The history of Blackjack
The first written account of the game can be traced back to 1601 in a book by Miguel de Cervantes entitled “Ronconete and Cortadillo”. The book narrates the exploits of two characters cheating in a card game called “ventiuna” which is Spanish for 21. It didn’t have the rules of blackjack, but there were clear similarities, where the goal is to reach 21 points without going over 21.
The game appeared in 18th century French casinos before being introduced in the US, and later to the rest of the world. To make the game more appealing to new players, casinos once offered to pay 10 times the bet when a player received the Jack and Ace of spades, hence the name ‘Blackjack’.
This bonus offer is no longer used but the name ‘Blackjack’ remained.
Blackjack is one of the easiest casino games to play. The aim of the game is to draw a hand whose value is higher than that of the dealer’s, but without going over 21. If you go over 21, you lose, more commonly referred to as a ‘bust’.
In blackjack, the ace is unique as it is worth either 1 or 11. Cards 2 through 10 are worth their face value, and the face cards – Jack, Queen and King are worth 10.
Below is a glossary of the basic terms used in Blackjack:
- Hit: Draw another card.
- Stand: A player’s decision to stop drawing cards.
- Double down: A player’s option to double their original bet in exchange for receiving only one more card.
- Split: If a player’s initial two cards are the same value, they have the option to double their initial bet and split the two cards into two separate hands. Players often split when dealt two 8s.
- Soft hand: A hand containing an Ace that is counted as 11.
- Hard hand: A hand with either an Ace valued at 1, or without an Ace.
- “T“: Signifies ten and represents all the cards worth 10 points, a 10, Jack, Queen, or King.
Playing Online Blackjack
To start a game of online blackjack, you place a bet and receive two cards face up. The dealer receives one card face up and another face down. If your two cards make a total of 21, you immediately have “blackjack” and you win. If the dealer also has blackjack you will tie or ‘push’ your stake to the next hand.
If your cards don’t make a total of 21, you have the option to hit more cards one by one. You can hit as many cards as you want but be careful not to exceed a total of 21 or you will ‘bust’ and lose your bet. If you decide you don’t want any more cards, tell the dealer that you ‘stand’.
Once everyone has played, the dealer turns his facedown card to reveal his score. If the house has a blackjack, all players lose, except those who also had a blackjack.
If the house has a total of 16 or less, the dealer must hit, until reaching a total of at least 17. If the dealer hits and exceeds 21, this means the house busts and all remaining players win their bets. However, If the house has between 17 and 21, then the dealer must stand. The dealer will now compare the house’s score with the score of the remaining players. Players with a score lower than the house lose their bets, while those with a better score win their bets.
How to find Good Online Blackjack Casinos
How do you choose from the many online blackjack casino websites operating in the UK today? Choosing a reputable online Blackjack casino should not be difficult. Take these important factors into consideration before signing up to any online Blackjack casino:
- Licensing & Regulation: Verify that the Blackjack casino website is licensed and regulated by the UK Gambling Commission and the Malta Gaming Authority. Regulation ensures every player has a fair chance of winning.
- Security: Check that your chosen casino is independently audited and implements the latest security features such as firewalls and 128bit SSL encryption. This ensures your personal and financial data are safe.
- Welcome Bonus: This is often the main reason new players will sign up to an online Blackjack casino. You want to make sure that you are getting a generous welcome bonus. Keep in mind that you will often have complete ‘playthrough’ requirements before you can withdraw winnings earned from your welcome bonus. Choose a welcome bonus with playthrough requirements you can complete.
- Mobile performance: Thanks to advancements in modern technology, you can now enjoy real money online blackjack on your tablet or smartphone. For the best online Blackjack experience, pick a casino that offers either a stand-alone mobile app, or a fully mobile-optimised site.