American Blackjack is the most popular of the version of the game of Twenty-one. This is also the version most people learn when they begin playing blackjack. It is, however, pertinent to appreciate that there are some slightly different rules to the game of Blackjack, when playing either of the two primary versions of the game, European Blackjack or American Blackjack.
In the game of European blackjack, when the cards are initially dealt, the dealer receives only a single face-up card and no hole card. In terms of odds in the game this implies no difference at all, except for the fact that in this version of the game the dealer cannot peek if the face-up card is a ten, picture card or ace.
Nuances of this Version
In American Blackjack, the dealer does peek in the case of the face-up card potentially being part of a hand of blackjack. This does have a bearing on the game in American Blackjack since if the dealer peeks and does not declare blackjack, the players can play with more confidence knowing that the dealer does not have a blackjack hand.
In American Blackjack, the dealer is dealt a hole card. In European Blackjack, the dealer only receives his second card once all the players have either decided to stand or have gone bust. This means relatively little in terms of influencing the odds on the game, but has been known to cause some animosity amongst multi-player tables, since it is often felt that good, and sensible play by players has the ability to influence the second dealers’ card. This is however a myth, since the chances of any players’ selection of whether to hit or stand can equally improve the dealers’ hand as be to its detriment.
Basic Rules of American Blackjack
American blackjack is played with either 4 or 8 standard card decks. Generally, players ought to know that the higher the number of decks in the shoe, the higher the house edge, and players should not make decisions based on exposed cards. In American Blackjack at a land-based casino, the table will have numerous players, whereas at online casino, players are able to choose multi- player games or play at their own table.
In terms of strategy, knowing when to hit or stand is the crux of basic strategy in American blackjack. Classic blackjack allows players a multitude of potential options and American Blackjack is similarly ruled. Apart from the aforementioned dealer peeking for Blackjack on 10s, faces and aces, the dealer also stands on soft 17.
Players are entitled to double down on any two cards, and may double down after splitting. Splitting is allowed times, making up to 4 hands, although Aces can be split only once. Scoring 21 on a split Ace does not count as Blackjack.
The Importance of Basic Strategy
American Blackjack is not only a game of luck; it is also a game of strategy. Learning the basic strategy will guide players to be able to make the best plays, statistically, on each hand they are dealt. The basic strategy cannot assure anyone of guaranteed success, but it certainly increases the odds in the players’ favour. This is what makes the game of American blackjack so popular with high rollers, professional casino players and beginners alike.