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All About Blackjack

Just where did Blackjack come from? I'm sure that no one in the 18th century knew that this game, which was a modified version of "Ving-et-un" would become so popular. Blackjack really began to catch fire when it spread to America. As far as legal gambling goes, it was limited. Gambling was legalized in Las Vegas in the early 1930s. Blackjack really hit its stride in the 1950s.

So what started it all? In 1956, a book was released called "The Optimum Strategy in Blackjack." There was no looking back. People began to awaken to the idea that Blackjack was a gambling game that could be beaten. More books followed, and the race of knowledge was on. In the 1960s, the desire to beat the game reached a fever pitch when Professor Edward O. Thorp released his masterpiece "Beat the Dealer."

Soon after, teams around the country formed up. Bright students of Blackjack got together and tried to beat the game in Las Vegas and elsewhere. The strategy evolved from playing the percentages to counting cards. Perhaps one of the most famous Blackjack players was Ken Uston. He was so good that casinos were forced to blackball him. The word was out in full force -- Blackjack can be beaten.

The game of Blackjack is very simple in nature. The object of the game is to beat the dealer. To do so, you need to either have a hand closer to 21 than the dealer or you need the dealer to bust. The game starts with you receiving two cards. The value of each card is based upon its number rank. For instance, a three of clubs is worth three. Face cards are worth 10 each, and Aces can be worth one or 11 -- you choose.

If the first two cards are an Ace and a face card or 10, then you have Blackjack and win automatically. The bet pays off 1.5 to 1. When it's your turn, you have two main choices to make -- stand or hit. To stand means to pass. In other words, you believe your hand is good enough where it is. To hit is to take another card. You can take as many cards as you like, provided that your total count is 21 or under.

Here are a couple quick tips to help you get the most out of Blackjack.
  • If you have 11 and the dealer has anything other than a 10, face card or Ace showing, double down.
  • If you are dealt a pair of 8s, split them, unless the dealer is showing a 9 or higher.
  • Play calmly. Don't try to get back any losses on one hand.
  • Play with as few decks as possible. Single deck games are the best.
  • Never take insurance. It's a sucker bet. If the dealer has Blackjack, then so be it.
  • If the dealer has a potential Blackjack and you were dealt one, take even money. Don't get greedy.


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