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Become A Blackjack Pro In No Time
Blackjack, one of the most popular casino table games, involves both luck and strategy. The object is to have the cards in your own hand come closer than the dealer's hand to the number 21 without exceeding it.
The beauty of Blackjack is the dealer has no decisions or strategy in his role; he merely deals the cards and strictly obeys the few rules the game lays out for him.
The values of the cards are much the same as other games of skill and chance. The Ace is either a 1 or an 11, cards 2 through 9 are face value and the ten through King are valued at ten. Thus, you could achieve 21 with an Ace and a card valued at 10 or any combination of the lesser cards.
A hand containing an Ace is called a soft total, a description meaning the player can draw another card without the danger of going bust or exceeding the total of 21.
Each player and the dealer begin with two cards, with the dealer showing his first card face up. As a player, you have many more options than the dealer! The player can accept cards until he exceeds 21 busts or loses, achieves a total of 21 or any total below 21.
The dealer must get at least 17 before he can stop dealing himself cards. That greatly increases his chances of going bust. And that means the player wins!
Strategy and careful attention to the card totals are the key to Blackjack. For instance, if your hand contains a King and an 8, you would stand. The odds of being dealt a 3, to make 21, aren't in your favor. On the other hand, if the dealer has drawn a Queen and a 6 for a total of 16, you know he has to draw at least one more card to get 17 or over and the chances of drawing a 5 to get 21 and win the hand are not in his favor. More likely, he will bust and you will win the hand!
There are a few terms and options a player should know. You already know the meanings of bust and stand. Insurance is another option you have in blackjack. If the card showing in the dealer's hand is a 10 or an Ace, he will offer you insurance against the chance that his second card (which is face down) will give him a total of 21 and a win.
The insurance will cost you half the amount of your bet but if he has drawn Blackjack, your insured bet will pay off at 2:1 and you break even instead of losing your bet. Insurance protects your original bet from a dealers blackjack. If the dealer doesn't have blackjack you'll lose the insurance bet and still have to continue the game.
You may elect to surrender at the cost of half your bet if before the dealer checks his cards. For instance, if the dealer is showing an ace he may have blackjack. This option, called early surrender, should be used sparingly! Some games allow you to surrender later, after the dealer checks his initial hand for blackjack.
If you are dealt a pair (two 10's, for example), you may want to split, or treat each of the pair like a separate hand. With a split, you may even get blackjack twice! Splitting increases your chances of beating the house (dealer) and doubling your winnings.
You may choose to double down. Doing so allows you only one more card and doubles your bet. If your two cards are, say a 5 and a 6 whereas the dealer's card showing is a 4, your chances of winning the hand are excellent and doubling would very advantageous.
As you can see, Blackjack is a game of strategy and skill as well as chance, a game deceptively simple to play but a challenge to master!
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