Blackjack, also known as twenty one, is one of the most played games in casinos around the world. The game can be played with a standard 52 card deck. The game is a competitive card game in which the player tries to score 21 or less points while still beating the dealer. There are many variations to the rules of blackjack but the overall goal remains the same. Players who are referred to as 'advantage players' have been caught counting cards giving them an advantage in knowing which cards will be dealt next. This helps them adjust their strategy and almost guarantees that the player will not lose money on the next hand. Beware most casinos have implemented counter tactics to this and it is frowned upon in gaming environments.
Blackjacks origins are unknown; however the game can be found in both French and Spanish literature as early as the Sixteenth Century and is referred to in those texts as twenty -one. The name Blackjack originated in American gambling houses where an automatic payout was issued if a players first two dealt cards were the Ace of Spades with a Club or Spade Jack. This quickly became the ideal hand in the game and the name Blackjack stuck.
Casino Blackjack is usually played the same way throughout the world. The dealer will stand at a table facing seven playing positions. A maximum of three players can place their bets in the "betting box". The player who has their bet in the front of the betting box has control over the position and the other players are said to "play behind". Players can place bets in as many boxes as they like, but they cannot place multiple bets in one box or play at multiple tables at the same time. Each of the boxes is dealt two cards face up. The dealer's first card is dealt face-up. In "hole card" games the second dealer card is dealt face down and is only revealed if the card makes the dealer's hand a blackjack. "Hole card" games are played throughout the world and its counterpart is most prevalent in Europe.
The objective of the game is to win a wager by scoring more than the dealer without going over 21. Going over 21 is referred to as "busting". Each player is given a few options on their turn and it is important to understand them all. A "Hit" is taking another card from the dealer. "Double down" refers to making a double wager, taking a single card and then comparing cards to the dealer. A "stand" is playing neutral and ending your turn. A "Split" can occur if two cards have the same value. The cards can be broken up to form two hands. "Surrender" is giving up half a bet and ending the players round.
Different cards have different values and some have two. All face cards regardless of suit have a value of 10. The exception being the Ace card which carries with it a value of 11 or 1, you get to choose. All number cards are worth their number in points. When all boxes have finished playing, the dealer then draws cards until he reaches a value of 17 or higher. The dealer cannot double down, split or surrender. If the dealer busts then all players remaining in the round win. If the dealer does not bust, then players with a higher score than the dealer win their wagers and players with a lower total, lose.