From ArticleWorld

Blackjack, also known as pontoon in British English, and as twenty-one, is one of the most popular card games in the world. A mixture of chance and skill gives it mass appeal.


The precursor to blackjack was a French game called ‘’vingt-et-un’’ (twenty-one). This original version did not offer the bonus payouts we see today. When first introduced in the United States, twenty-one was not all that popular. In an attempt to get players to the twenty-one tables, gambling houses began to offer bonus payouts. One example of this strategy led to the game going by the name we now use, blackjack. The old gambling houses offered a 10-1 payout on any players’ hand that consisted of the ace of spades and either the jack of clubs, or the jack of spades. The hand was called blackjack, and the game took on the name as its popularity grew.

Basic rules

The hand with the highest total points, not exceeding twenty-one, wins. Going over twenty-one is called busting. Aces are worth eleven points, face cards are worth ten points, and the cards two through ten are worth their face value. Each player is playing individually against the dealer, in hopes of having a higher, unbusted hand. If the player busts, he loses, even if the dealer also busts. However, if they end with the same point total, this is called a push and no one wins.

There is usually a minimum and a maximum bet on blackjack tables, in the casinos. They will vary from casino to casino, as well as from table to table.

Play proceeds as follows:

  • Each player, including the dealer is dealt two cards. The players cards are dealt face down, while the dealers cards are one up and one down.
  • If the dealer has blackjack and the player doesn't, the player automatically loses.
  • If the player has blackjack and the dealer doesn't, the player automatically wins.
  • If both the player and dealer have blackjack then it's a push, and no one wins.
  • If neither side has blackjack, then each player plays out his hand, one at a time.

The player has several options, when playing their hand.

  • Hit: The player takes another card.
  • Stand: The player chooses not to take any more cards.
  • Double down: The players double their wager, takes just one more card, and then must stand.
  • Split: The player doubles the wager and splits their hand into two separate hands. Each card becomes the first card in a new hand. This option is available only when both cards have the same value.
  • When all the players have finished, the dealer plays his hand.