Cards value in Blackjack
Before you can begin to learn blackjack strategies, you’ve got to get the lay of the land (so to speak) on how the game is played - specifically the basic playing rules, the objective of the game, and a few protocols to know when you are playing.
I often shake my head in disgust when I pick up a brochure that you will usually find somewhere in a casino that explains “How to Play Blackjack.” Invariably it will state that the objective of blackjack is to get as close to 21 as possible. Wrong!
The objective of blackjack is: to beat the dealer’s hand by either
1) having a total that exceeds the dealer’s total
2) by not going over 21 when the dealer does.
CARD VALUESAll cards count their face value in blackjack. Picture cards count as 10 and the ace can count as either 1 or 11. Card suits have no meaning in blackjack. The total of any hand is the sum of the card values in the hand. A hand containing a 4-5-8 totals 17. Another containing a queen-5 totals 15. It is always assumed that the ace counts as 11 unless so doing would make your hand total exceed 21, in which case the ace reverts to a value of 1.
When a player or dealer’s hand exceeds a total of 21, this is known as busting. (Sometimes the term “break” is used when the dealer’s hand exceeds 21.) So if a player was dealt a 10-6, drew one more card which was a 9, the player busted (i.e., because his hand totaled 25).
HARD VS SOFT HAND
A hard hand is any hand that either does not contain an ace, of if it does, counts the ace as 1. For example, 10-8 is a hard 18; 5-A-10-2 is a hard 18. Any hand that contains an ace that counts as 11 is known as a soft hand. For example A-5 is a soft 16; A-2-5 is a soft 18; and 3-2-A-3 is a soft 19. When you receive your first two cards and one of them is an ace, count the ace as 11. Often when you are dealt a soft hand and draw more cards your hand will convert to a hard hand. For example, suppose a player is dealt a 5-A which is a soft 16, and he draws another card. Suppose the draw card was a 6. The player now has a hard 12 (i.e., you can never bust when you draw to a soft hand). The reason you need to know the difference between a hard and soft hand in blackjack is because the playing strategy is often different even though the total of the hand is the same. For example, a 10-6 (hard 16) is played differently than an A-5 (soft 16).
Blackjack is played on a semi-circular table covered with a felt cloth that usually seats up to a maximum of 7 players. There will be circle, or sometimes a square box, known as the betting spot, in front of each player in which the wager, using casino chips, is placed. A trained casino dealer is responsible for dealing the cards by strict casino protocols, collecting losing player bets, paying off winning bets, and generally keeping the game moving along at an acceptable pace.In most casinos, cash is not used to make bets. You must use casino chips or “checks.” To purchase chips, simply take a seat at any blackjack table, wait until the dealer completes the current round, then place your cash on the table in front of the dealer and ask the dealer for chips. The dealer will convert your cash into chips and slide the chips toward you. Be sure to place the chips neatly stacked in front of you. Most casinos allow players to play more than one hand per round, assuming there are empty spots on the table. If a player does this, he must make a wager in each betting spot that he wishes to receive a hand. In most casinos, a player is required to wager double the table minimum on each hand when playing more than one hand.
In a deck of playing cards, the term face card is generally used to describe a card that depicts a person. Cards depicting persons were developed in Europe, possibly in the late 14th century; it is believed that earlier sets of cards included "court cards" that showed abstract designs instead of people.
Europeans changed the court cards to...