The object of blackjack is simple – get your cards to add up to 21 (without going passed 21) before the dealer. You do this by “hitting” or “sitting” – either getting a new card or keeping the ones you have if you think the other players will go over 21 or will not get as close to it as you have.
Considering the standard 52-card deck that plays the face value of the 2-10 cards, “face cards” (Jack, Queen, and King) are valued at 10 and the ace is either either a one or eleven – but the ace automatically becomes a 1 if the t\al value of the cards drawn add up to over 21. In this game, suits do not matter.
The important stuff. A “Blackjack” is a hand that equals 21 in two cards – the best hand to get – a 10-valued card and an ace.
Before the Math: a Short Blackjack Wiki
Before we get into strategy and the art of blackjack math, there are a few more terms we need to discuss.
Once the dealer has set out the first cards, the player has several options:
- Hit – Get another card.
- Stand – Just keep the cards you have and take no more.
- Double Down – Your bet has now doubled in value and you will receive one more card only. Never double down on a 20.
- Split – If you have drawn a pair, you can split those cards into two separate hands. Remember, you always want to split aces and eights because aces have the helpful duality of valuing either 11 or 1 and two eights equals 16 which is one of the hardest hands to win off of.
- Surrender – In some casinos, you can throw the white flag on a hand before you get in too deep on a hand if you aren’t confident about it; if the dealer hasn’t looked at his cards, you can call an “Early Surrender.”
Dealers generally stand on a 17 unless it is a “Soft 17” e.g. Ace-6, Ace-Ace-5, or Ace-2-4. Dealers cannot split their hands in standard rules.If you sit in the “Third Base” position i.e. the last person who plays) you can see how everyone else is betting, and that will jog your memory to your strategies.
Blackjack Math vs. Luck
There is a certain amou
Gone are the days of old where casinos were simply smoke-filled dens crammed with gamblers hoping to win a small fortune with their last few dollars. Today’s modern casinos are entertainment hubs frequented by people from all walks of life. The gamblers are still there, of course, and so they should be, but there’s now an eclectic mix of individuals present.
Something else that is ever present in a casino is the relationships between gambling, socialising and the partaking in a few beverages. We’ve taken a look at the 15 most popular drinks people order at casinos – although we wouldn’t recommend ordering all fifteen in a single visit!
Remember to drink responsibly
Lovely, bubbly champagne! The sparkling wine from the Champagne region is synonymous with winning and celebrating so why not treat yourself to a glass or two after you win big. A word of warning: don’t spray the bottle around like at the end of a Formula 1 race while you’re in the casino, it doesn’t tend to go down well with fellow patrons or the casino management team.
Gin and Tonic
G&T was created in the 1700s by the British East India Company, who were serving in India. It was discovered that quinine could be used to prevent and treat malaria, although the bitter taste wasn’t to everyone’s liking. Officers began mixing it with water, sugar, lime and gin to mask the quinine taste.While tonic water today contains much less quinine, it’s still a pretty cool story and, therefore, makes our list.
For no other reason than its ridiculous name, and how you sound ordering one at the bar, we’ve included the Slippery Nipple. Sambuca and Irish Cream make up this shooter, which if poured properly sit in layers in the glass.
There are thousands of beers, lagers, and stouts available on the market today, so you’re sure to find one that you enjoy, but don’t enjoy it too much! Seek some craft beers out for something extra special, I can recommend Wells’ Banana Bread Beer!
No, this isn’t what you say when you’re discussing what someone’s grandma got up to, it’s a cocktail made up of Vodka, tomato juice, lemon juice, Worcester Sauce, and Tabasco. It may sound revolting, yet many swear it is a great Hair of the Dog cure if you’ve consumed too many drinks the night before.
What a list of popular casino drinks would be complete without the mention of a Martini, shaken not stirred. It is, after all, the drink of 007 James Bond and is made up of six parts gin and one part dry vermouth.
Some say the mojito is the perfect summer drink due to its refreshing nature. Made up of white rum (four parts), fresh lime juice (three parts), six leaves of mint, soda water, and two teaspoons of sugar. Go steady with this one because it tastes much like a soft drink so is very easy to have too many, which can be disastrous for your bankroll!
It may sound like a cheese and tomato pizza, yet it is not. Tequila (7 parts), Cointreau (4 parts) and lime juice (3 parts) go into this cocktail that has salt put around the rim of the glass. If you’re ever in Las Vegas, head to the Mexican Bar inside Bally’s for some $2 margaritas.
