Blackjack is a card game that pits the player against the dealer. It is the most popular casino game worldwide. The objective of the game is to beat the dealer without going over 21. Players compete only against the dealer, not other players at the table.
The cards are dealt out to the players in pairs, customarily one facing up and the other face down. The dealer has two cards, and if they have a blackjack (an Ace with a 10 or a Jack, Queen or King), the hand is considered a push and both the player’s and the dealer’s bets are returned to them. The dealer will then check their hole card to see if they have a ten underneath; if they do, they will pay out any insurance wagers (2 to 1) and continue to play the hand as normal.
In addition to the basic rules of blackjack, some casinos may have additional rules that vary from those found in classic blackjack. For example, some will reduce the 3 to 2 payout for a Blackjack to 6 to 5, which increases the house edge and takes money out of the player’s pockets. Generally, it is best to stick to the basics of the game and avoid these variations as they can significantly decrease your chances of winning.
Blackjack was popularized in the 18th century and played by many famous people including Madame du Barry, Napoleon and others who enjoyed it while in exile on St. Helena. It was also a favorite pastime of the French Revolutionaries. The name of the game is believed to be derived from the fact that when you first get a black jack (the Jack of spades or clubs) with an ace, you receive a special payout which became known as a Blackjack. This bonus no longer exists but the name has stuck.
Once all the players have stood their hands or busted, the dealer will then play out their hand. The dealer can hit or stand, but if they have a Blackjack, the player is paid immediately and their original bet is returned to them. The dealer will then collect the bets and shuffle the cards, ready for the next round of play.
Besides the basic hand rankings, players can also choose to split their cards and double them. The number of cards a player can split depends on the casino, but it is usually limited to pairs of the same rank such as two Jacks. The player can then hit each of the two separate hands and the total of their points will be higher than a dealer’s Blackjack. In most cases, the dealer will still win if they have a Blackjack. If the player has a Blackjack, they will receive their original bet back in the case of a tie. Doubling after splitting a pair of cards is only permitted in certain situations, and some casinos will even restrict the splits of ten value cards to pairs of identical ranks.