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History of Blackjack

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Blackjack, also known as “21”, is the most commonly-played casino game in the world.The first known form of blackjack, as illustrated on gambling.com, was found in Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes’s short story “Rinconete y Cortadillo” early in the 17th Century. The game was called “ventiuna” (Spanish for twenty-one) and was played with the Spanish baraja deck, which had no eights, nines, or tens.


Today, blackjack is played with one or more standard French decks of 52 cards. Each player plays their hand against the dealer’s, not the other players. The goal of the game is to have your hand total as close to 21 without going over, with each of the cards representing a different value. Cards 2 through 10 have values equal to their number, face cards (i.e. kings, queens, and jacks) equal 10, and an ace can be either 1 or 11, whichever the player chooses. The dealer starts by dealing every player 2 cards(typically face up), then deals himself two cards, one face up and one face down. The players have the option of receiving additional cards in an attempt to reach (but not exceed) 21. If the player’s hand goes over 21, it is considered a “bust” and that player automatically loses. If the player’s hand is higher than the dealers (but not over 21), that player wins the amount equal to his or her bet. However, a “blackjack” (hand of an ace and a card with a value of 10) is normally paid at one and a half times the wager. If the players hand equals the dealer’s hand, it is considered a “push” and neither side wins. If the dealer busts, all of the remaining hands win.

Game decisions and terms

Hit – receive another card from the dealer

Stand (or stay) – take no more cards

Double down – a player can increase their bet by 100% but can only receive one more card

Split – if a player’s initial hand is two of the same card, the player can “split” them into 2 hands by placing another bet of the same amount and then plays each of the hands separately

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