Jack and Coke
Jack Daniel and Coke is one of the most popular mixtures in the world today and was the favourite drink of the late Motorhead frontman, Lemmy, who had a hit single with Ace of Spades. Coincidence? We think not.
Probably not the best drink to enjoy while you’re trying to concentrate on gambling due to it usually being drank in shot form, plus casino operators don’t take kindly to having lemon and salt all over their tables. It can be an ingredient in a Tequila Sunrise or Tequila Slammer, and has been used to produce nanometer-sized synthetic diamonds – Google it if you don’t believe us.
Long Island Iced Tea
One of the stronger cocktails on our list is the Long Island Iced Tea, so you probably don’t want too many of them. It contains tequila, vodka, white rum, triple sec, gin, lemon juice, gomme syrup, and a dash of cola over ice. Perhaps this is one for when you’ve finished your gambling activities?
Contains no rust or nails. Instead, it is a mix of Scotch whiskey and Drambuie. Swap Scotch for Bourbon and you have a Rusty Bob, or use cold brew coffee instead of Scotch for a Railroad Spike. Donald Sutherland, the father of “24” star Kiefer Sutherland, uses Canadian rye whiskey instead of Scotch in his Rusty Nail.
Okay, it’s not the most glamourous of drinks to be seen with, but it’s always good to keep your water levels topped up, especially if you’re sampling some of the drinks coming up in this list! Despite being tasteless and odourless, water is vital to us humans and drinking it regularly while in the casino will help keep your concentration and energy levels higher.
Tea and Coffee
Another couple of non-alcoholic drinks to get your lips around are tea and coffee. Here in the UK, tea is the hot drink of choice (52% preferred it at the last count), with coffee in second-place (35%). They are also usually free in British casinos.Be careful with how much of either you consume because both contain caffeine, which can dehydrate you even in small quantities, and have some side-effects in larger quantities, including anxiety.
You usually find carbonated drinks are free in casinos throughout the UK, and it’s a good idea to help yourself to the occasional one. Be aware that some Cola products have a lot of caffeine in them, and that the non-diet versions of these drinks are often packed with sugar, although that may be what you need sometimes.nt of chance to Blackjack – especially since it can be played with up to 8 decks – but the major plan to employ when playing is Blackjack Math.
Now enter the odds and strategy
The first thing to know is you always want to stand on a hand that adds up to 17 or higher because it is a strong hand and the odds are against you drawing anything that won’t cause you to “bust” over 21.
The important stuff. Any hand valued at 11 or lower should automatically be hit as you won’t win or bust unless you hit it.
Beware of the dealer showing an ace, lest he gets a 10-valued card next draw. This is more likely than any other value because there are four cards with that value. Remember that the dealer has an advantage because he responds to your play.
Blackjack Probability Table
Since it’s the “middle” value cards that offer the most challenge, it is with these that you want to focus your attention. If you have 17 or higher, you’re golden, so if you have between 11 and 16, that’s the most unstable hand.
Understand that the House has a serious advantage, especially in a multideck shoot. Consider studying the art of counting cards – technically legal even if casinos don’t like it – and view it as a way to read the value of each hand. The hi-lo method is what they use in the movie “21” with Kevin Spacey.
if you are interested in their strategy without the Hollywood flair.
10-valued cards are high, and anything below 6 is a low card. Remember not to play too long in once sitting and set a limit on how much you are open to spending – consider it set in stone and leave when your time is up.
The Math Behind Blackjack ALWAYS Beats Luck
If you don’t believe it, check out this lecture by Steven Wu from the Carleton University Math Society.
It’s tempting to go over if you’re “feeling lucky” but it will just give the casino more of your hard earned money. Not only does playing too long wear down your attention span, but it also makes you draw attention to yourself and the casino will start encouraging you to drink and otherwise distract you, so you stop paying attention.
If you ARE counting cards, Vegas will find a way to discourage you from playing much longer – the ‘Eye in the Sky’ camera is always watching.
Remember that, once you learn the basics and understand the mechanics of the game, reading the dealer and developing your style is the way you will have a better shot. Casinos are there to make money, just like you, but they have the advantage. Know this and don’t be played by the flashy lights and cheap drinks.
Be calm, don’t have too much alcohol, and remember that the ace and ten-cards are the main cards that increase the dealer’s odds of beating you. You can have a lot of fun and win money if you pay attention.
Remember that this game will not change whether you have a “warm” or “cool” dealer or if your table is a specific color or position in the casino. If you understand math, particularly if you know statistics, you will have success at the 21 table.