The blackjack rules are:

  1. The croupier deals two cards to the players and two cards to himself (1 card face up, the other face down).
  2. Blackjack Card Values: All cards in blackjack are counted at their face value: face cards = 10, the ace as either 1 or 11. The suit of the cards has no meaning in blackjack. The total of a hand is the sum of the card values ​​in the hand.
  3. Players must decide whether they want to  stand (stand),  hit (hit),  surrender (surrender),  double down (double down), or split (split).
  4. The croupier acts last and must hit on 16 or less and stand on 17 through 21.
  5. Players win when their blackjack hand is higher than the dealer’s, or they have 21 or less,  or when the dealer busts, ie. H. if he is over 21.

Warm welcome!

You are reading this guide because you either want to learn how to play blackjack or how to win at blackjack.

You’ve come to the right place, because I’ve been working on this guide for 50 years. I’ve been playing, studying, writing and teaching blackjack for just as long. I’ll tell you everything I’ve learned about this fascinating game. Are you ready? Good, then let’s get started.


In this first chapter you will learn about:

The history of blackjack, specifically its roots, how “21” became “blackjack” and who were the pioneers who first developed basic blackjack game strategies. What makes blackjack “different” from other games in the casino and how we can take advantage of that difference; why the casino always has an advantage over a player and what we can do about it.

Before you start learning how to play blackjack , you must first (figuratively speaking) familiarize yourself with the terrain and learn the rules of blackjack – specifically, the basic rules, the object of the game, and a few rules of conduct that should be followed while playing.


I often shake my head in disgust when I pick up a brochure in a casino called How to Play Blackjack. They all agree that the aim of the game is to get as close to 21 points as possible. Not correct!

The aim of blackjack is: to beat the dealer’s hand in one of the following ways:

1) have a total greater than the dealer’s total
2) have no more than 21 if the dealer has over 21.


Each card in Blackjack is of the value shown. Face cards count as 10 and the ace counts as either 1 or 11. Suits have no meaning in blackjack. The total of a hand is the sum of the card values ​​of the hand. A hand of 4-5-8 is 17. Another hand with a queen and 5 is 15. The ace is always assumed to count as 11 unless that would make the hand total 21. In this case,

the ace gets the value of 1 again.


When a player’s or dealer’s hand totals more than 21, it’s called busting. (Sometimes the term “break” is used when the dealer’s hand exceeds 21.) If a player was dealt 10-6, drew another card that was a 9, then the player busted (because their hand totaled 25).


Hard hand is a hand that either does not contain an ace or if it does contain an ace, it is counted as 1. Example: 10-8 is a Hart (hard) 18; 5-A-10-2 is a hard 18. A hand that includes an ace counted as 11 is always considered a soft hand. Example: A-5 is a soft 16; A-2-5 is a soft 18; and 3-2-A-3 is a soft 19. If your first two cards contain an ace, count the ace as 11. When you’re dealt a soft hand and draw more cards, your soft hand often becomes a hard (hard) hand. Suppose a player is dealt a 5-A, which is a soft 16, and draws another card. Suppose the card drawn was a 6. The player now has a hard 12 (meaning you can never bust if you draw another card on a soft hand). You need to know the difference between a hard and soft hand in blackjack because the game strategy is often very different even if the total of the hand is the same. For example, 10-6 (hard 16) is played differently than A-5 (soft 16).


Blackjack is played at a semi-circular table covered with felt cloth and usually seats up to 7 players. In front of each player is a circle, sometimes also a square area, called the betting area, in which the wager of casino chips is placed. A trained casino dealer deals the cards strictly according to casino protocol, collects losing bets, pays out winning bets, and is usually responsible for keeping the game going at a comfortable pace.

Cash is not used for wagering at most casinos. You must use casino chips or “cheques”. To buy chips, simply sit down at a blackjack table, wait for the dealer to complete the current hand, place your money on the table, and ask the dealer for chips. The dealer will exchange your money for chips and push the chips towards you. Be sure to place the chips neatly stacked in front of you. Most casinos allow players to play more than one hand in a round provided there are empty seats at the table. In this case, the player must place a bet in each bet field for which he wishes to get a hand. In most casinos, a player must wager twice the minimum bet for each hand when playing more than one hand.


