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The Art of Blackjack

Blackjack. Not Twenty-One, Blackjack (although sometimes called Twenty-One depending on your personal inclinations towards the game).

Whatever you choose to call this game, one indisputable fact of Blackjack is that it is one, if not the most played casino game worldwide. Before we get into the great “How To” of Blackjack, here are some fun facts.

  • Like Roulette, no one can really pin point the exact date or place Blackjack was created, but historians can tell you that it first appears in Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes’ book titled, “Rinconete y Cortadillo” in the early 16th In this book, Cervantes called the game “Ventiuna,” which is Spanish for Twenty-One.
  • Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte is said to have been a big fan of Blackjack, playing and enjoying it more than any other card game.
  • Mathematically, 16 is the worst hand in Blackjack, followed by 15 as the second worst hand.
  • Blackjack has its own Hall of Fame, which is housed at Barona Casino in San Diego, California. It honors Blackjack experts, professional players, and authors who have made significant contributions to the game. In exchange that these Hall of Famers never play at the casino tables again, they get free food, rooms, and drinks for life.
  • Twenty-One received the name Blackjack when it was introduced to the United States. Casinos started offering a bonus payout if a player’s hand consisted of an ace of spades and either the jack of clubs or spades. This lucky hand was dubbed a “blackjack”, While this bonus feature no longer applies, the game’s name was forever changed. Today, a blackjack refers to an ace and any face, or ten card no matter the color.

How to Play:

Contrary to popular belief, the object of Blackjack is not to get a hand of 21. The real object of the game is to beat the dealer. Blackjack is a comparison game between you, the player, and the Casino’s dealer, where the highest hand wins. The goal is to try and reach twenty-one without:
1. Going over 21 (meaning you “bust,” or lose that round
2. Scoring a lower card combination than the dealerTo begin, the player and dealer are dealt two cards. Once bets are placed, the dealer will deal to the left. With these two cards, each player may either:
Hit: Ask to be dealt another card
Stay: End your turn and take no more cards
Double: Double your bet by one more card.

If the player receives a pair of any two 10-point cards, a player may also call a Split, which is where the player may separate this pair into two individual hands.

Card value in this game is fairly easy to understand: Aces count as one or eleven, all face cards count as ten, and numbered cards are worth exactly face value. The value of each hand is worth the sum of all cards added in each hand.

The dealer is always the last to go. When the dealer deals herself a card, one card will always be faced up, while the other card (called the hole card) is faced down.. After each player has had a turn, the dealer will then turn the hole card over. If the dealer has a total sum of 16 or less, they must draw another card. If the dealer busts, every player that didn’t also bust at that table gets a payout.