Card games similar to blackjack trace back to 17th-century France, with modern investigations of strategy first published in "Optimum Strategy in Blackjack," by Roger Baldwin in 1956. In 1962, Edwin O. Thorp published "Beat the Dealer," a card-counting system that increases the odds of winning. Card counting is legal in the United States, but casinos in Nevada have been designated as private clubs that can enforce their own rules and can bar card counters from playing. In other states, casinos cut cards out of decks to makes card counts inaccurate. Edmond Hoyle, an authority on card games, became well known after publication of his book "A Short Treatise on the Game of Whist" in 1742.
The primary object of blackjack, using a standard 52-card deck or multiple decks, is to be dealt cards that amount to a count of 21. For Hoyle blackjack rules, face cards (kings, queens and jacks) have a value of 10, with all other cards amounting to their natural value. Aces may be counted as 11 or 1 depending on the value the player wants to give it. The goal is to have your cards total higher than that of the dealer's cards without going over 21.
At the beginning of each round of play, according to Hoyle blackjack rules, players place the amount they want to wager on the hand in front of them or in their betting box on the blackjack table. Each player is dealt two cards. Depending on the value of the cards, the player may ask for a hit (another card) or decide to stand (not receive another card). If the total amount of the player's cards goes over 21, he loses and forfeits his bet. If the player's hand amounts to more than the dealer's hand, the player wins. If the player's hand equals the dealer's hand, it is a "push" and he retains his bet. If the dealer goes over 21, all remaining players win.
Dealers receive one card showing with one card hidden and must draw cards until they reach a total value of 17 or higher. For Hoyle blackjack, a setting can be changed to force the dealer also to hit on a soft 17 -- an ace and a 6. Players bet and play according to the value of their cards and the value of the dealer's shown card. In Hoyle blackjack, players may choose to double their wager and take a single additional card. They may choose to split their cards if the two cards they were dealt have the same value, separating them to make two hands to play. Or players may choose to "surrender," giving up one-half their bet, and stop playing. A blackjack beats any hand that is not a blackjack, even with value 21. If the dealer and the player both have blackjacks, it is a push.
Hoyle blackjack pays winning cards the amount the player wagered. Hoyle blackjack pays 3:2, or one and a half times the wager, for blackjacks. Hoyle blackjack rules (and some casinos) allow players to place a side bet called "insurance" when a dealer is dealt an ace. The player places up to half his original bet in the insurance area on the board. If the dealer has a blackjack, the player receives a 2 to 1 payoff, but he also loses the original bet. If the dealer does not have a blackjack, the player loses the insurance bet.
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