As one of the games that provide some of the best odds for players, blackjack has become a prominent feature on every casino floor.
Its low barrier to entry and presence in relevant movies and TV has made it one of the most popular games you’ll find at any gaming establishment. With that being said, there are still components of the game that escape most people—gambler or not.
In this article, I’ll get into some of the MOST interesting facts and notes about blackjack that often go unnoticed. They won’t help you leave the casino with money in your pocket, but it should provide some entertainment before your next visit.
1 – The House Edge Is Less Than 1% But It’s Not That Simple
Blackjack is so popular because the house edge is about as low as you’ll find anywhere in the casino. In fact, the number you often see thrown around is 1% (or even less than 1%).
It’s important to recognize that although this is true, that number assumes you’ll be making the correct plays and not adding to the 1% house edge. Perhaps this is why casinos still rake in huge amounts of money from blackjack while it’s simultaneously one of the most player-friendly games available.
You don’t need to learn any special tricks or hacks. Just stick to the basics and avoid making mistakes and you can enjoy its favorable odds.
2 – How Did Blackjack Get Its Name?
As your grandfather always said, “It’s never the wrong time for a history lesson.”
Blackjack started when various American gambling establishments started offering a game called “Vingt-et-Un,” which was a European game. The name translates to “21,” which makes sense to anyone who knows how the game functions.
One of the bonuses was a 10:1 payout if the winner’s hand included the “blackjack,” which is a jack of spades or cubs. The name would stick around for good. Unfortunately, the 10:1 payout did not.
3 – A Hall of Fame Exists
It makes sense in professional sports, music, and other entertainment professions, but a hall of fame for gambling? You better believe it!
Located in the Barona Resort and Casino, which is a Native American casino, is the blackjack hall of fame. Not only can you learn about the most successful and famous gamblers, but also popular authors and other game experts who have helped bring blackjack to the forefront of casino culture.
One interesting aspect of the hall of fame is that inductees can enjoy free food, lodging, and drinks at the casino for the rest of their lives. The only catch? They’re not allowed to play blackjack at the casino’s tables!
4 – The Discard Tray Serves Multiple Purposes
Throughout history, there have been numerous attempts to cheat in blackjack and take the casino for huge amounts of money. Some of these efforts have actually been successful.
Casinos have implemented their own defense tactics to protect themselves against players who might be trying to pull one over on them. One of the ways they’ve adopted is using the discard tray to their advantage.
When you place the cards in a red discard tray, the ink is also visible, giving the casino an inside look into who’s trying to pull the scam.
I cannot say how these people are dealt with, but they probably won’t be back at the casino for a while.
5 – Card Counting Probably Isn’t What You Think
You can find several different movies, even some blockbusters, which revolve around an unusually smart character who learns how to count cards in blackjack. These are undoubtedly fascinating movies that make us wish we could only learn how to count cards, and we could be rich, too.
The reality of the situation is much different than it’s portrayed in these movies. Card counting isn’t actually as difficult as the silver screen would have you believe. It doesn’t take a savant or an MIT student to learn the process. Anyone with a deck of cards and a free afternoon can at least gain a rudimentary knowledge of how it’s done.
Another huge misconception is that card counting will get you thrown out of the casino (or in the movies, much worse). It is true that casinos don’t like when players try to use this tactic, but unless you’re being obvious about it, they probably won’t ever find out. Simply put, counting cards isn’t technically illegal.
Atlantic City, for example, has legal writing in place that prevents any casino from kicking you out for counting cards. They do take other measures to assure it doesn’t happen, but players are immune from penalty nonetheless.
Even aside from Atlantic City, casinos don’t spend as much time as you’d think looking for card counters. If huge money isn’t involved, there’s no reason for them to waste their time and resources on something that may or may not be considered cheating.
One final thing to note when it comes to card counting is that it doesn’t help you win every hand. Yes, it can certainly give you an advantage and help you have a more profitable time, but if you’re thinking card counting is going to make you millions, sadly, you’re mistaken.
I would encourage all blackjack enthusiasts to try to learn card counting at a fundamental level. Just don’t spend all your time at the table trying to predict what’s coming next.
6 – Video Blackjack Is Not the Way to Go
Video poker has gained popularity in recent years, as many gamblers have found it to be more profitable than the real thing. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for video blackjack.
One of the most notable reasons that video blackjack is much less profitable than video poker is that the payout for a blackjack is even money. The bottom line is that if you want to play video blackjack instead of the real deal, you’re much better off finding a reputable online platform that has better odds and higher payouts.
7 – Taking Insurance Is a Sucker Bet
This might not be considered a blackjack “fact” in the sense that they are above, but I still feel morally obligated to include it in the list. Taking insurance is never a smart move, and it only helps out the house.
You might be thinking to yourself how it’s helped you avoid losses a couple of times, but the numbers say that all you’re doing is increasing the house edge.
8 – It’s the Most Popular Online Casino Game
Since around 2010 (and arguably even earlier), online casino games have taken off as a viable option for enthusiastic bettors. While online poker may have ruled the world at first, real money online blackjack has quickly become the most popular online game.
If you’re interested in trying some sites out for yourself, there are plenty available that offer favorable odds and an easy gameplay experience. Whether you’re a high roller or want to only risk a few dollars, there’s an online option that fits exactly the type of game you’re after.
The blackjack table has been, and will likely remain, one of the most popular destinations for casino visitors and online gamblers alike. It’s low house edge and easy-to-learn rules make it as accessible to new gamblers as anything you’ll find.
Before you try your luck, make sure you do the necessary research and learn the basics. Remember, that attractive 1% house edge only applies if you aren’t making mistakes on your end!