Blackjack is a casino card game where players compete against the dealer. The goal is to win by accumulating cards that total closer to 21 than the dealer’s hand, without going over. The game is played using one or more 52-card decks. Each card has a value (either its number, face cards are worth 10, and aces are valued at either 1 or 11).
Each player makes a bet and then the dealer deals each player two cards face up and himself two cards face down. The player may then decide to stand, hit, split, double down or surrender based on a set of rules. The dealer must stand on all hands with a value of 16 or less, and must hit on all hands that are 17 or more.
The game is generally a game of skill, with the house edge over time being a little under 1% against a player with a basic understanding of strategy. Some blackjack games allow a side bet called insurance, which pays out when the dealer shows an ace. This bet is a poor decision for players, as it reduces the expected value of the player’s hand by around 0.13%.
Most modern casinos offer a variety of blackjack variations, some with unique rules and payoffs. For example, some blackjack games allow the player to resplit aces, while others treat them as a single hand. The number of decks used can also impact the odds and payouts.
Some blackjack games also feature additional side bets such as the dealer matching the player’s cards. These bets are not a good value for players, as they lose money over time. In addition, they can often be beaten by basic strategies, especially by those who know how to count cards.
Players can bet anywhere from $0 to $500 per hand, and some tables even have a minimum bet requirement. If a player places an initial bet that is lower than the table minimum, they can still play, but will be required to place a bet of equal size on every subsequent deal.
Whether it’s in Las Vegas or online, blackjack has become an American pastime with its roots in the 19th century. Its popularity grew thanks to Eleanor Dumont, a French woman who became the first female dealer in America’s gambling establishments. She was a skilled card dealer and popular attraction for gamblers who would travel long distances to see her.
The title of the game refers to a famous manga and anime series by Osamu Tezuka, in which an unlicensed but gifted surgeon named Black Jack operates in a desert clinic. He saves patients who would otherwise be beyond help. He has an exceptional surgical technique and charges a high fee for his services. This has led to him being shunned by the medical community. However, the people he treats consider him their last hope for life. Tezuka created the character in 1936, and it quickly exploded in popularity.