack from the first two cards that were dealt. An even-money bet will be offered if the dealer’s upturned card is either an ace or a card with a value of ten. The even-money bet is typically half of your original stake and it covers you if the dealer also has a blackjack. In this case, you will win the even money bet instead of being pushed.
Bets and Payouts
One of the reasons for the enduring popularity of blackjack is how simple the game is. There is a very limited number of types of bets that a player can place when playing the game and the payouts are very easy to understand. A standard hand in blackjack will payout 1:1 while a natural hand will pay out 3:2 at the majority of online casinos.
As we have seen elsewhere, there are also a number of side bets that a player can place depend on the rules of the particular game or of the casino. These include the aforementioned insurance and even money,
How Online Blackjack is different from Offline Blackjack
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There are several key differences between online and offline blackjack. Many players these days prefer playing the online version, mostly for its speed and its cost. Online blackjack tends to have much lower staking options than its counterpart, with many online casinos allowing players to play hands for as little as £1 or £2, and in some cases, even less. As well as this, the game moves quicker online, as there is no waiting around for other players or for dealers to shuffle; everything is automated and as such, is much faster.