Blackjack remains one of the top choices for casino fans. Regardless if we are talking about free blackjack, as part of an interesting social game, or playing it for real money at casinos, there’s no denying the fact that it is very fun and entertaining.
Starting with its history, blackjack’s origin is hard to determine. In its early years of existence, this game was commonly referred to as Vingt-Un and its first reference was made by Miguel de Cervantes in Rinconete y Cortadillo. This book tells the tale of two cheats who operate in Seville and their best game of choice is veintuna, which is the Spanish term for 21. The tale was published in the 1600s, meaning that the first references to casino blackjack were made in the 17th century.
Like its predecessor, Vingt-Un mainly differed from blackjack in the fact that it has an additional betting round, and in some instances, dealers would flip the second card from the start. Numerous versions of early Blackjack started becoming popular all over Europe. Trente-un (Spain), the Italian Sette e Mezzo and the Quinze in France are just a few honorable mentions.
But, the real expansion of Blackjack happened in the 20th century when the game was legalized in many countries. For example, the state of Nevada legalized gambling in 1931, which is the exact year when casino blackjack entered the market. In Canada, players were able to play blackjack ever since 1989, when the first commercial casino was opened in Winnipeg.
These days, the game is accessed and played by millions of people on a daily basis. But, since we are not here to just talk about the history of this, we are going to take a much deeper dive into blackjack and explain its gameplay, rules, strategies that players can use, where can you play it, payment methods, etc. Without any further ado, let’s start breaking down everything.
How To Play
In most cases, dealers use 6 decks of 52 cards to play Blackjack. In addition to that, the dealer also has a blank card. This card is never used for gameplay, but it indicates when the cards need to be shuffled again. Whenever a game of blackjack is played with more than 4 decks, a box from which the dealer takes the cards is used.
The object of the game is simple. You need to have a sum of cards greater than the dealer’s but without it exceeding 21. A guide on how to play online blackjack can be found here.
Betting and Dealing
Before the game begins, the player makes a bet in chips at the designated area. The minimum and maximum limits vary from one table to another. Some blackjack tables are for high rollers, while some are more suitable for those that do not want to take these risks.
After the bets are placed, the dealer provides players with one card that is face up. They also take one card, face up. The second round is a bit different. While the player receives the second card face up, the dealer takes one card that is face up and one that is face down. After the second round, the player needs to decide whether to Stand or Hit. Stand means that he or she does not want to be dealt with another card, while Hit means that he or she wants to be dealt another card.
This decision depends on the sum of cards that the player has. Cards from 2 to 10 have an identical numeric value. The Royals (J, Q, and K) have a card value of 10. Ace’s value varies. Some dealers will count it as 1 while some will count it as 11.
If the dealer’s sum is greater than the player’s, then the card stands, and they go to the third round. When dealers have served players, the card which is face down is revealed. In this round, the player decides whether to Stand or Hit. If the player thinks that his/her sum is pretty high and the risk of exceeding 21 is big, then they will most likely stand. In this scenario, if the dealer’s third card totals a sum greater than 21, the player wins.
But, if the sum is exactly 21, then the dealer wins. In the scenario of the third card being low and not reaching 21, they go to a fourth-round where the cycle is repeated.
All in all, players win on three occasions:
- If their card sum is greater than the dealer’s sum
- If their card sum is 21
- If the dealer’s card sum exceeds 21
Vice versa, these are also the same scenarios in which the dealer can win.
As with almost any casino game, casino blackjack comes with a few strategies that can be used. One thing that you need to keep in mind is that they do not guarantee you wins, but rather increase your chances of being rewarded.
The first basic blackjack strategy is to never request a Hit if the sum of your two cards is between 18 and 20. These are considered as high sums of cards and the chances of hitting a card that will allow you to have a sum equal or lower to 21 are pretty low.
Some strategies involve splitting cards. Players have this option when their first two pairs are of equal denomination, for example, two Queens or two eights. Some strategies concerning splits are:
- Don’t split Aces
- Don’t Split 10s
- Always split 8s
- Split 7s against dealer 2 through 7, otherwise hit
- Pair of 5’s doubles against dealer 2 through 9, otherwise hit
Additionally, there are some strategies concerning Soft and Hard totals. Soft totals are hands that include Aces that count as 11 combined with any other card. Some strategies here include:
- Always stand with a soft 20
- Soft 19 stands, unless it doubles against dealer 6
- Soft 18 to 13 doubles against dealers 5-2 through 6 (chronologically), otherwise hit
On the other hand, hard totals are hands that do not include Aces or have Aces, but they count as 1, not 11. Some strategies including hard totals are:
- A total of 17+ always stands
- 11 always doubles
- 8 always hits
- 13-16 stand against dealers 2 through 6, otherwise hit
- 12 stands against dealer’s 4 through 6, otherwise hit
Card Counting in Blackjack
Card counting is one of the most controversial topics concerning blackjack in Canada and any other country. This is one type of blackjack strat and here are three types of card counting in blackjack – Hi-Lo System, Betting Spread, and Deck Composition.
