By: Adel Awwad

The origin of Blackjack is somewhat unclear. Some people believe that Blackjack originated in French casinos in the early 1700s where it was known as “vingt-et-un” (“20 and 1”).

The game became known as Blackjack because if a player held a Jack of Spades and an Ace of Spades as the 1st two cards, the player was paid out extra. So with a Jack being a vital card and Spades being black, the game was called Blackjack.

This game has been played in the United States since the 1800’s. However, between the 1850’s and 1910, gambling was legal in the United States until Nevada made it a felony to gamble. In 1931, Casino gambling was re-legalized in Nevada where Blackjack became one of the main games offered to gamblers.

The objective of Blackjack is get as close to 21 points as possible without going over 21 (bust). While numbered cards are worth their face values, face cards (Jack, Queen and King cards) are worth 10 each and the Ace card can be worth either 1 or 11.

The person (player or dealer) whose total card value reaches as close to 21 as possible without exceeding 21 (bust) wins the game. A tie (push) results if both the player and the dealer get equal card values.

The game is played in the following steps:

(1) The player places a bet.

(2) The dealer deals two cards (usually facing upwards) to the player and one card to himself/herself.

(3) The dealer draws a second card for himself/herself and places it face down.

(4) The player is then asked if he/she wants another card (hit) or if he/she wishes to stand.

(5) The player may request as many hits as he/she would like until the total value of his/her card reaches 21 or he/she busts.

(6) If the player busts, the house (casino) will win.

(7) If the player stops at a total card value that is as close to 21 without going bust, then the dealer will reveal the value of his/her second card.

(8) If the value of the dealer’s second card gives him a Blackjack (total value of 21), then the house (casino) will win. The dealer must keep drawing cards until the total value of his/her cards is 17 or more. If the dealer goes over 21, then the player will win. Whoever comes as close to 21 points as possible without going over 21 (bust) is the winner.

Blackjack is just as popular today as it was back in the 1800’s. It is by far the most played table game in a casino. This is mainly due to the fact that it is very easy to learn and play.

Adel Awwad is the webmaster of Free Casino Cash Guide Copyright © 2005 – Free Casino Cash Guide, All Rights Reserved. This document may be freely redistributed in its unedited form and on the condition that all copyright references are kept intact along with the hyperlinked URLs.

Blackjack Terms

Blackjack Terms


When you are ready to play Blackjack online, you should know some of the terminology you will see often in the game. Here is a basic glossary of Blackjack terms for you to start with.

-Bust: To go over 21 and lose the hand
-Double Down: To double the size of one’s initial bet before taking one more card.
-Draw: To obtain additional cards to the original two card hand.
-Early Surrender: Player may give up or surrender after receiving first two cards but before dealer checks for an Ace in the hole, and only half of bet is lost.
-Edge: A term used to describe the percentage of advantage either the casino or the player has on a certain game.
-Even Money: A bet which returns the same amount in winnings as was bet originally
-Expectation: What a player or the house can statistically expect to win or lose on a bet.
-Face Card: The face cards are the Jacks, Queens, and Kings. They all have a value of 10.
-Flat Betting: To wager the same amount of money on each bet
-Hard Total: The total of any hand not containing Aces or the total of a hand where the Ace is counted as 1.
-Hit: To take another card.
-Hole Card: Playing situation with a high-count value, very favorable to player.
-Insurance: If the dealer’s up card is an ace or ten as up card, he or she will call for insurance. When you place an insurance wager, you are betting that the dealer has Blackjack
-Late Surrender: A blackjack rule that allows the player to forfeit half of his bet after seeing the dealer’s up card, unless the dealer has a blackjack
-Multiple Deck: games in which more than one deck of cards is used
-Natural: When an Ace and a 10-value card are dealt as the first two cards totaling 21 in value. Also referred to as a Blackjack.
-No Double after Split: Casino rules that do not allow doubling when the player has split two cards
-Pat Hand: Any hand in blackjack that is a hard 17 or greater and would not require a hit
-Penetration: How far into the pack or shoe a dealer goes before shuffling
-Resplit: Splitting pairs after splitting a pair for the first time if the same card is dealt again.
-Resplit Aces: the unlimited ability to re-split aces. Most casinos place a limit on how many times a player can resplit aces.
-Soft Hand: A hand that contains an Ace that is counted as 11. For example, an Ace-9 that is counted as twenty is soft. If it is later counted as a ten, it becomes a hard hand.
-Stand: The decision not to draw any further cards, or not to hit any more.
-Stiff Hand: Any hand that could bust if the player draws. Stiff hands are hard totals of 12 through 16 in value.
-Surrender: Surrender is the only option of not playing a hand after receiving your first two cards. When you surrender, the dealer will take your cards and you will only lose one half of your bet.
-Up Card: The dealer’s first dealt card, placed face up.