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Basic Rules of Blackjack
If you already know how to play Blackjack card games, this will all be familiar to you! But it’s worth a quick re-cap! The aim of the game is to beat the dealer’s hand value and score as close to 21 as possible, without going over. Pocketwin’s blackjack experience is identical - easy to pick up and play!
The game of blackjack is based on the numbered cards having a value equal to their number, with a couple of special cards. Pictured cards – Jacks, Queens and Kings – are worth ten each, and Aces can either be 1 or 11, and you can choose which one you want to count them as. An opening hand of Ace and 8 could be nine or nineteen, however you want to play it! In our game, the colours or suits of the card have no bearing on results. In more advanced blackjack games, you can bet on receiving a matching pair of cards, but here at Pocketwin we like to keep things simple! Remember if you hit a blackjack (21), you get two and a half times your stake!
Playing A Hand
To play a hand, you begin by pitching your bet! You can play from as little as 10p, all the way up to £10. Once you’ve made your bet, two cards will be dealt to you, and one to the dealer, all face up. The game will display the total value of your cards, and the dealer’s, to help you make a decision. From here you can either Hit (request another card from the dealer to try and get closer to 21) or Stand (request no more cards). Play will then pass to the dealer, who must hit and add to their total until they reach 17, whereby they must and will Stand if they score between 17 and 21. Be careful – if you keep hitting and go over 21, your hand is bust and will automatically lose the game. This is where your own bravery and determination will come into play!
Other Play Options
Split: If you receive two cards of equal value, you can choose to split these into two separate hands. This will require another bid, matching the value of your original stake. For example, if you are dealt two 10s, you can either Stand on 20, or Split into two hands to see if you can beat the dealer twice in one hand! (Technically, you could Hit at this point and hope for the Ace but you’d need to be incredibly brave – and lucky!) Take note of what the dealer has – sometimes splitting will make things tougher!
Double Down: After the initial deal, you can double your original bet; but you must take an additional card (and only one card) from the dealer. If you win, you’ll win a 1-to-1 payoff on the total amount of the doubled bet.
Insurance: The dealer will always display one of their two cards to you. If this is an ace, you can opt to purchase insurance for an additional half of your original stake. If the dealer does get a blackjack, you get your insurance stake back, doubled!
Blackjack: A blackjack is when you (or the dealer) gets dealt 21 immediately, involving any of 10-J-Q-K and the Ace card (which can value either one, or in this case, eleven)
Hit: Request another card from the dealer to try and get your total closer to 21.
House: Your opponent! No need to worry about what anybody else is doing, all you have to do is score more than the dealer. If your cards total 18, and the dealer has 19, then that is a “House win”.
Push: Your cards sum matches that of the dealer, and your stake is returned for another go, if you wish.
Soft 17: On the game background you’ll see “Dealer stops at soft 17”. A soft 17 is the name given to any combination of six, plus the Ace. In short, the dealer will not deal any further cards to their hand once they hit 17. (For reference, a “hard 17”, for example, would be Ace + 6 + 10, where counting the Ace as 11 would bust the hand, so the player would be forced to count the Ace as 1)
Stand: Declare your total and refuse any further cards. The dealer is forced to stand when their hand totals 17 or over.
Blackjack is a bit different to other casino games when it comes to behaviour and decisions. Whereas you’ll find slots or baccarat consist more largely of chance, blackjack is more closely related to Texas Hold’em or Roulette, and consist of varied payouts for varying degrees of risk and strategy.
The game of blackjack boils down to two behavioural aspects called “normative” and “prescriptive” decision making. It recognises that a player is faced with a number of decisions and card, along with the probability of getting a score higher than the dealer. The common procedure is to pre-determine and predict quickly all potential outcomes, along with the consequences that will arise from each action. The player than formulates everything to choose the action with the highest expected value outcomes against the risk.
The origins of blackjack are mostly unknown, but its precursor, simply called Twenty-One, appears in a short story by the Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes called “Rinconete y Cortaillo”. These are the names of two cheats working in Seville, prolific at cheating at a game called “Ventiuna”, which is Spanish for Twenty One, and they cheat using a deck of cards that doesn’t have 8s, 9s or 10s. The story was written between 1601 and 1602, so although we can’t say when Blackjack was invented, we can certainly say it existed in some form at the start of the 17th century.
The name Blackjack is thought to come from America. To keep interest among punters high, gambling houses would offer enhanced payouts of 10:1 if you were dealt the Ace of Spades and a black jack card (being that of the Jack of Clubs or Jack of Spades). The name stuck even though these bulky odds were withdrawn quickly. Nowadays a Blackjack refers to any ace and any card with a value of ten.
In the last twenty years Blackjack has welcomed in the digital age and appeared on video games, mobile casinos and online rooms, and mobile blackjack is bigger than ever before. It’s now easier than ever before to play blackjack, and many do from the comfort of their own home. Mobile blackjack is commonplace on personal devices, and it’s a testament to how strong the game is to remain at the forefront of casino gaming for centuries.