Blackjack, an Overview

Blackjack is, in all likelihood, the second most preferred casino card game to the all-time favourite, poker. It is a fine blend of chance and skill, with one of the most important strategies being card counting. The name itself is a misnomer, which originated in the United States, and the more relevant Twenty-One, or the French equivalent, Vingt-et-Un is a far more descriptive title.Blackjack

The whole point of the game is to try and get as close to 21 as possible and to beat the most challenging foe of all, the house! Should you get more than the magic number, then you are called ‘bust’, and loose all that lovely moola you have wagered on the outcome. The ideal hand to strive for is a two-card 21, which will include the ace and a second card designated with a 10 point value.

To date over 100 variations of Blackjack exist and include Pontoon, Spanish 21, Double exposure Blackjack, Chinese Blackjack and Elimination Blackjack. In an effort to regulate the rules pertaining to the casino game, many countries have promulgated legal acts or laws which outline the specifics of the popular card game.

The Players

As with poker there are dozens of professional Blackjack players who make a steady flow of income out of the game and some of the more prominent experts include:

  • Ken Einiger, winner of the 2005 World Series of Blackjack
  • Lance Humble, co-author of the celebrated Hi-Opt I & II card counting systems
  • Bill Zender, former casino executive, blackjack player of repute and author of ‘Advantage Play for the Casino Executive’
  • Tommy Hyland, the undisputed ‘King’ of card counting
  • Stanford Wong, blackjack guru and author of the blackjack ‘bible’, ‘Professional Blackjack’

The Hall of Fame

In 2002 twenty-one Blackjack aficionados were nominated by the professional gambling fraternity and inducted into the Blackjack Hall of Fame at the Barona Casino in San Diego. Not only successful players were acknowledged by the community but authors, inventors and strategists have been included for the ground-breaking work they have done over the years. Inductees include:

  • Authors Peter Griffin, Arnold Snyder, Edward O Thorp, Ken Uston, Stanford Wong and Max Rubin
  • Pro players Al Francesco and Tommy Hyland for their persistent team attacks on the casinos
  • Keith Taft, inventor of exemplary proportion, who spent over twenty years scrutinising casino Blackjack games with his high-tech devices.
  • The Four Horsemen of Aberdeen – Roger Baldwin, Will Cantey, Herbert Maisel and James McDermott – who will remembered for their pioneering work in developing the first accurate Blackjack basic strategy
  • Professional gamblers James Grosjean and Johnny Chang