Blackjack is the American variant of a globally popular banking game known as Twenty-One, whose relatives include Pontoon and Vingt-et-Un. It is a comparing card game between usually several players and a dealer, where each player in turn competes against the dealer, but players do not play against each other. It is played with one or more decks of 52 cards, and is the most widely played casino banking game in the world. The objective of the game is to beat the dealer in one of the following ways:
Get 21 points on the player’s first two cards (called a “blackjack” or “natural”), without a dealer blackjack;
Reach a final score higher than the dealer without exceeding 21; or
Let the dealer draw additional cards until their hand exceeds 21 (“busted”).Players are each dealt two cards, face up or down depending on the casino and the table at which they sit. In the U.S., the dealer is also dealt two cards, normally one up (exposed) and one down
(hidden). In most other countries, the dealer receives one card face up. The value of cards two through ten is their pip value (2 through 10). Face cards (Jack, Queen, and King) are all worth ten. Aces can be worth one or eleven. A hand’s value is the sum of the card values. Players are allowed to draw additional cards to improve their hands. A hand with an ace valued as 11 is called “soft”, meaning that the hand will not bust by taking an additional card; the value of the ace will become one to prevent the hand from exceeding 21. Otherwise, the hand is “hard”.
Once all the players have completed their hands, it is the dealer’s turn. The dealer hand will not be completed if all players have either busted or received blackjacks. The dealer then reveals the hidden card and must hit until the cards total 17 or more points. (At most tables the dealer also hits on a “soft” 17, i.e. a hand containing an ace and one or more other cards totaling six.) Players win by not busting and having a total higher than the dealer, or not busting and having the dealer bust, or getting a blackjack without the dealer getting a blackjack. If the player and dealer have the same total (not counting blackjacks), this is called a “push”, and the player typically does not win or lose money on that hand. Otherwise, the dealer wins.
Blackjack has many rule variations. Since the 1960s, blackjack has been a high-profile target of advantage players, particularly card counters, who track the profile of cards that have been dealt and adapt their wagers and playing strategies accordingly.
Blackjack has inspired other casino games, including Spanish 21 and pontoon.
A common gambling card game in casinos, where the object is to get as close to 21 without going over.
A hand in the game of blackjack consisting of a face card and an ace.
The flag (i.e., a jack) traditionally flown by pirate ships; popularly thought to be a white skull and crossed bones on a black field (the Jolly Roger).
A small, flat, blunt, usually leather-covered weapon loaded with heavy material such as lead or ball bearings, intended to inflict a blow to the head that renders the victim unconscious with diminished risk of lasting cranial trauma.
Any of several species of weed of genus Bidens, such as Bidens pilosa, in the family Compositae.
A blackjack oak.
To strike with a blackjack or similar weapon.
A weapon made of leather-covered metal similar to a blackjack.
A blunt instrument such as a bludgeon or truncheon.
To strike with a weapon of this kind.