Blackjack, also known as twenty-one, is one of the most popular casino card games in the world. Much of blackjack’s popularity is due to the mix of chance with elements of skill, and the publicity that surrounds card counting (keeping track of which cards have been played since the last shuffle). Blackjack’s precursor was vingt-et-un (“twenty-one”), which originated in French casinos around 1700, and did not offer the 3:2 bonus for a two-card 21.
When blackjack was first introduced in the United States it wasn’t very popular, so gambling houses tried offering various bonus payouts to get the players to the tables. One such bonus was a 10-to-1 payout if the player’s hand consisted of the ace of spades and a black Jack (either the Jack of clubs or the Jack of spades). This hand was called a “blackjack” and the name stuck even though the bonus payout was soon abolished.
Blackjack! The face cards (Jack, Queen, and King) count as 10 points, and the Ace counts as 1 or 11.
Spanish 21 provides players with many liberal blackjack rules, such as doubling down any number of cards (with the option to ‘rescue’, or surrender only one wager to the house), payout bonuses for five or more card 21’s, 6-7-8 21’s, 7-7-7 21’s, late surrender, and player blackjacks always winning and player 21’s always winning, at the cost of having no 10 cards in the deck (though there are jacks, queens, and kings). With correct basic strategy, a Spanish 21 game has a lower house edge than a comparable blackjack game. Another casino game similar to blackjack is Pontoon.
Certain rules changes are employed to create new variant games. These changes, while attracting the novice player, actually increase the house edge in these games. Double Exposure Blackjack is a variant in which the dealer’s cards are both face-up. This game increases house edge by paying even-money on blackjacks and players losing ties. Double Attack Blackjack has very liberal blackjack rules and the option of increasing one’s wager after seeing the dealer’s up card. This game is dealt from a Spanish shoe, and blackjacks only pay even money.
Chinese Blackjack is played by many in Asia, having no splitting of cards, but with other card combination regulations.
Beat the Dealer : A Winning Strategy for the Game of Twenty-One, Edward O. Thorp, 1966, ISBN 0394703103
Playing Blackjack as a Business, Lawrence Revere, 1998 (1971), ISBN 0-8184-0064-1
Professional Blackjack, Stanford Wong, 1994 (1975), ISBN 0935926216
The Theory of Blackjack, Peter Griffin, 1996 (1979), ISBN 0929712129
The World’s Greatest Blackjack Book, Lance Humble and Carl Cooper, 1980, ISBN 0-285-15382-1
Blackbelt in Blackjack, Arnold Snyder, 1998 (1980), ISBN 0910575053
Million Dollar Blackjack, Ken Uston, 1994 (1981), ISBN 0-89746-068-5
Ken Uston on Blackjack, Ken Uston, 1986, ISBN 0818404116
Knock-Out Blackjack, Olaf Vancura and Ken Fuchs, 1998, ISBN 0929712315
Mathematics of gambling
The Theory of Gambling and Statistical Logic, Richard A. Epstein, 1977, ISBN 012240761X, 215-251
Luck, Logic, and White Lies: The Mathematics of Games, Joerg Bewersdorff, 2004, ISBN 1568812108, 121-134
- Encyclopaedia of Casino Twenty-One
- Blackjack Mathematics
- Blackjack Stats
- Blackjack Forum
- Blackjack Online Gambling
- Interactive online calculator of probabilities and expectations for each possible card distribution in the shoe