In most casinos, chips are color-coded according to their denomination, although the denomination is usually also stamped on the chip. For example, a white chip typically represents $1, red represents $5, green represents $25, black represents $100, purple represents $500, and orange represents $1,000.

In casino parlance, a red $5 chip is often referred to as a “nickel” (in imitation of a 5-cent coin), a green $25 chip as a “quarter” (25-cent coin), a black $100- chip labeled “Blacks,” a $500 purple chip labeled “Barneys” (upscale department store chain in New York), and a $1,000 orange chip labeled “Pumpkin.”


The minimum and maximum betting limits are usually posted at each table. For example, if a table has a minimum bet of $25, betting a red chip ($5) is not allowed. Your minimum bet must be $25. Therefore, check the betting limits at the table before you sit down to a game.

Before the cards are dealt, all players must make a bet by placing chips (chips) in their respective betting area. Each player and the dealer receive two cards. One of the dealer’s cards (referred to as the “dealer upcard”) is always face up so players can see its value. The other dealer card, called the “dealer down card” or “hole card” is face down. The two player cards can be dealt either face up or face down.

In games dealt by a deck (usually 4, 6, or 8 decks), player cards are usually dealt face up. In this case, you must not touch the cards. In games where the dealer deals cards to players by hand (single or double deck games), both player cards are usually dealt face down. In these games, the player is only allowed to touch the cards with one hand and the cards must remain on the table at all times.

The player must make a game decision after looking at his first two cards and seeing the value of one of the two dealer cards.



That is, you are happy with the total in your hand and want to stick with the cards you have (hold them). In slot games, indicate that you wish to stand (stand) by waving your hand, palm down, over the cards in negative. In hand games you place your cards under the chips in the betting area.


That means you want the dealer to give you another card. In slot games, you indicate to the dealer that you want to hit a card by making a finger sign or by touching the table behind your cards with your finger. In a hand game, lightly scratch the felt with the edge of the cards.


If you have two cards of the same kind (a pair, e.g. two 6s or two aces), you can split them. If you wish to split you must place another bet equal to your original bet. To do this, simply place your chip next to the chip that you originally bet on your hand. When you split a pair, you play each card as a separate hand. You may draw as many cards as you like for each hand. This does not apply to split aces (split aces); in most casinos you can only draw one card for each ace. For example, if you were dealt and split a pair of 8s, you now have two hands with a value of 8 each. You must first complete one of the split hands (right) and only then the other. In slot games, indicate that you wish to share by placing another chip next to the original chip. In hand games, you toss the two cards to be split face up on the table and then place the second bet. Most casinos allow players to split any 10-value card, such as Jack-10 or Queen-10, although this playing strategy is not recommended, as will be discussed soon in the will learn pair splitting.


This game option allows you to double your first bet in exchange for one (and only one) additional card. In most casinos you can only double down after receiving the first two cards and before drawing another card. To show the dealer that you want to double down, simply place your chip next to the chip you originally bet on your hand. In hand games you throw your cards face up on the table and place the second bet.

While casinos allow you to double down with a smaller bet than your original bet, you will learn that this is not a good betting strategy .


This game option is sometimes allowed. This allows a player to immediately concede their hand and automatically lose half of their original bet. In most casinos, players are only allowed to surrender their first two cards after the dealer has looked at his cards and announced that he has no blackjack (referred to as “Late Surrender”). Once a player has drawn a card, the option to surrender is no longer available to him. If the dealer has a blackjack hand, surrender is no longer possible.

If you want to surrender your hand, simply say “Surrender” or “Resign” to the dealer. In some casinos, a hand signal must be given for the surrender by drawing an imaginary line from left to right across the table with your finger. When a player folds their hand, the dealer removes the player’s cards from the table and places one-half of the player’s bet in the chip holder. The player no longer participates in this round. Sometimes a different type of assignment called an early surrender is offered. In this case, players can fold their hand before the dealer has checked their hole card for blackjack. Early surrender is a cheaper option for the player than late surrender.


