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Blackjack

As the legend goes, the game of blackjack originated in France over 300 years ago. The ground rules of blackjack are simple and straightforward. Once you master the ground rules, you can read about basic strategy.

The Ground Rules of Blackjack
Blackjack is a card game, where each participant plays one-on-one with the dealer. The objective in blackjack is to have a hand which totals 21, or beats the dealer's hand by coming as close to 21as possible without going over, or "busting." If your first two cards are an ace and a ten, that's blackjack or "a natural" 21! Blackjack always beats a hand that totals 21 by adding the values of more than the first two cards.

A picture card is counted as 10, a card from 2-10 is counted at its face value, and an ace can be counted as either 1 or 11. A "hard hand" is a hand that does not contain an ace or contains an ace that can only be counted as 1 so as not to bust. A dealer's ace always counts as 11.

Hit: "Give me another card!"

Stand: "No more cards!"

Double Down: "Give me ONLY one more card, and double my bet!"

Split: "Make two hands out of my pair!" Your initial wager will be placed on one hand, and a second wager of equal value will be placed on the second hand.

Insurance: If the dealer's upcard is an ace, you will be given the option of placing a side-bet, called insurance. When the dealer shows an ace, he is considered to have a good chance of having blackjack.


Intermediate Blackjack

Advanced Blackjack: The Secret of Success
Now that you know the basic rules of the table in blackjack, you need to know how to play skillfully.

Basic Strategy
The rules of basic strategy explain the safest way to play out your blackjack hand in order to come out a winner in the long run.

In order to determine which basic strategy chart applies to the blackjack table at A casino, these house rules are important:

  • The dealer must draw cards until his hand totals at least 17, and must stand at 17 or higher.
  • The single deck is shuffled after each round. (In traditional casinos, players can better their chances of winning by learning how to count cards in an effort to predict the cards still left in the deck. However, since the deck is shuffled after each round at a lot of casinos, card counting is not possible. )
  • Players are allowed to double after splitting, but are not allowed to re-split a split hand.

Blackjack Basic Strategy Chart
In the following chart, look for the value of your hand in the left-hand column. Then look for the value of dealer's upcard in the top row. (A = Ace, 10 = 10 or Picture Card) The chart will tell you which option is statistically favorable:

  • S = Stand
  • H = Hit
  • D = Double Down
  • P = SPlit

The Dealer's Upward 

Table

  Here are some strategies. No matter what the dealer's upward is:

  • Always split a pair of aces.
  • Always split a pair of 8's.
  • Always stand on 17 and up.
  • Always double on 11.

If you're going sit down at a blackjack table to play at a traditional casino, it's advisable to memorize the correct chart. However, you should  always print out the basic strategy chart and keep it handy as a reference tool while you play.

 

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