The Game of Black
To win the game, all you need to do is beat the dealer without “busting.” A “bust” occurs
when the total points of your cards exceeds 21, so that you lose automatically.
The winner of the game is the player who comes the closest to 21. 21
can be achieved by adding up the total values of the cards in your
The blackjack table can seat approximately 6 players and the dealer.
Usually, six to eight decks of cards are shuffled together to be used
for any given game of blackjack. The dealer then places the shuffled
cards in a card-dispensing device, which is called a “shoe”.
Before the players receive any of their cards, they must place their
wagers. Once the wagers have been placed, the players are each dealt
two cards; face up. The dealer is also dealt two cards, however those
cards are placed with one face up and one face down.
It is then time for each player to take his/her turn; each player,
in turn, either stays, or takes more cards in the attempt to achieve
a point sum total of 21. Players, who don’t bust, wait for the
dealer to take his/her turn. When all of the players have finished
taking their turns, the dealer reveals the facedown card. It is a rule
that the dealer must stay on hands of 17 or higher, while with hands
of 16 or lower the dealer must draw.
If a total of 21 is made with the first two cards that are dealt,
then that player wins automatically. Getting 21 with your first two
cards is called “blackjack”. It also means that you will
win 1½ times your bet, unless the dealer also has blackjack
(a push), and so the player with blackjack simply receives the bet
The remaining players in the game who have a higher point count than
the dealer win an amount, which is equal to the bet, they placed. Any
players who have a point sum of less than the dealer lose their bets.
If the dealer busts, all remaining players win.
That is the basic concept of the game…but to complicate things,
there are other ideas and options to the game:
Insurance: this is a bet placed off to the side, which can equal
up to half of the initial bet. The opportunity for this bet occurs
only when the dealer’s card, which is showing, is an Ace. The
bet is placed against the dealer in hopes that he/she will not have
a “natural” (not a face card) 21. If the dealer’s
facedown card is a 10, making a blackjack, the insurance pays odd of
2-1, but it loses if the dealer does not.
Surrender: this occurs when a player gives up his/her hand, losing
only half of what he/she bet.
Early Surrender: this is a surrender made by a player, before the
dealer has checked for blackjack.
Late Surrender: this occurs when the dealer first checks to see if
he/she has blackjack. If he does, surrender is not permitted.
Double Down: this happens when a player doubles the initial bet,
following the initial two-card deal. If the player has doubled down
though, he/she can hit (take another card) only once. This is considered
a wise choice only if the player is in a very b position.
Even Money: this occurs when a player cashes in the money bet at
a 1-1 payout ratio, when dealt a natural blackjack, and when the dealer’s
face-up card is an Ace.
Split Hand: this takes place when the initial two-card hand is split
into two and then played as two separate hands. This is allowed only
when the first two cards are of equal value. Since a split hand creates
two separate hands, a second bet is placed on the second hand that
is equal to the first bet.
Hard Hand: this is a hand that is dealt without an Ace, or with an
ace that is used only as a value of 1. This differs from a soft hand,
where an Ace can be used as either a 1 or an 11.
Soft Hand: this is a hand, which contains an Ace that can be counted
Card Counting can reverse the advantage in the player’s favour
up to 1%. Counting cards occurs when a player records (in his/her memory)
the cards, which have been played - especially the high cards - to
establish a conditional probability advantage on the remaining cards
against the dealer.