If the dealer’s card (dealer upcard) is an ace, players are asked if they want to take insurance . This is a side bet in which players bet that the dealer’s hole card will have a value of ten. Players’ insurance bet may be less than or equal to half the original bet placed on the hand. To place an insurance bet, simply place your chips on the insurance line located directly above the betting area. You win your insurance bet if the dealer has a ten-value card in the hole. In the event of a win, the insurance bet is paid out at odds of 2:1.


If the player has a blackjack hand and the dealer shows an ace, the dealer will ask the player if they want even money. Even money means that the dealer automatically makes a 1:1 payment for the bet before checking the hidden card for a possible blackjack. Even money gives you the same outcome as an insurance bet placed on your blackjack hand.


Unlike players, in blackjack the dealer has no playing options. Blackjack rules state that the dealer must hit if his hand totals less than 17 and stand if his hand totals 17-21. Some casinos require dealers to stand on soft 17, while others require them to hit. It is better for the player if the dealer, according to the rules , is not allowed to take any more cards on a soft 17 , i.e. has to stand.


The player automatically loses if their hand totals more than 21. If the player’s non-busted hand exceeds the dealer’s hand total, the player’s hand wins and is paid out at odds of 1:1. If the player and dealer have the same total, it is a tie (tie or push) and the player keeps their bet. A player’s blackjack hand that is not an untied hand is also known as a “natural” and pays out at 3:2.

Beginners are strongly recommended  to read the next chapter for blackjack game etiquette tips.


The casino game of blackjack has its own procedures, codes of conduct and game strategies. The procedures are vital to the safety and integrity of the game. The rules of conduct include playing etiquette so you don’t incur the wrath of your fellow players or the dealer. Below is a list of the most common faux pas made by beginners so that you can avoid them.


All cash transactions must be visible to the surveillance cameras. Therefore, always place your cash on the table outside of your betting area and then tell the dealer what denomination you want to buy chips in.


In games where the cards are dealt face down (usually single or double deck games), you may only touch them with one hand and not two hands.


When four or more decks of cards are used, they are usually dealt face up to each player by a deck. There are two reasons why the cards are dealt face up. First, it eliminates the possibility of players cheating by marking or swapping cards, and second, it speeds up play because the dealer can quickly announce the total of each player’s hand. There’s no reason to touch the cards. So don’t do it.


The cards in your hand must always be clearly visible to the dealer and security cameras. Therefore, you should never hold them in your lap or below table height.


Purses, wallets, bags and other items should be carried on you or placed near you. This does not apply to women’s handbags, which should be held on their laps. You are allowed to enjoy a drink at the table, but use the cup holders provided by the casino to avoid spilling anything on the table.


Your original bet must remain untouched on the table until it either wins, loses or a tie occurs. When the dealer begins dealing the cards, this is a cue for you not to touch the chips until the hand is complete.


Saying “take a card!” might be appropriate when playing blackjack with friends at the kitchen table, but it’s not appropriate in casinos. For security reasons, you must always show the dealer how you want to play your hand with a hand signal rather than words. In many casinos, a camera is used as the “Eye of God” to capture players’ hand gestures for security reasons. If your hand gestures do not match your words, this may be considered dubious or deliberately misleading, so you should always use hand signals instead of words.


When betting with two or more differently denominated chips, always place the chip with the higher denomination at the bottom of the stack.


You are not the cause of your losing. It’s probably just a bunch of bad cards. And that happens to all blackjack players.


In some casinos this is prohibited and there will be a sign saying something like “No boarding while a slide is being played”. If there’s no sign, it’s good manners to ask fellow players if they mind if you get in. The reason for this is that most players have the superstition that if a new player joins in while a shoe is being played, they will change the course of the cards in future hands and lose them as a result.


It’s their money and they can play their hand however they want. However, if a fellow player asks you for advice, you may advise him.


