How To Play Blackjack
Remember Sean Connery as James Bond, sitting at the Royal Casino at a green velvet table with two cards in hand, a cigar in his mouth, and the ever-present Martini, “shaken, not stirred,” at his side? Well, what you were wearing was nothing more and nothing less than baccarat game, Mr. Bond’s favorite card game, the license to kill, a secret agent for the British intelligence service.
The first mention of Baccarat dates from the early 15th century, under the reign of King Charles VIII, it has traveled from Italy to France. The name “Baccarat” comes directly from the Italian word “baccarat,” which means Zero. For the next few centuries, Baccarat was the game typically played by the French nobility, the nation symbolized by the Gallic rooster.
It was not until the 19th century that the game spread to Great Britain and the United States through South America. Baccarat quickly took root in local casinos, especially among players waiting to make more substantial bets. It still maintains a certain cache and elegance with its rituals linking it to the romantic myth of its past, making the live version of the game still very attractive to those of a higher social class.
The game runs at a slow pace, in an atmosphere where players feel completely immersed in the game experience. It is not unusual to witness, in Las Vegas or Macau lounge, a Baccarat game taking place at several million dollars per hand played. Due to the development of the internet, the game has become increasingly popular in online casinos, but in a more accessible version and for players to bet with considerably lower budgets.
In each round of blackjack, the dealer deals one card (uncovered) or two cards (one deck and one uncovered) to each player, depending on the type of game. The player can then ask for another card or stand. If the dealer’s uncovered card is worth 10 points and upon completion of his hand it is worth 21, the player loses, unless he has also added 21. In the event of a tie, the player recovers the amount of his bet.
This is an additional bet that the player wins if the dealer ends up having a blackjack. In this case, the player wins the “insurance” bet, which is paid at 3: 2 but loses the original bet. Mathematically, insurance is usually more profitable for the casino; therefore, it is never used with the basic strategy.
If the player receives a pair (for example, two 10s), he can split the hand and play two combinations. The player will receive two new cards, one for each hand, to have two combinations of two cards.
In case the sum of the player’s cards amounts to 9, 10, or 11, the player has the option to double his bet in exchange for receiving a single more card. This action is known as “folding.” Doubling the bet is another variable that depends on the specific rules of each game; in some cases, for example, folding is not allowed after splitting a hand.
If the game allows, a rule used with the basic strategy is “surrender.” The player can avail himself of this option when he receives the first cards. If the player surrenders, he recovers half the amount wagered. Surrender is the best option when the player’s cards add up to 16, and the dealer’s uncovered card is an Ace, a nine or a card that is worth 10.