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There is much speculation around blackjack and its origins. One theory suggests the game originated in France around the 1700s where it was known as Vingt-et-Un (twenty-one). Another suggests it derived from the Card games, Chemin de Fer, and French Ferme. Whatever the origins, Blackjack still made its way around the globe. The 1990s saw the introduction of the first online blackjack game. From here, new variations of the game were launched. Inspired by the original card game of 21, these variants offer players a new way to put their blackjack skills to the test. Jill takes a closer look at the most popular blackjack games in her casino lobby.
Classic blackjack is one of the easiest card games to play. This game is perfect for new blackjack players who want to master the basics of blackjack. The purpose of classic Blackjack is to get a hand as close to 21 as possible, without going bust. Players compete against the house, not each other, making it a ‘casino banked game’.
Blackjack is played with one or more decks of standard 52 cards. Each card is assigned a value, which is how ‘hands’ are calculated. All face cards are worth 10, and cards 2 – 10 are worth their face value. Aces are worth either 1 or 11, depending on the player.
A round starts once all players have bet, then two cards are distributed to each player. Depending on the table, players can even play several hands simultaneously. After the cards are distributed, both the players and the dealer reveal their cards. Only one split is allowed. When the dealer’s face-up card is a ten, the dealer does not check for blackjack. Blackjack is called when the first two cards add up to 21, and when 21 is made from several cards it’s just a standard 21. The round ends when all losing bets are collected, and wins are paid out.
Like the classic game, this variant uses a single deck of cards. The deck of cards is shuffled before every new round begins. Each player plays directly against the dealer. Players draw cards and choose to hit or stand, and even take insurance on bets. The objective of the game is to hit 21 with the first two cards (a solid Blackjack) or hit 21 with the ensuing cards without going bust.
Players have the option to split up to three times. However, players split pairs they will only receive one card additional card per ace. If players split an ace and get a 10, this is a normal 21 hand, not blackjack. The dealer is obliged to hit on a soft 17.
American Blackjack has a slick twist as it uses between six and eight decks of cards. The standard rules of Blackjack apply bet, draw, hit, stand, etc, only now there are more aces up your sleeve, exponentially increasing the chances to hit a 21 on the first draw. Players have the option to double down on any number. There is the option to split hands up to three times. There is also the option to surrender at any point during the game.
The dealer receives their cards one face up and one face down. The face-up card is referred to as the hole card. If the face-up card is an ace, you may peek for the possibility of a natural blackjack. Play will automatically end if the dealer does have a natural blackjack.
European Blackjack is played with two decks of cards, but the rest of the game is fairly standard. The card game is virtually identical to other variations, except for the fact that players can only split a hard 9, 10, or 11. Hard means there’s no ace in the hand. The dealer receives only one card at the beginning of the round. The second card is dealt after the player has completed their round. In European blackjack players are only permitted to split ten-value cards such as; 10s, Jacks, Kings, and Queens. Players are limited to splitting only once. There is no option to surrender in European blackjack.
The dealer uses eight decks of cards. Atlantic City Blackjack allows up to three splits, and players can take out insurance. Players are allowed to double down on any two cards and after splits. There is the option of a late surrender and side insurance bet.
The dealer checks to see if he has blackjack if the face-up card is an ace or a ten. The dealer stands on soft 17 (no ace). If there is a tie result, players will receive their wager back. The dealer is obliged to hit on a total of 16 or less. They also need to stand on a total of 17 or more.
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