Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games. Its popularity stems from the judicious mix of luck and skill involved. The luck lies in the cards the player is dealt and the skill in deciding whether he should ask for additional cards.
In blackjack a number of players play against the dealer or the house and not against each other. The objective of the game is to get a hand value closer to twenty-one than the dealer without going over. For arriving at the hand value, the values of the individual cards are added up. Cards from two to ten have their face value. The picture cards are valued at ten. The ace can take the value of either one or eleven, whichever is more advantageous.
If the player wins, he is paid out at 1:1; if he loses he forfeits his wager and the bet is withdrawn in the event of a tie. A special hand known as blackjack pays out 3:2. A blackjack is a two-card hand consisting of an ace and a card valued at ten (ten, jack, queen or king), totaling to twenty-one. A blackjack may have neither a black card nor a jack.
Blackjack is usually played in casinos at specially designed tables. The tables are semi-circular in shape and set the players along the circular edge. Places are marked on the table top for placing the chips, placing the bets and placing the cards. The dealer stands at the center of the straight edge. The location for the card shoe, the bank’s chips and the dealer’s cards are also marked. Casino blackjack is a formal affair with the playing etiquette as important as the playing rules. There is a prescribe manner in which to place the bets and to signal whether you want to stand or hit.
Online blackjack is played in a much more relaxed environment, because it is usually played from home. All one needs is a computer and an Internet connection. In online blackjack one can play at multi-player tables, which simulate casino conditions somewhat or alone with the dealer, which is a much faster paced game.
Blackjack tournaments are the only form of blackjack in which players compete with each other. The players play against the dealer, but the player who wins more is the winner of the tournament.