Casino Games – Blackjack Explained
Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games currently being played in the world. The casino game, also known as twenty one is a card game in which the player competes only with the dealer and not other players – both the player/s and the dealer compare their cards in order to determine the winner. Blackjack is usually played with one or more regular 52 card decks.
The dealer can lose at blackjack in the following ways:
- If he draws multiple cards until his hand goes over 21, also called a bust
- If the player has a higher score than the dealer, but not over 21
- If the player’s first two cards account for 21 points, also called a natural blackjack or simply blackjack
How to Play Blackjack
Blackjack can be played by multiple players at the same table but no more than six players at a time. The players or player are given two cards faced up and the dealer is given two cards but one of them is faced down. The total value of the cards is calculated with jacks, queens and kings counted as ten points. The ace is counted as 11 points or 1 point, depending on the other cards. All other cards are counted for their numeric value.
Once the first two cards are distributed, players can opt for a “hit” – receiving an additional card that gets added to the total number of points. If the new score exceeds 21, the player goes bust and loses the bet. The dealer can also go bust by scoring over 21 and in this case all players with scores of 21 or under win their respective bets.
Soft hands VS Hard hands in Blackjack
When a player holds an ace, it is called a “soft hand” which means it’s impossible to go bust by taking another card. The ace is valued as 11 which means that any other card added to it will always result in a score of 21 or less. When there’s a possibility of going bust, the hand is called a “hard hand”.
Winning at Blackjack
When playing blackjack, the dealer is required to hit until his cards have a total of 17 or more points. The dealer also tends to hit on a soft 17 or a hand with an ace and other cards worth six points. Players can win against the dealer by having a higher score than the dealer’s cards but not over 21. When playing blackjack, ties are also possible. This situation is called a “push” and players don’t lose their bet but don’t win anything either. If the players at the table all bust, the hand simply ends without the dealer needing to play his hand.
Blackjack House Advantage
As with other casino games, blackjack is a game set against the player – the question is by how much? It actually depends on the specific casino’s rules and the number of decks used to play the game. Certain casinos adopted different rules for their blackjack tables due to card counters and wanting an even higher house advantage. For example, playing blackjack with a single deck results in a house advantage of just 0.17%, a double deck blackjack house advantage of 0.46% and when playing eight decks the house advantage is 0.65%. As a rule of thumb, you should never play blackjack where the house advantage is over 0.5%.