Blackjack – also known as 21 – is said to be the world’s most widely played casino game.

A relatively simple set of rules, as well as the allure of it being a game that requires a mixture of luck and strategy to succeed, make it a popular choice for people who frequent both online gaming rooms and physical casinos.

The early history of the game is unclear and its origins are disputed, with some people tracing the first hands of blackjack back to Spain and others believing it was first played in France.

Exponents of another theory even claim that the Romans enjoyed an early form of the game, using wooden blocks with different numerical values.

Whatever its origins, blackjack quickly gained a large following when it was introduced in Las Vegas casinos back in 1931 and the game has now become a hugely popular pastime among those who like to gamble online.

The object of the game is to accumulate cards with a points total as close to 21 as possible, without exceeding this number.

Blackjack is basically a contest between the player and the dealer, with the player receiving two cards initially and then deciding how to proceed.

The cards numbered two to ten are worth their face value, while kings, queens and jacks are each worth ten and aces can be used as either one or 11.

After being dealt their two cards, players have a number of options. They can ‘hit’, which means they take another card with the aim of pushing their total closer to 21.

Alternatively, they can opt to ‘stand’ and take no more cards in the hope that their current total will be enough to defeat the dealer.

Choosing to ‘split’ means the cards are divided into two separate hands, with the player electing to make a second bet that is equal to the first. This option is only available if the first two cards dealt are of the same denomination.

Another option is ‘double down’, which allows the player to double the value of his or her original bet by agreeing to take just one more card from the dealer.

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