Originally thought to have originated in France during the 1700’s, it was while until the American Blackjack hit the scenes throughout Las Vegas, and it took a LOT of time, effort, and money from the casinos to get players on board.
When the game first launched, players really didn’t enjoy it. Because of this, the casinos offered ludicrous promotions, bonuses, and offers (some of which you STILL see today), and before long a wise-spark at one of the casinos came up with a bonus offer that would still be in use 50 years later.
However Blackjack wasn’t called Blackjack when it first came to the US shores
The name came about when a casino manager had the idea to reward new players – who played the game – with a 10:1 bonus payout if their first two cards contained an ace of spades, and a black jack. It stuck… gamblers loved the concept…
And before long, the name ‘Blackjack’ caught on, and it developed into the popular phenomenal that it’s become today!
How To Play
Thankfully, playing Blackjack is really simple, and when you join a table, both in casinos, or online, you’ll notice a table with bet boxes on it.
You simply select the amount you wish to wager… place it in the box (or click if you’re playing online), and the game will begin.
You are then dealt two cards from the deck, and the dealer deals two. Yours are both turned up, while he only has one on show.
The goal of the game is to make a hand closest to 21 as possible, by taking more cards if necessary, or ‘sticking’ and hoping your hand holds up.
If you get a low hand, for example, a 4 and a 3, which totals 7, you’d hit, as there would be no chance of you going over the 21 (busting)…
But if you had cards such as 8 and 6, you’re in a much tougher spot. You only have 14, which is unlikely to beat the dealer (especially if their card on show is a 7 or higher), so you must risk taking a card.
However… If you go over 21, you lose, and your bet will be forfeited. The hand then ends.
That’s where skill, nerves, and courage come into play – you must judge what your best action is dependent on the cards the dealer holds.
Blackjack is made when your first two cards include an ace, and a picture card.
A picture card includes 10, Jack, Queen, and King, and it doesn’t matter which comes – the payouts are all the same.
When you win Blackjack you are paid out 3:2 on your stake – usually right away.
The only exception to this is when the dealers first card is showing as an ace (i.e, he COULD get Blackjack, in which case it would be a tie).
In the event of this happening, you can take even money, which means you’ll accept a 1:1 payout instead of the 3:2, or you can take a gamble, and hope he doesn’t have Blackjack.
One of the big differences between American Blackjack and European/British variations, is the option to take insurance.
While it can be found online, and in land-based casinos around Europe, it’s much more an American thing, and it allows you to ‘insure’ your hand when the dealers first card shows an ace.
For example, if you had a bet of £10 riding on your hand, and the dealer’s showing an ace, you could insure this bet for 50% of its value to protect against Blackjack.
That would cost you an extra £5. If the dealer gets Blackjack, you lose your £10 stake, but get paid out at 2:1 on your insurance bet, making your money back.
If the dealer doesn’t get Blackjack, you lose the £5 insurance bet, and the hand players out as normal.
Another feature which catches many European players off guard is the surrender feature, offered in most American Blackjack gaming rooms.
The surrender feature allows you to literally… ‘surrender’ your bet mid-way through the hand.
For instance, if your first two cards make 16, and the dealer shows and ace, you’re very rarely going to win.
The surrender option gives you the chance to end the end there and then, while getting back 50% of your stake.
Many players are against this ethos, and prefer to ‘play things out like destiny dictates’, but in a spot like this when you’re so unlikely to win, it can definitely be worth thinking about.
Which Variation To Play
There’s no easy way to answer this question, and it largely depends on what mood you’re in, and what you’re comfortable with.
There are minor differences in the games, but the gameplay itself plays out almost identically, and if you’re sticking to the main Blackjack bets (not playing side bets) it really doesn’t matter too much.
Check them both out… see which you prefer… And see if it’s your lucky night!