Blackjack, a favorite game for centuries, is sometimes known as “21,” from its French origin of Vingt – et -Un. Although its history goes back as far as the 1700’s, along with roulette, it wasn’t until the colonists brought it to America in the 1800’s that it became one of the world’s most popular games. Gambling was legalized in Nevada in 1930 and the casinos coined the term blackjack by adding the incentive of 10 to 1 odds for winning with the Ace of Spades and a black Jack. Today, these odds are seldom offered and the cards can simply total 21 with an Ace and a face card; however, the tradition of a real or true blackjack remains.
Blackjack gained even further attention when various theories and books were published on strategies and tips toward winning this exciting game. “The Optimum Strategy in Blackjack,” by Roger Baldwin, delved deeply into probability, statistics, and mathematical compilations. Edward Thorpe, the “Einstein of Blackjack,” went on to write of card counting in his book “Beat the Dealer.” Other contributors to learning the game of blackjack included Stanford Wong, whose book is still considered a valuable handbook on “Professional Blackjack.” The movie “Rain Man” further enhanced the widespread appeal of blackjack, as well as other books such as “How to Gamble at the Casinos without Getting Plucked Like a Chicken,” written by James Harrison Ford, great fun for beginners to read.
The basic concept of blackjack is to get a total of 21, or to beat the dealer, without going over 21. There are a number of websites that offer free information to beginning players, as well as online casinos where you can follow tutorials before playing with real money, if you like. Blackjack is not a difficult game, and although some players continue to rely on the more complicated strategies, these practices are not welcomed in casinos. Far better to just enjoy the game in its relative simplicity than to try and predict how the cards will fall and face the possibility of being asked to leave. Casinos have devised various methods such as card shuffling machines, card burning, and multiple decks to discourage card counting and other techniques.
Although the odds of winning at blackjack vary from casino to casino, there is always a good chance of winning. All it takes is a moderate amount of skill and understanding of hit or stand, and with a bit of luck, the profits can be real. Whether you play a few hands at home with family or friends, go online, or experience the live excitement of the casinos, blackjack is really a great game.
By Fawzia Awwad
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