Blackjack is a card game which is famous throughout the world for being extremely exciting and challenging. Even though it is one of the oldest games as its origins can be traced back to the 17th century, it still attracts a number of players. The game has been a centre of attention for many years which led to the emergence of various interesting versions. Presently, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to the available blackjack games which you can try. Some of the most leading software providers have specially developed exclusive variations which you can play and immerse in this casino game like never before.
What sets blackjack apart from some other popular casino games such as slots and roulette is the fact that it features a skill element. This means that in order to manage to win, you need to apply a reliable strategy for your moves and bets. You have to be able to control your funds at any point during the game which is the reason why it is best to also have a money management plan.
The basic rules of blackjack are fairly straightforward which makes them very easy to comprehend. Although there can be other players sitting on the table, you compete only against a dealer and your main goal is to beat his hand. In order to do so, you have to aim at forming a total that equals 21 or lower. In the best-case scenario, you can receive an ace and a 10-valued card which is referred to as blackjack and it is the highest winning combination that you can possibly get during the game.
If you surpass this number, you instantly go bust or in other words, you simply lose. In general, as long as you don’t exceed 21, the higher the total in your hand is, the better your chances of winning are. It is possible to play blackjack with a single pack of cards but you can also find a game in which six decks are involved. A maximum of eight decks can be used in blackjack and their number depends on the casino and the variation of your choice.
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When it comes to blackjack, some cards are counted differently than the numeric value on them. These cards are aces and all face cards – queens, kings and jacks. The ace is considered to be the most powerful card in this card game due to the fact that it can be counted in two ways – either one or eleven. This gives you a significant advantage as you can change the total in your hand according to your needs.
All hands which contain an ace that is counted as eleven are called soft hands because it is not possible to surpass 21 and lose. The second best cards you can get are the face cards which receive ten points. For the rest of the cards there is no special assigned value, meaning that they are simply worth the number on them. Your ultimate goal is to get cards that form blackjack or in other words, an ace and a card that is worth ten points.
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Playing the Game
The whole gaming process is fairly simple, yet very exciting. At the beginning of the game, each player is required to place a bet in order to participate in it. After that, each player is dealt two cards which are face up. However, it should be noted that this rule varies as there are some blackjack variations in which you will receive your cards face down instead. The dealer also gets two cards but only one of them is dealt face up. The other card which is face down is referred to as the Hole card.
In order to play your hand, you can choose from several moves – hit, stand, double down, split, take insurance or surrender. The last two options are available in only some variations and thus, it is not always possible to take advantage of them. If you wish to draw another card in order to improve your total, you can hit.
However, if you think your hand’s total will be enough to beat the dealer, you can remain in your current position by standing. If your chances of winning are decent, you can also take advantage of the doubling down option and make the size of your bet even bigger. If you happen to get two cards of the same rank, in most cases, you are allowed to split them and form two separate hands.
When available, you can take insurance or in other words, place a side bet and insure yourself in case that the dealer has blackjack. For this reason this side bet can be only placed if the up card of the dealer is an ace. Surrender can be another option which you can take advantage of, depending on the variation you are playing. In some blackjack games, if the up card of the dealer is a 10-valued one or an ace, you are given the opportunity to surrender. In such cases, the casino takes half of your bet and the other half goes back to you.
As previously stated, blackjack is one of the most played games which has an impressive number of variations. Throughout the years, more than 100 versions have emerged, each one offering exclusive features and interesting rules. You can enjoy various blackjack variations and play this casino game in a completely different way. You can greatly diversify your gambling experience by simply trying any of the available variations. Pontoon, Blackjack Switch, Double Exposure, Bonus Blackjack and Multi-hand Blackjack are some of the most exciting variations that can be found in both offline and online casinos.
There are actually two variations of blackjack that share the same name – Malaysian and British Pontoon. The latter is predominantly played in the United Kingdom and it is very similar to the original blackjack game. Malaysian Pontoon resembles Spanish 21 more than the classic game and it is popular mainly in Australia, Singapore and Malaysia. You can tell these two variations apart very easily as all you need to do is to have a look at the terms that are used for the moves. In British Pontoon, in order to hit and stand, you respectively twist and stick.
The basic rules such as the assigned value of the cards and the objective of the game are exactly the same as in the traditional blackjack. In most cases, British Pontoon is played with a single pack of cards which makes this version suitable for card counters. According to the rules of this variation, one of the participants on the table has to be banker. The highest possible winning hand here is 21 as well but this time, it is called Pontoon, not blackjack. Five Card Trick is the second best winning hand which you can collect during the game. The house edge of this variation is around 0.39%.
