Everything You Need to Know About Blackjack

Card games are interesting because there are so many of them. Card games can range from simple ones, which you play alone, to very complicated ones, which you would play with other people or against them, depending on how you look at it.

Blackjack is a game that you basically could play on your own, but is typically played with other people. The game itself is mostly a game of luck and chance, but if you know what you are doing, it can also be a somewhat skillful game, not including card counting, which is illegal in most parts of the world.

Blackjack is a great card game and here are some things that you should know about it.

Blackjack Typically Has the Same Rules, But

The other rules of the game don’t have to be the same. Most blackjack games play the same, striving to hit 21, to beat the house and the other players. However, there are secondary rules, regarding payouts, doubling of cards, surrendering and so on and so forth.

The problem with these secondary rules is that they favor the house or in most cases, the casino, or dealer. They will very rarely favor the player, so have that in mind if you want to play blackjack anywhere. Look up the basic rules if they are specified anywhere. If they are not, then you might want to consider playing elsewhere.

Strategies Change the Edge

Blackjack has a couple of ways to play the game, but overall strategies are not logically sound, unless a computer analyzes the game and gives you the best possible outcome, based on the odds and the current cards on the table. 

In online blackjack, that is definitely a possibility, but when playing in person, that is hardly doable. While there are many strategies, there is often only a single best hand that you can play, which would have the best possible outcome. If you don’t play this hand, you are giving the house their edge back.

Card Counting is Doable But Not Advisable

Math geniuses can count cards, but so can other people who are willing to learn the basics behind it. Card counting is illegal if you use anything to help you do it. Most casinos will throw any person who does any type of card counting, and you may even be blacklisted. 

However, card counting is a viable strategy that a person could do if they were well-practiced enough. Most casinos have sophisticated systems that can spot card counters if things go out of hand and a person starts winning more than usual.

Look Out for the Payouts

How much you get paid is determined by the payouts, which are typically 3 to 2 in most casinos. They can be lower, which is not something you should accept. Read the rules, ask around, and find a casino that pays 3 to 2. Some casinos pay 6 to 5, which is a lot less than 3 to 2. 

This basically means that you get 3 dollars for every 2 you bet. This also means that a 6 to 5 is worth a lot less. Always be informed about the payouts before you even consider waging your money against the house.

Blackjack is Better than Most Games

Blackjack is one of those games that have better odds than other card games. When you mostly play against the dealer, you should have better odds than in other games, such as poker, where there can be up to 10 players at a table.

Blackjack is a very interesting card game that can be easy or hard to play, depending on how familiar you are with the game.

What is the Best Way to Learn How to Play Bridge?

Like most games, bridge can be easy or harder to learn. While it wouldn’t be strictly easy to pick up, there are easier ways to get around to learning something that appears to be very complex, meaning bridge.

The best way to approach such a topic would be to find experts on the topic and to learn from them, right? Well, it depends on whether you have any experts near you. While popular, there aren’t bridge clubs everywhere.

Consider the following ways as the best ones to learn bridge.

Join a Bridge Club

Given the nature of the game, bridge should be learned in a bridge club, where multiple others will be playing the game. You can learn directly from experts or people who are very good at the game. Another thing to note is that the people playing in bridge clubs will have already taught others, meaning that teaching another newcomer shouldn’t be a challenge. 

Due to bridge being a social game, a club should be your priority. 

Learning from Friends

If you know people who are familiar with bridge and know how to play it, then you should definitely consider learning from them. Learning bridge from a familiar face might be less threatening than learning from a bunch of elderly people at a club. 

All jokes aside, it is always good to play something new in a friendly and encouraging atmosphere, though most bridge clubs are just that, except that you wouldn’t know the people.

Learning Online

The internet is the place to go if you have no other choice. There are a plethora of bridge applications and sites which can teach you how to play the game for free. Some sites allow playing against other people while others are exclusively there to pit you against an AI and teach you how to play. Bridge games can be found for free all over the internet and by simply playing the game, you will eventually learn it.

While this might not be the most optimal way to approach learning how to play any card game, it is probably the most time-effective, provided that the game gives you good tips.

Bridge can be learned in many ways, the most optimal one involving going to a bridge club. You can learn from friends or by using the internet and any of these are a viable option.

How to Play Bridge: Here Are the Rules

Card games are complicated to learn and even more complicated to master. Games like bridge are almost impossible to learn on your own unless you have a decent guide. A guide can be anything from online games to experts who have been playing the game for decades. 

Bridge is complicated even for seasoned players. Here is what you should know about the rules of bridge, even though it will be almost impossible to grasp at once.

The Basics of Bridge

Bridge is often played by four players, two times two, meaning that there are two partnerships. Bridge uses a standard 52 card deck. It is divided into four suits, spades, clubs, hearts and diamonds, ace being the card with the most worth.

The cards are dealt so that every player has 13 cards. After the cards are dealt, one of the teams plays first, and they are called the Declarer, or rather, one of the two people in the partnership. The other two are the Defenders. The Declarer’s partner is called the Dummy and their cards are laid on the table, face up.

The game has a bidding phase where you have to state how many tricks it will take you to win a deal. When all players pass consecutively, the bidding phase is over. Bidding is done so that you can tell your partner what type of cards you have. If you bid 4S, it means that you consider spades as your way to victory, in at least 4 contracted tricks. 

Bridge Gameplay

The game is played clockwise and the Declarer starts first, declaring a trump or notrump card. Once the Declarer starts with the opening hand, the Dummy’s cards are turned face up and placed on the table. All players must follow suit if they have the card. The highest card in the suit wins the trick.

