Blackjack: the king of casino games

Blackjack is a card game for intellectuals, mathematicians and those who like to try their luck. Over the years of its existence, it has experienced ups and downs, but it has become one of the most striking examples of how the attitude to the game can change it.

Blackjack has been played since the middle of the 18th century. Like many other gambling games, it originated in France. The Americans later gave it a slightly different form, and it is in this form that we observe the game in modern institutions.

Blackjack: the king of casino games

Game history

For 200 years, the game of blackjack has been the back-up player in the casino. In the 50s of the last century, the most popular entertainment in the gambling houses of Las Vegas was the game of dice. It was a social game: if the cubes were favorable and the player won, they threw a party, if they lost, they were sad together. Blackjack, on the other hand, separated one player from another and put them on opposite sides of the barricades.

In 1956, a quartet of US military mathematicians who entered the annals of blackjack as the “Baldwin group” published an article in the Journal of the American Statistical Association. The material was the first to describe a mathematically correct set of actions for the game. This approach later became better known as the basic strategy.

Then in 1962, Ed Thorp published Beat the Dealer, the best-selling paperback book that explained to the general public that by counting cards (keeping track of how many high-value cards were left in the game), players could have a statistical advantage over the casino in the form of a dealer. .

blackjack history

Following this, smart and disciplined players became regulars at the casino. Blackjack quickly became the most popular gambling game. The casino managers’ initial panic softened to wariness as they realized that not all players are as smart as they would like them to be.

The popularity of blackjack since the 60s is instructive: nothing has changed in the game itself. Casinos, for their part, did not try to popularize it, new strategies for 100% winning did not appear. However, blackjack evolved because players realized that it was possible to win, albeit occasionally.

For decades, blackjack has been the king of the tables. The 2008 film Twenty-One, based on a true story and depicting the exploits of the MIT counting team, introduced the game to a new generation. But nothing lasts forever under the moon. At least in recent times, blackjack has taken second fiddle and given the palm to baccarat.

However, competition from baccarat, slot machines, and other games is not the only problem with blackjack. Many casino managers, who have always been concerned about the potential of blackjack for players, have shied away from the rules a bit to make the game more profitable.

The essence of the game

Blackjack is also known as “21”. The essence of the game is simple: score 21 points or more than in the hands of the dealer, but in no case more than 21. If the player collects more than 21, he “burns out”. In case of a draw, the player and the dealer remain on their own.

The value of the cards in Blackjack

In blackjack, the value of the cards does not change during the game. The goal is to score 21 points using as few cards as possible. Cards have the following price values:

  • Cards with numbers: the price is the number on the card.
  • Pictures: price – 10 points.
  • Ace – 1 or 11. As a rule, the value of an ace is 11 points, but if the sum of points is higher than 21 with this calculation, then the value of the card becomes 1.

So the blackjack with the fewest cards is an ace and any face card or ten.

The value of the cards in Blackjack

  1. The rules for each gambling establishment can be slightly modified. Often the dealer stands on 17. In some casinos, he can get on “soft 17” (ace and 6). The subtleties of understanding come most quickly at the table. The rules for insurance, splits and doubles vary depending on the local rules of the casino.
  2. All rules of insurance, splits and doubling must be read before starting the game. It should not be forgotten that all additional rules and actions take place in favor of the institution.
  3. Card counting. Some players count the deck, that is, they count how many aces, tens and pictures are left in the game. If there are still many such cards in the deck, then the bet can be raised to make a good hand.
  4. Basic winning strategies: always settle on hard 17s and up, never say enough on soft 17s, double down soft: ace + 2 or ace + 3 vs. 5-6, ace +4 ace +5 vs. 4-6, ace +7 vs. 3–6.