The aim of Blackjack that every player wishes to achieve became famous when a book by Edward O Thorp came out in 1963 entitled ‘Beat the Dealer’! The huge revival of interest in the game in the same year has been attributed to the publication of the book. Some people call the game Blackjack and some call it twenty-One. Others know it by its French name Vingt-et-Un as it is known in Europe. It’s called Twenty One because the player’s cards have to add up to a total of twenty one or a lower figure below as long as the total is higher than the dealer’s hand.
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The dealer is not allowed to make any decisions during the game as he plays under a completely different set of rules to those the gambler plays by. Increasing the popularity of Blackjack even further is that, again compared to other games, the odds in Blackjack change each time a new game is started, and they depend on the cards the players have been dealt.
Blackjack is a deceptively simple game. The player needs to get a higher total than the dealer without going over twenty one. If his cards add up to over twenty one, then he is ‘bust’ and loses his bet regardless of what the dealer’s cards are. But if his cards add up to exactly twenty one or total higher than that of the dealer, he is the winner. He then receives his bet back, plus a payout from the dealer. In Blackjack, only the numbers of the cards are significant – the suits are totally ignored. From 2 through to 9, the cards are taken at their face value. The rest – 10, Jack, Queen and King are worth 10 points each; the Ace can be counted as 1 or 11 depending on how the gambler wants to play it. The object of the game, to get a ‘Blackjack’ is achieved when the gambler is dealt an Ace and a 10 in the first round.
Some of the terminology a player needs to learn for Blackjack is as follows:
Natural Blackjack – when the player’s first two cards add up to 21;
Box Holders – the players of the Blackjack game;
Burn – the card on top of the deck of cards;
Bust – a hand of cards totaling more than 21;
Doubling Down – doubling your bet against the dealer;
Face Cards – The Lack, Queen or King of each suit;
Hard Hand – a hand with no Ace that adds up to 11 points;
Soft Hand – a hand with an Ace for 11 points;
Hit – ask for another card towards the required total of 21;
Hold / Stand – the player needs no more cards;
Split – when dealt two identical value cards, the player can slit them and play two ‘games’;
Surrender – the player loses half his bet by giving up the first two cards he was dealt.
Other important terms used in a game of Blackjack refer to where the players are sitting – and they are ‘borrowed’ from American baseball – each place around the table is called a ‘base’ – the person sitting to the left of the dealer is ‘first base’, and one on the right of the dealer is ‘third base’.
Blackjack Is A Game Of Skill
Unlike Roulette where the player has to rely purely on luck, Blackjack is without a doubt, a game of skill, which anyone can be taught. A person can be tutored on how to score a winning hand. However, all Blackjack experts will tell you to read up on the rules and learn the terminology as well. It is plain to see that the way the cards are dealt relies on luck, but how they are played is determined by the knowledge the player has learnt – “Luck comes and goes……Knowledge stays forever” – Anonymous.
The Blackjack Hall Of Fame
Has anyone heard of the Blackjack Hall of Fame? It was started in 2002 by a group of professional gamblers from around the world who nominated a variety of 21 Blackjack experts, authors and professional players to become members of the Hall of Fame. There were seven original members, but now due to some deaths and new additions, there are currently 12 members. The founders of this Hall of Fame wanted to honor the gamblers who had exhibited exceptional skill in playing the game, and they wanted public recognition for the achievements of these players. Both of these aims have been fulfilled and new members are recognized and inducted every year at a Blackjack Ball. The Blackjack Hall of Fame can be found at the Barona Casino in San Diego, California. Each member of the Hall of Fame enjoys free accommodation and meals for the rest of his life, but they are forbidden to play at that particular casino.