The game of Blackjack is an absolute classic, which has not only withstood the test of time, but also become etched in folklore and even earnt a place in popular culture. Whether you choose to beat the dealer at a land-based establishment, or the casino online, you may not know too much about the game, its origins and all things weird and wonderful. Looking to impress your friends? Read on as we give you 7 random facts about the popular game, Blackjack.
Its origins are blurred
Unlike many of the other popular casino games out there, there is no real consensus on where and when Blackjack originated. Was it in the 1700s, with French casinos playing a game called Vingt-et-un, which translates as 21? Or the Spanish, who played a similar game called Trente-un (31), or even the Italian card game, Sette e Mezzo (seven and a half). Who knows…?
Blackjack or 21?
The game was more popularly known as 21 when it was brought to the United States by French colonists. The rules of this particular game were slightly different to the ones we know and love today. But the aim has always been to beat the dealer – either by getting a score closer to 21, or the dealer exceeding 21 points and going bust. We guess that’s where 21 came from, anyway.
The house edge is lower than other games
The important thing about Blackjack is decision making, and it takes a lot of practice and skill to know how to play each hand. If you learn to play Blackjack properly, the house edge will be less than 1% – which is incredible, when you compare it to other casino games. Roughly speaking, the best bets at the Craps table have a house edge of 1.41%, while Roulette is 2.7% for the European variant (and 5.26% for American Roulette). And Slots are even lower in the player’s favour, with house edge of anything up to 10%!
A natural isn’t as lucrative as it once was
If a player beats the dealer at a hand of Blackjack, their pay-out will be 1:1. Landing a natural Blackjack, or exactly 21 points, will usually see a pay-out of 3:2 – or occasionally, 6:5. But in its early stages, if a player scored a natural hand, consisting of the Ace of Spades and a Black Jack, they were rewarded with a return of 10:1.
Other players don’t impact your game
While you might be playing at a table – in person, or online – with other players, Blackjack is solely the player versus the dealer. This means, that the hands that other players have, and the moves they decide to make, have no bearing on your game. This debunks a popular myth that if the first player at the table makes a mistake, the odds will then change for subsequent players. It’s all about what you do.
16, unlucky for some!
Statistically speaking, 16 is the worst hand you can be dealt – unless you have a pair of 8s and split your hand. There’s the potential of there being plenty of 10-value cards and aces (which can total 11 points) in the deck – so of course, a score of 18 or 19 is more favourable than 16!
Never take insurance
If you’re new to Blackjack, you might consider insurance as somewhat of a comfort blanket. But it’s never worth taking. It’s a side-bet offered to players if the dealer’s up card is an Ace, with the insurance in place just in case their face-down card is a 10. Insurance pays out at 2:1 and the maximum bet is usually half of the player’s initial bet. Imagine playing a single deck game, and you’ve not been dealt a 10 value card. This means that 16 of the 49 remaining cards could have a value of 10. Still sound like an attractive proposition?