Blackjack is such a simple game that even families play it with their children, sitting around the kitchen table’ betting on matchsticks. It is a great game to teach counting and adding.
The game can be played with one or more decks. Casino’s use more than one deck to keep people from figuring out what cards might still be left in the deck. Each card is given a point value. Two through ten are counted at their face value. (A two is worth two points, a three is worth three and so on.) All face cards are worth ten points. It is up to the player whether the aces are worth one or eleven depending on what he needs.
The object of the game is to hold cards in his hand that are valued at close to but not over twenty-one points. The player may choose how many cards he draws and what his aces will be worth. No wonder, people think they can beat this game!
Unlike poker, you do not play against any other player at the table. No matter how many other people are at the table, the game for you is just between you and the dealer. That’s why a Blackjack table is set up in an arc so that everyone faces the dealer and not each other.
At first you draw two cards, you are given time to think it over. The dealer gets two cards – just like yours, one is up and one is face down. Perhaps you draw and six and a seven. Thirteen points! You don’t have much to think about. The odds have already been worked out on the chances of the dealer having a better hand that you do at thirteen.
You’d better ask for another card and hope that it is worth less than eight. You want to get close to twenty-one (hopefully hit exactly twenty-one) but you don’t want to go over it. You ask for another card. Its an Ace! Thank heavens you get to decide what it is worth. Of course, you don’t want it to be and eleven. Twenty-four is a disaster. However, if you count it as one, that means you only have fourteen points in your hand.
You check to see what the dealer has done. He has instructions to take another card if his hand is less than seventeen points and to “stand” if his hand is over that. He stands. His hand is worth more than yours. You have to take another card. It’s a King. Ten more points in your hand. In an instant the game is over and you have lost.
Time to pony up another bet and try again. See how simple this game can be.