If you are a smoker, as a courtesy to your fellow players (and the dealer), do not blow the smoke at them. Sometimes casinos have non-smoking tables. Make sure you are allowed to smoke before lighting a cigarette.

Now you know the blackjack rules and table etiquette. Now let’s answer the question: “There are so many casino games . Why play blackjack?”


This question is important because there is a wide variety of table games in land based and online casinos. So why play blackjack? Blackjack advantages in a nutshell:
  • It is mathematically different from other casino games.
  • Because of the favorable mathematical conditions, it is a much better game for the player.


Let me make a comparison with American roulette briefly explain why blackjack is “mathematically different”. A typical American roulette wheel has 38 numbers – 1 through 36 plus 0 and 00. Suppose you bet on your lucky number 7. Mathematically, you have a 1 in 38 chance that the roulette ball will land on the 7. The odds of winning remain constant and do not change, regardless of the results of previous attempts. The roulette ball has no memory, if you will. Mathematicians will say that roulette is a game of “independent trials” because the outcome of a spin is independent of previous spins. It is also a feature of all “independent trials” casino games that, mathematically speaking, assuming honest play:

  • There are no gaming or wagering systems that can eliminate the casino advantage.
  • For the player, the expectation is always negative (in the long run, he will lose more money than he will win).

The same goes for many other casino games; namely they are based on “independent trials” and therefore no profit is possible in the long run. But blackjack gives players a glimmer of hope. Blackjack is a game of interdependent trials where winning is possible. Let me explain with another example.


Suppose you were seated at a table where a single-deck game was being played and you waited until the dealer had finished shuffling the cards to place your bet. What is the probability of you being dealt a blackjack (two cards consisting of an ace and a ten-value card)? Mathematically, you have a 1 in 21 chance of getting a blackjack. Now let’s say you noticed that four aces were dealt in the first round of the game. What chance do you have of getting blackjack at the start of the second round? Exactly zero, because there are no aces left among the unplayed cards. They were all played in the previous round. In other words, your odds of getting a special hand depend on which cards were played in the previous rounds. However, this means that blackjack is a game of interdependent tries.


As you will learn in the following chapters, the cards played previously have a major impact on your chances of winning the next round. Given this fact, it seems logical that knowing the composition of the cards in previous games could alter one’s bets and/or strategy in order to maximize one’s chances of winning the most money in the next round. This concept may seem complicated now, but it will become clearer in the following chapters. For now, just remember these facts about blackjack:

  • It is a game of skill and not just a game of chance.
  • Certain playing and betting techniques can turn the odds in your favor. This is not possible with any other casino game.


  • By learning a simple game strategy, you can reduce the house edge to less than 1%.
  • By learning a specific betting technique based on the composition of the cards already played, one can gain a mathematical advantage over the casino.

Yes, you read it right. By learning how to play a hand and how much to bet on each hand, you can reduce the house edge to near zero or even give yourself a slight edge.



Let’s say you’re playing blackjack, you bet $10, the dealer gives you 10-7 and his up card is a 7. You stand on 17 and the dealer’s hole card is a queen, giving him a 17. Your 17 is tied with his 17 – this is called a “push” in blackjack parlance. With a push, the bet is neither won nor lost. Let’s say you keep the $10 bet for the next hand. You get 9-6, draw another card and get a 7 for 22. Then the dealer has 22 points too. Once again, you both have the same total. But guess what? Unlike the previous push, when you both had 17s, this time you lose your bet because you busted (that is, your hand was greater than 21) before the dealer busted. This so-called “double bust” (double bust) makes up the house edge in blackjack. Players must draw first. If they then bust, they automatically lose, regardless of whether the dealer then busts in the same round. This is the casino’s only advantage in blackjack and all else being equal and the player “mimicking” the dealer’s rules of the game, the house edge in blackjack would be around 8%. (Both the dealer and the player would have about a 28.3% chance of busting if they played the same way; both hands would bust 0.283 times 0.283 ie about 8% of the time, making the dealer win would result.)