Hi-Lo is the most popular and the easiest form of card counting in blackjack. The idea is simple. You keep focusing on three groups of cards. When you see a high card, subtract one from your tally. When low cards are dealt, add one to your tally. Middle-value cards are not taken into consideration. If your stands are at plus three, then the chances of being dealt with a high card are good. Vice versa, if you are in the negative, then a small card is likely coming. Once the cards are shuffled, you start over.
Betting spread in blackjack card game means that you bet less when the dealer is in advantage, and you bet more when you are the one in advantage. Considering the fact that the house will be on edge most of the time, so you will lose some amount that you will regain when you bet large.
The final form of the blackjack game is Deck Decomposition. This strategy will allow you to know which cards are in the deck and which ones are in the shoe. Basically, you need to keep your focus on the cards to know which have passed and which haven’t. This is what determines whether the edge will be in your favor or in at the house.
Where Can You Play Blackjack?
Of course, the first option is to play free bet blackjack with your friends as a social game. But, if you are looking to play it for real money, there are two options – land-based casinos and online casinos. Online blackjack real money has become extremely popular in the recent period. Here’s why.
Casino sites have tons of advantages over their land-based partners. For starters, they can be accessed at any time and place. Not only that, but they feature tons of accepted payment methods, have hundreds of HD games by some of the world’s best game providers, and casino sites offer tons of bonuses and promotions. Not only that, but some operators may allow players to play free blackjack games.
Online casinos are set to be the future of the gambling industry. Statistics have shown that their total global revenue in 2019 and 2020 exceeded $60 billion, which is around a fifth of the revenue made by the gambling industry. Additionally, their revenue is likely to exceed $100 by 2023 and after that, online casinos are set to become the biggest profit-makers in the gambling industry by 2025.
As for why you should specifically play blackjack online, the answer is that there are several variants of this game, with live blackjack being the most popular recently.
Here are few online casinos where you can play live blackjack
Baccarat as Part of Live Casino Games by Evolution
The reason why live blackjack is so popular is that it provides players with a unique gaming experience. As the name of the category suggests, live blackjack is held in real-time. Players join in via a stream and they are able to wager on the game in real-time. This blackjack variant is also very interactive as you are able to chat with the dealer.
Evolution blackjack is by far the most popular live blackjack variant. As you may know, Evolution is one of the most reputable game providers in the world and they are the number 1 supplier of live casino games.
The featured blackjack games by Evolution Gaming which can be found at pretty much every online casino are:
- Live Blackjack
- Speed Blackjack
- Infinite Blackjack
- Free Bet Blackjack
- Power Blackjack
- Salon Prive
- Blackjack Party
Using Cryptocurrencies as Payment Methods
As mentioned earlier, one of the advantages that online casinos have is their plethora of accepted payment methods. In the recent period, cryptocurrencies have been on the rise and more online casinos in Canada have been allowing players to deposit money with them so that they can play blackjack.
The two best options that players have are DOGE and BCH. The reason why is because these methods are far superior to regular payment methods at online casinos such as e-wallets and credit/debit cards.
First of all, all deposits and withdrawals made with DOGE and BCH are instant. The only other method that provides players with instant transactions are e-wallets, but they come with fees on withdrawals and are often ineligible to claim casino bonuses. That is not the case with these two cryptocurrencies. Not only are players voiding fees, but they also gain access to all of the featured bonuses and promotions.
Additionally, BCH and DOGE provide players with extra security as they give them online anonymity. Considering the fact that online scams have been taking place quite often recently, being secure online is a big treat, and that is exactly what BCH and DOGE will provide you with.
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As you can see, blackjack is a very simple, yet dynamic game. It managed to withstand the test of time and even proved to be a popular category at online casinos. Not only that, but reputable game providers such as Evolution Gaming have created numerous versions of live blackjack which are able to provide players with a unique gaming experience.
Finally, while blackjack may seem like a simple game of luck, there are some strategies that can be used. These strategies do not guarantee the player a win, but they do increase their chances of receiving a reward.
One thing is certain – regardless if you are playing blackjack for free or for real money, this game is extremely entertaining and fun.