Blackjack is an exciting mixture of skill and chance and you can test your blackjack skills on one of three tables in the Fitzwilliam Card Club. While the origins of the game are disputed, many agree that blackjack originated in French casinos in the early 1700s where it was called vingt-et-un (twenty one). The game exploded in popularity from the 1930’s onwards when gambling was made legal in Nevada and the city of Las Vegas was born. Blackjack is now the most widely played casino game in the world.
How to play Blackjack
The objective of blackjack is simple – your aim is to beat the Dealer’s hand by attempting to get as close to 21 as possible without going over.
To play, place your cash on the table and ask the dealer for change (cash chips) then decide how much you wish to bet by placing your chips in the box. The Dealer will deal two cards to you (and any other player on the table) and one to themselves.
All cards are dealt face up.Picture cards have a value of 10, Aces are valued as 1 or 11.
The Dealer will offer you the option of taking additional cards – to accept extra cards, either tap the table or say “card please”. To refuse extra cards, say “stay”, “stick” or “no cards”.
Once you have decided to stop taking additional cards, the Dealer begins to add cards to their own hand. The Dealer must draw a card if their total is less than 17 and stop once they reach 17 or more. Over 21 (bust or ‘too many’) and your hand wins if it is still live.
If your total is higher than the Dealers or the Dealer has bust, then your bet is paid at even odds. If your total is lower then you lose your bet and if equal then you get your money back.
A “Blackjack” is a two card hand consisting of a picture card (that includes 10s) and an Ace – this hand will pay you odds of 3 to 2 (€15 for €10).
The Dealer will shuffle a total of 6 decks of cards and will ask you or another player to cut the cards before placing them in a “shoe” for dealing. You may play more than one hand at a time.
Double your bet: You can double your original bet on any of your first two cards. You can also double your original bet by splitting your hand if the first two cards you are dealt is a pair. However, if you split Aces, the Dealer may only add one card to each of your hands – if that card is a ten or a picture card, it counts as 21 (not Blackjack).
Surrender rule: when you are dealt the first two cards you can surrender half your bet and your hand is considered dead. If the dealer has dealt an Ace, you cannot surrender.
Sevens: If you get dealt 3 sevens, you automatically get paid 2-1 odds, regardless of the Dealers hand.
7 Card Rule: If you get dealt a total of 7 cards without going bust, you automatically get paid 2-1 odds, regardless of the Dealers hand.
Dealers Ace: If the Dealer’s card is an Ace, you are offered the option of taking “Insurance” before the Dealer deals himself another card. This is a side bet of half your original bet placed on the section of the table marked “Insurance Pays 2 to 1“. The insurance bet pays 2-to-1 if the Dealer has a Blackjack. However, the insurance bet is lost if the Dealer does not have Blackjack, although you can still win or lose on your original bet.
Bet Behind: you can bet behind another player, however, you have no say on any decision being made by the player in control (only 3 players can bet on one box).