Blackjack, also commonly referred to as Twenty-One, is one of the most popular casino card games. Its popularity is attributed to the fact that the results of the game are not entirely up to luck, but are directly influenced by the choices the player makes. This has led to the development of various systems of beating the odds of the game, such as counting cards, but even these cannot guarantee a win.
The basic idea of the game is to hold a hand that is closest in numeric value to 21, without going over 21 (which is called busting or going bust), and closest to or higher than the hand of the dealer. Even though there may be other players in the game, your hand is only played against that of the dealer.
Blackjack follows very strict rules, and it is not only about getting 21, but also about how you get 21. These rules, and the ways the player can influence the outcome of the game, make blackjack one of the most complicated casino games. For this reason, playing free online blackjack games offers players the perfect chance to practice.
The Rules of the Game
There are a certain number of basic rules and terms of any blackjack game.
In blackjack, the suit of the cards does not matter. The only thing of importance is the value of the cards. Cards 2 through 10 are taken at face value, while the Jack, Queen, and King are valued at 10. The Aces can be valued at 1 or 11, making them instrumental in the player’s decisions throughout the game. After bets are made and placed on the table, a deal is handed out, and each player and the dealer are dealt two cards. The dealer’s cards are always placed one face down and one face up, while the player’s cards can be either face down, face up, or one card face down and one face up, depending on the house rules.
The score a player has is the total of all cards in a player’s hand. If the hand has a value of 21 or under and ties with the dealer, this is called a push or a stand off. The player’s wager is simply returned and the hand ended. If the first two cards dealt to the player equal 21, then this is called getting a blackjack. After the first two cards are dealt, the player must decide if he wants another card, which is called a hit, or if he does not want another card, which is called a stand. These decisions affect the outcome of the game.
Other important rules are the ones of doubling down, splitting pairs, and insurance. After the first two cards are dealt but before the player takes another hit, he can decide to double the bet and only take one more card face up. This is called doubling down. When the player is dealt a pair, he has the option of splitting the pair into two hands and playing both hands separately, which is the rule of splitting pairs. In insurance, if the dealer has an ace facing up, the player can decide whether he wants insurance against the dealer having a blackjack. This is usually 50% of the original bet.
Playing for Free
As mentioned, these rules are generally quite strict and becoming good at the game requires practice. Most online casinos offer free blackjack games, where no download is required, allowing players to become acquainted with the game before moving on to real money bets.