Casino games have been around for hundreds of years, and there’s one in particular that has stood the test of time – proving to be one of the most popular casino games of all time, even in the modern-day.
Known originally as Vingt-et-Un, Blackjack is available to play both at land-based venues and online, with many different variations and themes to explore. In fact, when you play live online Blackjack at skyvegas.com, you can experience authentic gameplay, hosted by a professionally-trained dealer, streamed directly to your device in real-time!
But with so many ways to play the game, the question remains: how do you actually play Blackjack?
The earliest games
Since the game first appeared in French casinos in around 1700, the aim has remained the same: beat the dealer to the value of 21 – or as close as possible – with the cards you are dealt, without going over.
As previously mentioned, at this time Blackjack was known as Vingt-et-Un, which is a direct translation of Twenty-one. It is said that the game was derived from other popular card games at the time, like Chemin de Fer.
The evolution of Blackjack
In the 18th century, Blackjack found its way to North American shores with the help of French colonists. From here, the game evolved further, and although the rules were slightly different from those of modern-day Blackjack (only the dealer was allowed to double), it continued to rise in popularity.
To further boost the popularity of Twenty-one, in the 20th century Las Vegas casinos created a bonus promotion that would offer additional payouts to those who won the game with a black Jack and the Ace of Spades – hence the name Blackjack.
Whilst this promotion faded out, the name stuck.
In 1996 the first online casino opened its virtual doors and Blackjack was one of the very first games to debut.
To play modern-day Blackjack, whether it be online or at a land-based casino, you’ll first need to understand basic strategy.
A standard game sees a 52-card pack, but it’s most common for six decks to be shuffled together. An Ace is worth one or 11, face cards are 10 and every other card is worth the value it displays.
Before the game commences, each player will place their bets. Then, the dealer will shuffle the cards and a player will be chosen to cut them. One card is then dealt to each player face-up, and then another. But, the dealer’s second card is dealt face-down.
If at this point, any players have a hand that values 21, this is known as a ‘natural’ or ‘Blackjack’. If the dealer and another player both have Blackjack, it becomes a tie and rather than receiving a 2:1 payout, the player simply takes back their chips.
If no one has a natural, gameplay continues with each player making the decision whether to “stand” and not ask for another card, “hit” for another card, “fold” and back out, “split” or “double down”.
It is here that your understanding basic strategy will help you make the best move in order to minimise your losses or get as close to the value of 21 as possible.
So, with all your newfound knowledge and Blackjack know-how, do you think you have what it takes to beat the dealer to 21?