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History of Blackjack

Though Blackjack originated in France, it has been one of the most popular table games in America for decades. Originally played as "21", the game was never as popular in the early American clubs and gambling houses as was poker or craps.

To increase interest in the game, some of the card rooms began to offer higher payouts for certain hands of cards; players who received an ace of spades with a jack of clubs or a jack of spades received a 10:1 bonus.

Thereafter the game of 21 became known as Blackjack because of those two cards. The game of Blackjack remained more or less unchanged until the 1960's when mathematician Edward Thorpe proved that the house edge could be virtually eliminated.

With the help of computers, Thorpe and his colleagues calculated the most advantageous way to play every possible card combination. Based on this research, a set of moves known as basic strategy was developed, and then modified by experts over the years.

Basic strategy led casinos to develop countermeasures to control losses, and today you will find slight variations in Blackjack rules depending on the casino you are in.

Blackjack Rules

Blackjack uses a six deck shoe.

The face cards - jack, queen and king, all have a value of 10, aces count as either 1 or 11, and the remaining cards are worth their face value.

If your hand exceeds 21, you bust and automatically lose the hand. If you have the same card total as the dealer, from 17 and up, no one wins and you get your wager back in a push.

The dealer must stand on 17 and above and draw on 16 and below.

If the dealer's face-up card is an ace, you will be asked if you wish to buy insurance.

You Win at Blackjack!

If you get Blackjack (21), the payout is 3:2. If your hand beats the dealer's hand but does not equal 21, the payout is 1:1.

Hand Who wins?
Dealer busts (hand exceeds 21)Player wins
Player's hand is closest to 21Player wins
Player busts (hand exceeds 21)Dealer wins
Dealer's hand is closest to 21Dealer wins
Hands are equal or a push is achievedNo loss or gain
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