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The History of Blackjack

 Blackjack is a popular card game the world over, due to the ease of playing the game and the fact that the player stands a fair chance of beating the house in both casinos and online blackjack. Popularity can also be attributed to the publicity that comes with card counting.

The origins of the game are somewhat hazy and the beginnings can be attributed to a number of different games that have the same objective - to collect cards, with the purpose of reaching a designated card count total.

The Italians played a game called seven-and-a-half around the early 1500's which involved using only eights, nines, tens and picture cards and counting them as half. The player had to reach seven-and-a-half without going bust.

The Spanish played a game called one-and-thirty around 1570 which they claim to be the precursor to blackjack but the most promising contender is the French vingt-et-un.

Vingt-et-un (twenty one) is thought to have originated in French casinos around 1700 and was a prominent game with the French Aristocracy. When the game crossed the Atlantic in the late 1800's it was not at all popular as the house edge was very strong. Gambling houses started offering incentives to get the gamblers playing. Gaming houses gave odds of 10-1 if the player reached 21 the ace of spades and a black jack – either jack of clubs or spades. This winning hand was called blackjack and the name stuck, though the bonus payout of 10-1 was dropped.

When playing blackjack online, you may be offered the option of insurance. What does this mean and what should you do?

Insurance is the option given to the player of blackjack online when the dealers upturned card is an ace. Because the probability is higher that the down turned or "hole" card being a card with the value of ten, the player is offered insurance in case the dealer has a blackjack, sometimes called a natural. If the dealer has a natural or blackjack, the player who takes insurance is paid 2-1.

Generally, when playing blackjack online the insurance bet is half the player's original wager. In blackjack online for example, the player bets $10 and may have a total of 18 in their hand. They see that the dealer is showing an ace so they buy insurance for $5 dollars. If the dealer has a 10 value card then the player is correct and wins the insurance bet. The $5 dollar stake plus winnings of $10 is paid. Here the player lost the round to the dealer but the insurance bet meant that they broke even.

When playing blackjack each player plays an individual game against the dealer and not with each other so the dealer could lose against one player and win against another.

As with blackjack in casinos - online blackjack became one of the most commonly played casino games in the world. Blackjack is a fun game with high winning odds.

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