When most people think of a casino, alongside roulette and slots, Blackjack is high on the list of games they associate with the environment. Blackjack, also known as 21 and Pontoon dates as far back as at least 1601, first featuring in a story by Miguel de Cervantes, and is now a mainstay of casinos worldwide, earning them more revenue than all other casino games aside from slots.
Part of Blackjack’s appeal is that it’s relatively easy for casino novices to get involved in. Compared to many casino card games, the rules aren’t overly complex and the rounds are fast. The house edge isn’t large and there’s not as much strategy involved as in card games such as poker. However, one known and somewhat dubious strategy of pontoon is named card counting. It has effectively been driven out of casinos on account that it was able to compensate for the house edge and tip the balance in the favour of the player.
The aim of Blackjack is to reach 21, or as close to 21 as possible with your cards. Two cards are dealt for the players, one face up and one down. The player can then place bets based on that card, and then additional bets with each further card. Achieving 21 with the first two cards dealt is called Blackjack (and beats the dealer, assuming he doesn’t also have Blackjack). Another winning outcome for the player is to reach a higher score (of 21 or below) than the dealer achieves with his cards. The final way of winning it when the dealer ‘twists’ (is dealt additional cards) in a bid to beat the players total, and ‘busts’ by going over 21. The game uses one or more, 52 card decks (more decks are now used to counter card counting).
Aces can be used as both 11 or 1 in value. The player needs a higher value than the dealer to win, which offers an advantage to the dealer. The dealer does however have to keep twisting until he reaches at least 17. If the players two cards are both the same, they can split the them to have two separate hands. There are numerous other rule variations in this popular casino game.