Play blackjack at Grosvenor Casinos
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Blackjack, also known as twenty-one, is a card game where each player in turn competes against the dealer. Players can “beat the dealer” by doing one of three things: accrue 21 points on their first two cards, achieve a final score that’s higher than the dealer without exceeding 21, or wait for the dealer to draw cards until their hand exceeds 21.
History of blackjack
Although blackjack has no known origin, researchers believe it was first played in France under the name “Vingt-et-Un”, meaning “twenty and one”. It is believed the game derived from popular French dealer-led card games at the time, Chemin de Fer and French Ferme.
The name “blackjack” initially came about when French colonists introduced the game to US gambling houses in the 1800s. Players were offered bonus pay-outs, one of these being a ten-to-one pay-out for a hand with an ace of spades and a black jack (either jack of clubs or jack of spades). As the game became more popular in the US, the name “blackjack” stuck.
How to play blackjack
The blackjack dealer hands out two cards to the players and two to himself. One card is placed face up and the other face down for the dealer, whilst the player’s cards are dealt face up so everyone can see them.
Players are given the option to either: stand (take no more cards), hit (take another card), surrender (the house takes half the bet, returning the other half to the player), double down (increasing the initial bit by 100 per cent) or split (if the first two cards of a hand have the same value, players can split them into two hands), with the aim to beat the dealer’s hand by exceeding the dealers total or not going over 21.
The last person to handle their cards is the dealer. In traditional forms of blackjack, the dealer must take a card on 16 or less, and stand on 17 through to 21. Players can only win when their hand totals higher than the dealer’s (but not exceeding 21), or they have 21 or less when the dealer exceeds 21 (also known as a bust).
All cards in blackjack are counted based on their face value. Number cards have the value of their numbers, picture cards count as ten, and Aces count as either 1 or 11, depending on whether the player’s hand exceeds 21 or not. Cards are dealt from a “shoe”; this holds multiple decks of cards, with many casinos holding six decks in one shoe.
Blackjack is played on a semi-circular table with a square box indicating the “betting spot”, where the casino chips are to be placed. Most casinos allow players the chance to play on multiple boxes with a table minimum.
Blackjack etiquette requires players to refrain from handing money directly to the dealer (it must be placed on the table), touching cards or chips once the cards are dealt, and holding cards with two hands.
Blackjack rules can vary from one casino to the next, so it pays to know which blackjack games your casino hosts. The most common variations include Face Up 21, Match Play 21, Pontoon, Multi-hand and Perfect Pairs.
Face Up 21
In this popular game, both dealer’s cards are dealt face up, giving players the chance to make early decisions. However, surrender your hand too soon and you could end up on the wrong side of the house edge.
Match Play 21 & Spanish 21
Match Play 21 removes the 10s from the deck, with certain hands receiving special bonus pay-outs.
Pontoon requires both cards to appear face down, with players given 2:1 pay-outs rather than traditional 3:2 pay-outs.
As the name suggests, you can play more than one hand at a time, meaning the game is played at a quick pace.
Perfect Pairs uses normal blackjack rules, but allows for an extra side bet at the start of each hand. The side bet is the player’s wager that the first two cards will be of the same value. Hit the same cards of the same suit and you can expect to receive a 30 to 1 pay-out or better.