Blackjack Switch is another extremely popular variation of the game which is offered by a staggering number of land-based and web-based casinos. Its game play is very extraordinary which makes this version worth trying. Its basic rules are the same as in the classic game which is the reason why it is best to first play the original game. This variation stands out from the rest of the versions because it enables you to play two hands at once. What is more, you can exchange the top cards between them so that you can improve their total.
The minimum number of decks involved in the game is four and the maximum is eight. Due to the fact that you can switch cards between the two hands, this variation offers one of the lowest house edges when it comes to blackjack – around 0.17%. However, bear in mind that most casinos have introduced some additional rules that work in their favour in order to compensate for the huge advantage that this rule gives players. For instance, if the dealer has a total of twenty two and none of the cards that make it is an ace, he doesn’t lose even though he has surpassed the allowed limit of 21.
Double Exposure is one of the most extraordinary variations of blackjack in which both of the dealer’s cards are dealt face up. You and the rest of the players sitting on the table are able to see the exposed cards. This rule is extremely advantageous due to the fact that it gives you the chance to make your decisions by taking into account not one but two of the dealer’s cards. However, the house edge of this version is higher than the above-mentioned variations – around 0.69% as there are some additional rules which work in favour of the casino.
For instance, since you can see both cards of the dealer during the course of the game, you are deprived of the insurance and the surrender option. Another major drawback in this version is that the highest winning combination – blackjack, doesn’t pay out 3/2 as in the classic game but only 1/1. In addition, usually this variation is played with eight packs of cards which is highly disadvantageous for card counters. Also, bear in mind that the dealer wins all ties which is another rule that favours the casino.
Some casinos offer a blackjack variation called Bonus Blackjack in which you can place a special side bet. If this wager wins, you receive an exclusive bonus which is the reason why these types of games appeal to a number of players all over the world. For instance, if you are lucky enough to collect a jack and an ace of spades, the payout is 50/1, providing that you have placed the side bet. The bonus side bet is entirely optional and it doesn’t affect the game, it is just another way to win some money.
Bear in mind that if you decide to take advantage of the blackjack bonus bet, you are required to do so before you receive your first two cards. In this variation, you will be also rewarded if you manage to collect a jack and an ace of the same suit in which case the payout is 25/1. Even if you get only two cards of the same suit, you will be still paid – 5/2. However, it should be noted that this bonus applies only on your first two cards that you will get at the beginning of the game. This variation is played with two packs of cards and it is a Hole card game.
Multi-Hand Blackjack is another very exciting variation in which you can play multiple hands at once. It is possible to operate up to five hands simultaneously and the choice whether to do so is entirely yours. At the beginning of the game, you will be required to state your decision. What is interesting about this version is that no matter how many hands you choose to play with, you have to treat them individually. This means that you have to apply a different strategy and you have to place a separate bet for each hand.
In most cases, the table limits are not as high as in the rest of the variations because if you choose to play with multiple hands at once, you will be required to place multiple bets as well. Bear in mind that since you have to apply a different approach for every hand and make your decisions according to its total and the up card of the dealer, the outcome of every hand can be different. It is possible to win all hands and vice versa. It all depends on your strategy, money management skills and of course, luck.
Since blackjack is a skill-based game, in order to become a consistent winner and make a profit in the long term, you have to apply a reliable strategy. For this purpose, throughout the years, various mathematicians and players have come up with different plans in an attempt to overcome the house edge. When it comes to blackjack, one of the most popular strategies is the basic strategy which was invented by the mathematician Julian Braun in the 1960s.
It is basically a plan according to which you can play your cards and minimise your losses. It takes into account the total of your cards as well as the up card of the dealer and it suggests the best possible move in a particular situation according to these two factors. The basic strategy is suitable for all types of players, even inexperienced ones and it is a great way to improve your game and have even more fun.
Another very popular strategy which is used predominantly by more advanced players is card counting. By using this method, you can greatly increase your chances of winning because if you manage to follow the cards on the table, you can determine the ratio between high value to low value ones. Some of the most popular card counting systems are Hi-Lo, K-O, Omega II, Wong Halves, Hi-Opt, Red Seven and others.
Besides the strategies that help you make better moves, you can also learn some of the available systems which are designed to improve your betting decisions. All betting systems give you a plan according to which you can place your bets and this way, make a profit. Some of the most commonly used betting systems in blackjack include Martingale, Parlay, Paroli and others.
