• The following table illustrates the mathematical effect on the house edge of the number of decks, by considering games with various deck counts under the following ruleset:
    double after split allowed, resplit to four hands allowed, no hitting split aces, no surrendering, double on any two cards, original bets only lost on dealer blackjack, dealer hits soft 17, and cut-card used.

  • As a result, casinos are more likely to insist that players do not reveal their cards to one another in single-deck games.

  • [28] Side bets Many blackjack tables offer side bets on various outcomes including:[29] Player hand and dealer’s up card total 19, 20, or 21 (“Lucky Lucky”) Player initial
    hand is a pair (“Perfect pairs”) Player initial hand is suited, suited and connected, or a suited K-Q (“Royal match”) Player initial hand plus dealer’s card makes a flush, straight, or three-of-a-kind poker hand (“21+3”) Player initial hand
    totals 20 (“Lucky Ladies”) Dealer upcard is in between the value of the players two cards (“In Bet”) First card drawn to the dealer will result in a dealer bust (“Bust It!”)

  • An example of a basic strategy is shown in the table below, which applies to a game with the following specifications:[16] Four to eight decks The dealer hits on a soft 17
    A double is allowed after a split Only original bets are lost on dealer blackjack Most basic strategy decisions are the same for all blackjack games.

  • Blackjack players using basic strategy lose on average less than 1% of their action over the long run, giving blackjack one of the lowest edges in the casino.

  • In some games, players can also take insurance when a 10-valued card shows, but the dealer has an ace in the hole less than one-tenth of the time.

  • On their turn, players choose to “hit” (take a card), “stand” (end their turn and stop without taking a card), “double” (double their wager, take a single card, and finish),
    “split” (if the two cards have the same value, separate them to make two hands), or “surrender” (give up a half-bet and retire from the game).

  • A player can usually control or bet in as many boxes as desired at a single table, but an individual cannot play on more than one table at a time or place multiple bets within
    a single box.

  • A player total of 21 on the first two cards is a “natural” or “blackjack”, and the player wins immediately unless dealer also has one, in which case the hand ties.

  • “[12][13] Non-controlling players may or may not double their wager, but they still only take one card.

  • After the boxes have finished playing, the dealer’s hand is resolved by drawing cards until the hand achieves a total of 17 or higher (a dealer total of 17 including an ace
    valued as 11, also known as a “soft 17”, must be drawn to in some games and must stand in others).

  • Spanish 21 provides players with liberal rules, such as doubling down any number of cards (with the option to rescue, or surrender only one wager to the house), payout bonuses
    for five or more card 21s, 6–7–8 21s, 7–7–7 21s, late surrender, and player blackjacks and player 21s always winning.

  • The “original bets only” rule variation appearing in certain no hole card games states that if the player’s hand loses to a dealer blackjack, only the mandatory initial bet
    (“original”) is forfeited, and all optional bets, meaning doubles and splits, are pushed.

  • With no hole card, it is almost never correct basic strategy to double or split against a dealer ten or ace, since a dealer blackjack will result in the loss of the split
    and double bets; the only exception is with a pair of aces against a dealer 10, where it is still correct to split.

  • [11] Blackjack games usually offer a side bet called insurance, which may be placed when the dealer’s face up card is an ace.

  • For example, if the player is dealt 10–6 and 5–10, then the player can switch two cards to make hands of 10–10 and 6–5.

  • Each new hand gets another card so that the player has two starting hands.

  • In variations, a player bust does not always result in an automatic loss; depending on the casino, the player can still push if the dealer also busts.

  • The presence of a 10 in the player’s hand has two consequences:[18] It makes the player’s 12 a worse hand to stand on (since the only way to avoid losing is for the dealer
    to go bust, which is less likely if there are fewer 10s left in the shoe).

  • The players’ initial cards may be dealt face up or face down (more common in single-deck games).

  • Some games allow unlimited resplitting, while others may limit it to a certain number of hands, such as four hands (for example, “resplit to 4”).

  • Resplitting If the cards of a post-split hand have the same value, most games allow the player to split again, or “resplit”.

  • After the last hand is played, the dealer reveals the hole card and stands or draws according to the game’s rules.

  • No hole card and OBO In most non-U.S. casinos, a “no hole card” game is played, meaning that the dealer does not draw nor consult their second card until after all players
    have finished making decisions.

  • [23] Shuffle tracking[edit] Main article: Shuffle tracking Another advantage play technique, mainly applicable in multi-deck games, involves tracking groups of cards (also
    known as slugs, clumps, or packs) through the shuffle and then playing and betting according to when those cards come into play from a new shoe.

  • In European casinos, “no hole card” games are prevalent; the dealer’s second card is not drawn until the players have played their hands.

  • Split: Create two hands from a starting hand where both cards are the same value.

  • [19] Advantage play[edit] Main article: Advantage player Blackjack has been a high-profile target for advantage players since the 1960s.

  • For example, with many tens left in the deck, players might double down in more situations since there is a better chance of getting a good hand.

  • No double after split After a split, most games allow doubling down on the new two-card hands.

  • One or both of the players cards is the same as the dealers card (“Match the Dealer”) The side wager is typically placed in a designated area next to the box for the main

  • It is advantageous to make an insurance bet whenever the hole card has more than a one in three chance of being a ten.

  • The house edge for games where blackjack pays 6 to 5 instead of 3 to 2 increases by about 1.4%, though.

