It is a game that is known by millions if people all over the world simply as blackjack, and by many others as twenty-one. Regardless of what name is used to describe this most fascinating of all card games, the object is pretty much as it was described in the title of the revolutionary book written by Edward O. Thorp in 1963 called "Beat the Dealer!"
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Playing blackjack usually involves a single deck of cards, although two, four, six and eight decks of cards can also be used. Some online casino blackjack games even use continuous shuffling machines in order to make the shuffling and dealing process much easier.
The main difference with regard to the number of decks used in the blackjack game is that single and double deck blackjack games involve the dealer holding the cards and dealing them out by hand. In multi-deck blackjack games on the other hand, cards are dealt out to the players by way of a "shoe", which is simply a tray like box. In recent years, the "shoe" concept has been incorporated into continuous shufflers allowing the shuffling and holding of the cards with one device.
Another difference is that the dealer in hand held blackjack games typically hand out the cards face down, allowing the player to pick up his cards. In a shoe game on the other hand, cards are dealt face up to each player and touching of the cards is not allowed, although the blackjack rules for either game is pretty much identical.
As we mentioned earlier, the primary objective in blackjack is simply to beat the dealer. What this means is that the total of your cards should come up higher than the dealer's without going over 21. If either of the playerís or the dealerís hand goes over 21, this will constitute a "bust", and the player holding that hand loses. It is important to remember however that the playerís hand takes precedence over the dealerís. If the player busts, he loses that hand whether the dealer busts or not.
Card Values In Blackjack
In blackjack, the suits of the cards have no bearing on the game at all. This means that the cards from 2 to 10 are taken at face value without the suit even coming into play. All face cards on the other hand have a value equal to ten. Aces can either count as one or eleven. What this means is that a jack and a 6 would total 16. An ace and a six on the other hand can either total 7 or 17, depending on the assigned value of the ace.
Any blackjack hand that does not include an ace is called a Hard Hand. The reason for this is that it only has one value. A hand that does contain an ace is called a Soft Hand. In this type of blackjack hand, the value obviously can change. A soft hand can become a hard hand however when the total of the three cards results in a number where counting the ace as an eleven makes it total more than 21.