Playing in a Land-based Casino
Blackjack is one of the most popular card games of all time so it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that it is offered in almost every land-based casino. Most brick and mortar casinos are divided into several sections. In order to locate the blackjack tables, you need to look for the table games section. There you will most likely also find other exciting games such as roulette, craps and others. Land-based casinos give you the chance to play a favourite casino game, socialise and enjoy the sophisticated casino ambience.
Going to a brick and mortar casino is an extremely exciting experience on its own as it is a place where you can meet your friends and have some fun. Nowadays almost every land-based casino offers not only the classic game but also some of its most popular variations. Most of the available versions such as Spanish 21, Atlantic City Blackjack, Vegas Strip and others are just as popular as the classic game, if not even more.
The advanced technologies and the Internet made it possible for a number of land-based casinos to further develop their gambling businesses. Most of the reputable casinos have a web-based version which you can access through your smartphone, computer or tablet. You can enjoy your favourite casino game at the comfort of your home and win real money without having to go all the way to an actual brick and mortar casino. Most online casinos offer the same wide range of exciting casino games as their land-based counterparts.
What is more, thanks to the leading software providers, you are given the chance to try some exclusive variations which can be played only online. You can also play progressive jackpot blackjack which features a life-changing prize. Furthermore, it is possible to enjoy live blackjack games which are hosted by a well-versed dealer in real time. You have the chance to see how the croupier deals the cards at the time of playing thanks to the live streaming technology involved in the gaming process. You can even interact with the rest of the participants on the table as well as with the dealer thanks to the live chat feature.
One of the leading software suppliers on the current online gaming market is Playtech. Thanks to this company, players from all over the world can enjoy a wide range of high-quality blackjack games. In most Playtech-powered online casinos, you can play live dealer blackjack and get the realistic experience you have been looking for. This software provider gives the end-users the chance to adjust the settings of the games according to their personal preferences. For instance, you can change the speed of the dealing of the cards or turn off and on the included animations.
Thanks to Playtech, you can enjoy blackjack in a completely different way by trying some of the exclusive variations. Besides the classic blackjack, you can also play Blackjack Switch, Pontoon, Perfect Pairs Blackjack, Multi-hand and Single-hand Blackjack, Lucky Blackjack and others. The company has also introduced 21+3 blackjack side bet which is a special wager that adds some poker elements to the game. While playing blackjack, if you happen to get a certain winning combination from poker such as a straight flush or three-of-a-kind, you will be rewarded.
Microgaming is another reputable software provider which is used by a number of online casinos. It offers more than 40 blackjack variations whose number is constantly increasing. Some of them include Multi-hand Blackjack, Double Exposure Blackjack, Big 5 Blackjack, Atlantic City Blackjack, Vegas Strip Blackjack and others. If you bump into an online casino whose blackjack games are powered by this software supplier, you can expect realistic graphics and incredible sound effects.
Microgaming is famous for offering a special version of the game known as Gold Series. It is considered to be especially suitable for high rollers as it features high table limits. Thanks to this software provider, you can enjoy a Multi-hand or Single-hand version and also, choose to play in either practice or real-money mode. It is possible to play a number of variations which offer different table limits and this way, select a game that suits your bankroll best. Furthermore, there are various blackjack games which feature different types of bonuses which enable you to win even more.
NetEnt /Net Entertainment/ is also a prominent software provider which has put a lot of effort and time in developing various blackjack games. It is possible to play Mini Blackjack, Blackjack Professional Series, Blackjack Classic Series and other exciting variations at any time and place you feel like. Most of the NetEnt blackjack games use four standard packs of cards which are reshuffled every time a new round starts.
NetEnt-powered casinos offer a number of special features exclusively to online users. You are given the chance to check your betting history whenever you wish and this way, manage your funds better. You can also see the outcome of the last ten rounds which will help you draw valuable conclusions about your strategy. In live dealer games, you can use the live chat feature to communicate with the dealer who can assist you in case you have any questions. In some variations, you can place a special side bet which can fetch you a nice profit as long as you meet the requirements for the payout.
In order to be able to play blackjack, you have to be familiar with the terms that are used in the game. This way, you will be able to follow the game with ease and fully enjoy it. For instance, in blackjack, if you have a stiff hand, this means that by drawing one more card, there is a good chance that you will surpass 21. If you hear players say the result is a push, this means that the total of the particular player and the dealer is the same and as a result, no one wins. Deck penetration is the term which is used to describe the initial number of decks and a shoe is called the box in which the cards are placed.