Blackjack is one of the most popular card games in land-based casinos. You can also download casinos and play the game offline, on your smartphone. Also known as twenty-one, blackjack derives its name from France, where it was referred to as Vingt-Et-Un, which translates to twenty-one. Its origins are debatable, as speculators pin it to either France or Italy.
How is blackjack played?
Blackjack is a card game played with one or more standard 52-card decks. Each player starts with two cards, one down and the other face up to begin the game. Each card is assigned a value in this game. 2-10 are worth their face value. Kings, Queens, and Jacks are each worth 10, whereas Aces could be assigned 1 or 11. The game is played over an arc-shaped table with places for up to 7 players and a dealer. The dealer is in charge of all the aspects of the game. The dealer will shuffle the cards, as well as handle all the bets on the table.
The dealer starts by dealing one card face down to each player clockwise and for themselves. The dealer will then deal with another hand face up to each player and one face up for themselves. The game then begins with the first person to the dealer’s left. The player will decide how to bet after counting the value of the cards.
The player can ask for a hit, stand, double down, split or surrender. It is important to note that there are no verbal instructions while playing. All these instructions are done using hand signals as there is video surveillance round the clock on the gaming floor for transparency.
What makes blackjack so unique from other casino games is the fact that it is one of the games where the casino does not have a high house edge. Which means the chances of a player winning are high. The outcome of the game relies mostly on skill, strategy and luck.
Important Tip: The objective of blackjack is to beat the dealer’s hand without going over 21.
How does blackjack card counting work?
Card counting is a strategy used in blackjack to determine the probability of the next hand, giving you an advantage over the dealer. In blackjack, the probability of winning is dependent on the mix of the cards remaining on the deck. Remember that when playing blackjack, you assign a value to every card. So when card counting, you are running a mental tally of the cards already revealed.
There are various card counting strategies including;
The high-low strategy
This strategy is the most basic and standard card counting strategy. It follows these necessary steps:
- Assign the cards the following values
Cards 2-6: assign +1
Cards 7-9: assign 0
Cards 10-Ace: assign -1
- Every time the dealer plays a hand, you will either subtract 1, add 1 or do nothing based on the card that has been dealt.
- Keep a count every time the dealer pulls out a card from the deck. Be sure to use the values mentioned above.
- Add the values of the cards to determine the value of the cards in the deck. If the count increases, the advantage is to the player. Bet according to the card count. Increase if the count is negative and decrease the size of your bet if the count is positive.
The Omega II counting strategy
It is a more advanced strategy and is still fairly new. Developed by Bryce Carlson in a book called Blackjack for Blood, published in 2001, it ensures a balanced system, meaning that the first card dealt should start at 0, and the ending count should also be 0. The cards are assigned values as follows:
Cards 2,3,7= 1
Cards 4,5,6 = 2
Cards 9 = -1
Cards 10 and all face cards = 2
Cards 8 and Ace = 0
The goal is to wait for a high positive count. When the count is high, it means many low-value cards have been dealt, and there are many high-value cards still in the deck.
Wong Halves strategy
The Wong Halves system is more complicated than the above two strategies as the values assigned on this one include fractions, which makes counting a little more intricate.
Cards 3, 4, 6 = 1
Cards 2 and 7= 0.5
Cards 5 = 1.5
Cards 8 = 0
Cards 9 = -0.5
Cards 10, Ace, and all face cards= -1
The Wong Halves is a balanced system, which means when the deck is completely dealt, your total count ought to be 0. This strategy needs a lot of experience practice to master.
With these three blackjack card counting strategies, the game should surely seem a lot more interesting. Also, your winning odds increase if you use these strategies carefully. Practice these card counting tricks at an online casino to become an expert at blackjack.