11 Surprising Facts About Blackjack That You Didn’t Know

By Jeremy Smith.

Interesting Blackjack Facts

Blackjack is one of the oldest and most popular card and casino games on the planet. It is straightforward to learn and understand but incredibly tricky to master. It is also one of the few card games where your decisions are almost as important as luck.

If you love blackjack or want to know more about all the blackjack variations, here are 11 facts about one of the most famous card games of all time.

Shuffling Cards

Origins

There are two theories surrounding the origins of the game. Some believe the Romans played a version of blackjack. However, they used wooden blocks with numbers painted on them instead of cards.

The more likely theory is that it began in the 1700s in France, with a game known as Vingt-et-Un, or 21. This game was also a variation on a more popular game at the time, Chermin de Fer.  For more information on the history of blackjack check out BlackjackHistory.com.

You Can Make a Living

Blackjack is one of the few card games where you can make an actual living. This is due to multiple reasons, such as solid betting and playing strategies, the house edge, and the odds of winning hands.

While it isn’t recommended unless you can afford to lose money, blackjack is one of the best games to play if you want to give yourself the best chance of winning money.

House Edge

The house edge, or the default advantage a casino will have in a game, is less than 1% in blackjack. Considering some games can have a house edge of up to 15%, it is no wonder why blackjack is so popular.

Card Counting

You can “count cards” in blackjack, a strategy that helps you figure out what cards are left in a deck and which card is most likely to be dealt next. Card counting is also reasonably easy to learn, and there have even been several movies about it.

Lot of Cards

The Point of the Game

Many believe the point of blackjack is to get 21 or as close to it as you can every single hand. While this is obviously part of it, you are playing against the dealer and therefore trying to beat them. While you want to get 21, your real goal should be beating the dealer.

Popularity

In almost every gambling country, blackjack is the most popular table game. It has better odds than roulette, it is easier to play and understand than Craps or Poker, and you don’t need much, if any, experience to be successful at it.

Best Blackjack Strategy

Considering how simple the game is, having a winning strategy is actually a bit harder than you might think. However, back in 1953, four soldiers sat down to play a few hands of poker and decided instead to play blackjack.

What set these soldiers apart was the fact they all held Master’s degrees in mathematics and set out to find out the optimal strategy for playing blackjack. They published their paper, “The Optimum Strategy for Blackjack,” two years later.

Chances of Dealer Bust

Surprisingly, there is a very high chance of the dealer going bust every single hand. Unlike most other games where the dealer will always have an advantage, the dealer loses (by going over 21) almost a third of the time in blackjack.

Cards in Hand

The Worst Hand

There is a “death hand” of sorts in blackjack. Much like how you don’t want to be dealt 7 and 2 in poker, you don’t want 16 in blackjack. This is because 16 is too high to “hit,” as the majority of the deck will bust your hand, but 16 is also often too low.

The Worst Play in Blackjack

Ignoring abnormal plays such as hitting a 19 or 20 or standing on Ace-Ace, the worst play is standing on 8,8 versus 7, rather than splitting them! You will lose about 70 cents on the dollar each time you make this play. If you stick to basic strategy you won’t have to worry about questions like this!

The Best Hands

The best hands are 21, 20, or 19 of course. However, there are a few hands that don’t look great on the surface but are some of the best to play. One hand to look out for is 11 because it puts you in quite a powerful position.

An 11 is a perfect hand to double down on because, best-case scenario, you get 21.   Other good hands include pairs, such as 9s, against a small dealer up-card.  Splitting hands is a relatively advanced strategy, but it is a very useful one if you want to improve your chances of winning.  The basic strategy of the game covers all these scenarios.

PHOTO CREDIT: Unsplash.com
PHOTO CREDIT: Unsplash.com
PHOTO CREDIT: Unsplash.com

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