Luckily, not everything is created equal when it comes to blackjack. Players have certain advantages and opportunities that are not available to the dealer. This includes:

  • A 3:2 bonus payout on a blackjack, while the dealer only gets a 1:1 bonus payout if he wins a blackjack.
  • The possibility of doubling down the bet in favorable situations (e.g. getting an 11 with two cards) while the dealer cannot double down.
  • The ability to split pairs while the dealer is not allowed to split.
  • Players are allowed to stand on totals from 12 to 16, while the dealer must always draw a card on totals of 16 or less.


The bonus payout on a blackjack hand is of course quite a nice perk and the player doesn’t have to do anything to rake in that extra money. All he needs to do is be dealt a “natural” hand (a blackjack hand), which, as mentioned, only occurs about once in every 21 hands. This 3:2 bonus payout to the player takes about 2.3% off the original 8% house edge. This puts the house edge at 5.7%.


By knowing proper hit & stand game strategies , the player can take an additional 3.5% away from the house edge. This leaves a house edge of about 2.2%. Remember that unlike the dealer, players can always hit or stand at will. The dealer must always stand from 17-21 and always hit on 16 or less.


If you learn the right strategies for double down , you can cut the house edge by another 1.6%. And if you also know when to split pairs in a game, you can shave off an additional 0.4% of the house edge. This leaves a house edge of around 0.2% in a single deck game.


The table below shows you how to reduce the house edge at blackjack by learning and using the right playing strategies. (The percentages vary slightly depending on the number of decks and the rules of the game.)

I hope you realize the importance of proper standing, doubling and split strategies to achieve the goal of the lowest possible house edge. They will most often double down or split when the dealer has a small up card (2-6). The reason for this is that the dealer will bust about 40% of the time if he shows a small card. This increases your chances of winning when doubling or splitting your hand.


Below we explain an example of how much money you can save by learning the right game strategies.

Let’s say an active player plays blackjack about 500 hours a year at an average bet of $10. Let’s also assume that the player plays an average of 100 hands per hour. That means the player would place $500,000 worth of bets over the course of a year (100 hands per hour times 500 hours times $10 average bet). A player who mimics the dealer but gets 3:2 on a blackjack hand would be dealing with a 5.7% house edge and would lose 5.7% of the $500,000 total bet, i.e. $28,500 (this is his theoretical loss; he could lose more or less, but on average the player would lose $28,500 over the year). On the other hand, the basic strategist who knows the right standing/doubling/split strategies has depending on the playing conditions only to fight with a house edge of 0.2% to 0.5%. His theoretical losses are therefore only $1,000 to $2,500 – a huge savings. The basic strategy player wins over the “dealer impersonator” player at least $26,000 over the course of the year.


  • Play games with more favorable rules, especially games with only one or two decks of cards.
  • Take advantage of so-called “bonus points” (“comps” or “complimentaries”) and special casino promotions.
  • Learn the technique of card counting.

I’ll explain these strategies in the following chapters, but for now just remember this fact: The skillful gambler can virtually eliminate the casino advantage built in to the casino by the “double bust” rule.


Blackjack is the most popular casino card game in the world for several reasons:

  • It’s a simple game.
  • There is also a bit of skill involved.
  • The mystery of card counting makes it interesting while also being the key to success.

You might think that blackjack looks the same today as it did 70 years ago, but that’s not the case. Throughout the game’s long and turbulent history, there have been numerous minor – and some major – changes.


Blackjack’s origins are somewhat unclear. It is commonly believed that “vingt-et-un” (pronounced “van te a”, meaning 20 + 1, or simply 21) was the antecedent.

Around 1700 it appeared in French casinos. There are different rules for vingt-et-un than for blackjack as we know it. The aim of the game was to achieve a so-called “natural” with the cards that totaled 21; however, players wagered after (rather than before) they received their first cards. The dealer was able to double all players’ bets after looking at his first card. If the dealer also had a natural, players had to pay three times as much. Still, there are some striking similarities to modern blackjack forms; namely, the hand ranking system and the aspiration to reach 21.