  • Video blackjack game rules are generally more favorable to the house; e.g., paying out only even money for winning blackjacks.

  • Each box gets an initial hand of two cards visible to the people playing on it.

  • This hand was called a “blackjack”, and the name stuck even after the ten-to-one bonus was withdrawn.

  • In many U.S. casinos, players are limited to playing one to three positions at a table.

  • In face-down games, if a player has more than one hand, they are allowed to look at all their hands before deciding.

  • Double Exposure Blackjack deals the first two cards of the dealer’s hand face up.

  • For example, the players can increase the starting bet if many aces and tens are left in the deck, in the hope of hitting a blackjack.

  • Super Fun 21 allows a player to split a hand up to four times.

  • A non-controlling player of a blackjack hand is usually permitted to place a side bet regardless of whether the controlling player does so.

  • Double down: Increase the initial bet by 100% and take exactly one more card.

  • The object of the game is to win money by creating card totals higher than those of the dealer’s hand but not exceeding 21, or by stopping at a total in the hope that dealer
    will bust.

  • After the initial two cards, the player has up to five options: “hit”, “stand”, “double down”, “split”, or “surrender”.

  • Unbalanced counts are often started at a value which depends on the number of decks used in the game.

  • This mainly reflects an increased likelihood of player blackjack, since if the player draws a ten on their first card, the subsequent probability of drawing an ace is higher
    with fewer decks.

  • Some games permit the player to increase the bet by amounts smaller than 100% which is known as “double for less.

  • Single cards are dealt to each wagered-on position clockwise from the dealer’s left, followed by a single card to the dealer, followed by an additional card to each of the
    positions in play.

  • Blackjack’s house edge is usually between 0.5%–1% when players use basic strategy.

  • Late/early surrender Surrender, for those games that allow it, is usually not permitted against a dealer blackjack; if the dealer’s first card is an ace or ten, the hole card
    is checked to make sure there is no blackjack before surrender is offered.

  • Players can sometimes improve on this decision by considering the composition of their hand, not just the point total.

  • A card counter uses this count to make betting and playing decisions.

  • Signal: Place additional chips next to the original bet outside the betting box and point with two fingers spread into a V formation.

  • When using basic strategy, the long-term house advantage (the expected loss of the player) is minimized.

  • Dealer hits soft 17 A “soft 17” in blackjack (an ace and any combination of 6) Each game has a rule about whether the dealer must hit or stand on soft 17, which is generally
    printed on the table surface.

  • “Original bets only” is also known by the acronym OBO; it has the same effect on basic strategy and house edge as reverting to a hole card game.

  • When offering single deck blackjack games, casinos are more likely to disallow doubling on soft hands or after splitting, to restrict resplitting, require higher minimum bets,
    and to pay the player less than 3:2 for a winning blackjack.

  • Casinos also sometimes use a shuffling machine to reintroduce the cards every time a deck has been played.

  • Using a composition-dependent strategy rather than basic strategy in a single deck game reduces the house edge by 4 in 10,000, which falls to 3 in 100,000 for a six-deck game.

  • Additional side bets, such as “Dealer Match” which pays when the player’s cards match the dealer’s up card, are also sometimes available.

  • They are proficient at cheating at veintiuna (Spanish for “twenty-one”) and state that the object of the game is to reach 21 points without going over and that the ace values
    1 or 11.

  • The dealer has a blackjack less than one-third of the time.

  • [1]: 342  The most widely played casino banking game in the world, it uses decks of 52 cards and descends from a global family of casino banking games known as Twenty-One.

  • In team play it is common for team members to be dedicated towards only counting a side bet using a specialized count.

  • Since blackjack occurs in approximately 4.8% of hands, the 1:1 game increases the house edge by 2.3%, while the 6:5 game adds 1.4% to the house edge.

  • Double Attack Blackjack has liberal blackjack rules and the option of increasing one’s wager after seeing the dealer’s up card.

  • Card counting is legal unless the counter is using an external device,[21]: 6–7  but a casino might inform counters that they are no longer welcome to play blackjack.

  • This requires an additional bet on the second hand.

  • In jurisdictions allowing back betting, up to three players can be at each position.

  • While these techniques are legal, they can give players a mathematical edge in the game, making advantage players unwanted customers for casinos.

  • The player whose bet is at the front of the betting box controls the position, and the dealer consults the controlling player for playing decisions; the other bettors “play

  • [4] According to popular myth, when Vingt-Un (“Twenty-One”) was introduced into the United States (in the early 1800s, during the First World War, or in the 1930s, depending
    on the source), gambling houses offered bonus payouts to stimulate players’ interest.

  • Depending on the number of competitors, tournaments may be held over several rounds, with one or two players qualifying from each table after a set number of deals to meet
    the qualifiers from the other tables in the next round.


Works Cited

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3. ^ Fontbona,
Marc (2008). Historia del Juego en España. De la Hispania romana a nuestros días. Barcelona: Flor del Viento Ediciones. p. 89. ISBN 978-84-96495-30-2.
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and Composition Dependent Basic Strategy in Blackjack. Retrieved December 19, 2006.
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guide to the casino game of 21 (6th ed.). Huntington Press. ISBN 978-0929712130.
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Shuffle-Tracking An Easy Way to Start
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by Jerry L. Patterson; Perigee Books; A Division of Penguin Putnam; © 1990; ISBN 0-399-51598-4 Shuffle-Tracking; Chapter 4, Page 51
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