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OTHER ITA SITES:
Out of all the common casino games, blackjack remains one of the few in which a participant can actually change his or her chances of winning during the game. Whether those running casinos wish to admit it or not, blackjack does involve skill. And by applying some strategies to your finely honed blackjack skills you can learn to beat the casino on a regular basis (see http://www.insidersystem.com/casino.html).
Blackjack actually refers to a specific holding (two cards totaling 21). However, this is also the most common term for the game - also known as 21.
You are playing against the dealer at all times. Many people feel that you must play differently depending on where you sit at the table. This is not true. Players sit in a semi-circle around the dealer, but no matter where you sit, you are still playing against the dealer. You owe nothing to the other players - it is your own money you are risking.
In Blackjack, the suits of the cards have no significance. Tens, jacks, queens, and kings all count 10. An ace counts 1 or 10 at the player's option. Cards from 2 to 9 have their face value. Therefore, if you hold a nine and a five, you have 14. A nine and an ace can be either 10 or 20.
The simple idea of the game is to get closer to 21 without going over than the dealer does. You are dealt two cards and the dealer is dealt two cards also - one always face up, and one face down. You are then given the option of standing with the cards you have ("stick" or "sticking") or you may be "hit" and be given another card ("hitting"). You may take as many cards as you wish to, but should you go over 21, you "bust" and the dealer wins automatically. The dealer will not take any cards until all players are through at taking cards. Thus the dealer's biggest advantage is here. Any players that bust, lose their bet - even if the dealer goes bust.
If you stay at 21 or under and have a higher total than the dealer, you win; if both you and the dealer hold cards equaling the same total, it is a "push" and you stay even (not winning or losing). If the dealer has a higher total without busting, he wins.
We'll start talking about blackjack strategy more next time (see http://www.insidersystem.com/blackjack.html). In the mean time, start developing your skills so that you can apply the strategies to your game.
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