Meanwhile, the Italians were playing a game called Seven-and-a-Half.


  • Uses only face cards (counted as half a point)
  • The 8, 9 and 10 (counts as one point)
  • The king of diamonds was a joker

The goal was a hand totaling 7.5 points. A player automatically lost if their hand was greater than 7.5 points. It is widely believed that the blackjack term “busted” was derived from this game.


Another game with similarities to blackjack was the Spanish game called One-and-Thirty. In the game, which was known in Spain and Ireland in the 15th to 17th centuries, players were dealt three cards. The goal was to get as close to 31 as possible with three cards of the same suit.


Vingt-et-un was very popular worldwide; however, the name of the game was soon changed: in England to “Van John” and in Australia to “Pontoon”.

It is widely believed that the game came to America around 1800, but initially it was not popular with casinos. Casinos changed the rules to attract more players to the game and started paying a 10:1 bonus when the first two cards were a Jack of Clubs or Spades together with an Ace of Clubs. As a result of this change, Americans called the game Blackjack.


Nevada legalized gambling in 1931 and blackjack spread to legal Las Vegas casinos. Casino owners didn’t understand much of the math behind the game, but they knew they could make a lot of money playing blackjack. They even made too much money due to a simple feature of the game: players played before the dealer, and once a player’s hand went over 21, the player automatically lost their bet regardless of what the dealer did afterwards. Casino directors cleverly recognized that the winnings were too high and therefore introduced player-friendly blackjack rules. This included the 3:2 payout on blackjack, as well as players’ options to double down and split pairs. The dealer, on the other hand, had no choice: he always had to hit on 16 or less and always stand from 17 to 21. This rule increased blackjack’s popularity, although the mathematics of the game remained a mystery as many casino owners felt the game was too complicated to analyze mathematically. However, this notion changed in 1956.


Roger Baldwin, Wilbert Cantey, Herbert Maisel and James McDermott are often referred to in literature as the “Four Horsemen of Aberdeen”. They developed the first reasonably accurate basic blackjack game strategy.

What was impressive about their achievement was that they had done it with simple mechanical calculating machines (or “adding machines”). These pioneers proved that blackjack offered the best odds of winning when players followed a set of specific game rules. Her work was published in the  Journal of the American Statistical Society in 1956 and a year later in the book Playing Blackjack to Win . Although the four riders were hardly known to the general public, their peers recognized their achievements in 2008 by being inducted into the Blackjack Hall of Fame.

BLACKJACK 1940 TO 1960

In the 1940’s and 1950’s there were a few players who independently developed rudimentary counting systems to win at blackjack. The most notable was Jess Marcum, a nuclear physicist at Rand Corporation who quit his job to play professionally. However, it was Dr. Edward O. Thorp , who in 1962 developed and published the first powerful and successful card counting system (the so-called “Ten Count”). After Thorp’s book made the  New York Times bestseller list  , casinos in Las Vegas panicked. On April 1, 1964, as if playing a cruel April Fool’s joke with the public, casinos drastically changed blackjack rules:

  • Players were only allowed to double down if their first two cards totaled 11.
  • A pair of aces could no longer be split.

Players were outraged by these changes and stopped playing. Casinos were left with no choice but to reintroduce standard blackjack rules, with one important change: instead of just dealing a single-deck hand game, many went to a game where four decks of cards were dealt using a shoe . The public accepted this change, and for the first time, multi-deck blackjack games became more or less standard in casinos. Millions of gamers bought Thorp’s book, believing it described an easy way to get rich. Although his ten count system worked, people found it too complicated and many went back to their previous play style.

Blackjack, originally introduced in casinos, was dealt from a single single deck. The dealer shuffled the cards by hand and dealt them face down to the players. Players picked up their cards to see what they had and then either hid them under their chips or scratched them towards them on the felt to indicate a hit (draw a card) or stand (hold) to the dealer. An untied player’s Blackjack hand is paid out at the odds of 3:2. In the past, the dealer always stood on soft 17 (no card) and players could double down on any two cards and after splitting pairs. This game has long been called “Standard Las Vegas Strip Blackjack”. But times are changing and so is the game of blackjack. In the following chapters I describe some of these changes. Not only regarding the way this game is played, but also regarding the techniques worked out by which experienced players can win this game.


