The game of blackjack is a mix of luck and strategy. Unlike other casino games where the house always has an advantage that will play out over time, blackjack offers an element of player choice. By following basic strategy, players can reduce the casino edge to less than one percent.
A player’s goal is to make a hand total of 21 (an ace and a card worth 10 counts as 11) or come closer than the dealer without going over. Suits are irrelevant, and the player can split cards to create two hands. The higher value hand wins if it beats the dealer’s.
When a dealer shows an ace, the player can choose to take insurance. This is a side bet equal to half of the original bet, and it will be paid out if the dealer has blackjack. The odds of the dealer having a blackjack are about one-third. In the long run, the player loses money on insurance.
The dealer must also show her hole card before paying out winning bets, and the player can see it through a special window in the table. The dealer will then ask anyone who took insurance if they want even money or their original bet back. Taking insurance is usually a bad idea, as it increases the house edge and can only be won by knowing or guessing what the dealer has in her pocket.
Black Jack, the horse, became a national hero after his role in President Kennedy’s funeral. His beauty and spirit touched the hearts of many Americans, including Jacqueline Kennedy. He served in the Caisson Platoon of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, known as the Old Guard, and performed in more than 1,000 Armed Forces Full Honors Funerals.
During his last years, Black Jack developed arthritis in his front legs. He was euthanized in 1976 at Fort Myer, Virginia, with full military honors. He was the first horse to receive this honor, and he was laid to rest at the Old Guard Mounted Cavalry Cemetery. He is the only surviving member of his breed.