  • The object of blackjack is to beat the dealer’s hand by having a total higher than the dealer’s or by not getting more than 21 if the dealer has 21.
  • Players have a variety of play options including Surrender, Pair Splitting, Double Down, Hit, and Stand.
  • The casino game of blackjack has its procedures, codes of conduct and gaming strategies in place to ensure the safety and integrity of the game and to avoid incurring the wrath of your fellow players or the dealer.
  • By using basic strategy, it is possible to reduce the house edge to less than 1% (rules dependent).
  • Blackjack is a game of skill, not just a game of chance. Certain playing and betting techniques can change the odds in your favour. This is not possible with any other casino game.
  • It is widely believed that Vingt-et-un, played in French casinos around 1700, was the forerunner of blackjack.
  • Sometimes a different type of surrender is offered, called an early surrender . When blackjack came to America in the 1800’s, casino operators changed the rules to attract more players to the game and began paying out a 10:1 bonus when the first two cards included a jack of clubs or a jack of spades along with were an ace of clubs. This led to Americans calling the game “blackjack” instead of “21”.
  • Blackjack was offered in legalized casinos in Las Vegas from 1931, although the casino operators knew little about the mathematics of the game.
  • Roger Baldwin, Wilbert Cantey, Herbert Maisel and James McDermott are often referred to in literature as the “Four Horsemen of Aberdeen”. They developed the first reasonably accurate basic blackjack game strategy in the 1950s.
  • dr Edward O. Thorp developed and published the first powerful and successful card counting system, called the Ten Count, in 1962.
  • After Thorp’s book Beat the Dealer made the New York Times bestseller list, casinos changed the rules of blackjack. Players revolted and stopped playing. The casinos were left with no choice but to revert to the standard rules, but with one important change: many went from a hand-deal single-deck game to a game where four decks of cards were dealt by slides.


Now that you have learned the history of blackjack, learned the basic rules of the game, learned blackjack table etiquette, why blackjack is so unique among casino games and what creates the built-in house edge, you will now learn the basic game strategies, to become a really skilled player.


Using the information in Chapter 1, try to answer the following questions.

  1. The name of the game considered to be the precursor to blackjack is the French game Vingt-et-Un. Right or wrong?
  2. What happened when the game “21” was known as “Blackjack”?
  3. What did the “Four Horsemen of Aberdeen” achieve?
  4. Who developed and published the first powerful and successful blackjack card counting system?
  5. What was the name of this card counting system and the book that made the New York Times bestseller list?
  6. What is the aim of blackjack?
  7. What big change took place in the way blackjack was dealt in casinos after the release of Beat the Dealer ?
  8. In a hand-deal single-deck game, you are allowed to hold your cards with two hands. Right or wrong?
  9. You want to bet $40 with one green chip ($25) and three red chips ($5 each). How do you properly stack your chips in the betting area?
  10. You can lower the blackjack house edge by betting more after losing several hands in a row. Right or wrong?


  1. Right.
  2. Casino operators started paying out a 10:1 bonus when the first two cards were a Jack of Clubs or Spades together with an Ace of Clubs. This led to Americans calling the game “blackjack” instead of “21”.
  3. In the 1950’s they developed the first reasonably accurate basic blackjack strategy.
  4. dr Edward O Thorp.
  5. The “Ten Count”. The title of his bestseller was  Beat the Dealer .
  6. The object of blackjack is to beat the dealer’s hand by having a total higher than the dealer’s or by not getting more than 21 if the dealer has 21.
  7. Casinos began using four decks of cards dealt from a deck.
  8. Not correct. You are only allowed to hold the cards with one hand and the cards must always remain above table height.
  9. You stack your chips with the largest chips at the bottom ($25 green chips) and the smallest chips at the bottom (three $5 red chips).
  10. Not correct.


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