If the player doesn’t have a suit, they can play a trump card, and win the trick. At the end of a deal, the declaring pair’s number of tricks is compared against the contract they made, and if they met the criteria, they score some points, based on how the tricks went.

If they didn’t meet the criteria, then the defenders score. 

A Game of Tactics

Bridge is a game where you have to play with your partner at all times. Even the best professionals often relied on their partner more than on their own knowledge. As a team game, you must use teamwork if you want to succeed.

Communication and problem solving are among the two most important skills to practice if you want to be good at bridge.

The rules, while complicated, become obvious after a game or two of bridge. 

As a game which requires lots of problem solving, it is not one that can be played in five minutes. Typical bridge sessions last about six hours or more, depending on who is playing and whether it is a tournament or a casual match between friends.

Duplicate Bridge

Duplicate bridge is mostly played at tournaments and clubs. The same exact hands are dealt across multiple tables, hence the name duplicate. The scoring is based on relative performance across all teams. Since they are duplicated, all the tables are either Declarers or Defenders, so every table must do good in order to actually win. 

Bridge is a very hard game to play, particularly if you want to master it. It is a game of skill and patience, problem solving and communication. Firstly, you should learn the rules and after that, start playing with people. 

Famous Bridge Players You Probably Haven’t Heard Of

Card games are popular but they are not popular enough for the average person to know the celebrities in the world of a specific card game. A game like bridge is very popular, yet it is a game that is considered to be played by old people only.

That isn’t true, but there is a low likelihood that a non bridge-invested person would know any of bridge’s great players, champions or otherwise ambassadors for the game. These are the greatest and most famous bridge players.

Charles Goren

Charles Henry Goren is known as Mr. Bridge. He was a professional bridge player who managed to win many times, but other than that, he was also very popular in the media. He was quoted saying that you should play bridge for fun, exclusively. If you start to play bridge for anything other than fun, you should move to a competitive sport, something like tennis.

He also said that you should always play the game that your partner plays, no matter how much more you know about bridge than the partner. Goren stopped appearing in tournaments after a stroke in 1966, at the age of 65. He lived until 1991, but his health was deteriorating during the time and he made very few public appearances.

Bob Hamman

Born in 1938, Bob Hamman is a great bridge player, still with us to this day. He played competitive bridge and won many tournaments. He was known to play bridge for the entirety of a day, with partner Ralph Clark. Recognized by the giant names of his generation, namely the aforementioned Charles Goren, Bob Hamman is a staple name in the world of bridge.

Hamman has played in many tournaments and has even won some late in his career, the last one being in 2012.

Benito Garozzo

Born in 1927 in Italy, Garozzo is considered to be the greatest ever player to have played bridge, by many of his fellow bridge players. Himself, he thinks that he had a good team and had the worst temperament among all of them. The team he played in was the famous Squadra Azzura or Blue Team. Even within the Blue team, Belladonna and Forquet, both legendary bridge players, would ask Garozzo when a problem was too difficult to solve. He always had a good idea in the back of his head. One of his mottos was to never stop learning, no matter how much you win.

Helen Sobel Smith

Born in 1910, Helen Sobel Smith was a great bridge player. Her appearance at tournaments was very deceptive. She would fear sunglasses to make people believe that she was a dumb blonde. She was a longtime bridge partner with Charles Goren, and the two won many tournaments together. Despite her competitive nature, she was quoted saying that most points are lost to unnecessary overcalls. 

Bridge is a popular game, but not popular enough that bridge stars will be known outside of bridge. Now, you know of some of bridge’s most decorated professionals.

The Most Popular Card Games

We know how to play card games, or at least some of them. Not all card games are remotely similar, even though they might be using a similar deck. A 52 deck is a standard deck but it also doesn’t have to be. There are games that don’t use standard decks, but use their own special decks. 

There are a plethora of card games that play in their own way, never like we expect them to. Some of these card games are so complicated that they take a lot of time to even become familiar with the basics and only then do you realize how complicated they actually are. 

However, not all complicated games are popular.

In fact, most popular card games are relatively simple. Here is a list of the most popular card games.

UNO

UNO is at the top of the most popular card games that are played today. This is one of those games that uses its own special decks, with cards that are matched according to symbol or otherwise color. 

UNO is a great game to play at parties and is actually one of those games that created a living meme, namely the Reverse UNO trap card. UNO is very simple to play and will always be. 

Adapted variants of UNO using a standard 52 deck exist and have a different name in every country.

Poker

Poker will always be among the most popular card games. It is a game of skill, to a certain point, but also a game of psychology. Your expressions, real or fake, can tell stories of their own, should you master them. 

Poker is a great game to be played in the company of others, particularly if there is actual money involved. Poker has its own World Championships, not to mention local tournaments. Playing in high stakes poker matches is like playing at the Olympics, really difficult to win and against tough, seasoned opponents. 

Blackjack

Blackjack is among the simplest of all the card games. You get a number of cards and you say hit me, to see whether you have reached 21. If you have reached 21 and the house hasn’t, you won. Going over 21 immediately disqualifies the player. 

Blackjack can have huge payouts if you know what you’re doing. 

Bridge

Bridge is one of those games that falls under the category of skill, particularly if you count duplicate bridge. It is a great card game, often played by the elderly, mostly because matches last long. It is one of the only co-op card games.

These are the world’s most popular card games at the moment.

Is Playing Card Games Online Better Than Playing Card Games in Person?

Card games are fun to play. The best way to play card games is in person, of course, right? Some will argue otherwise and there will be good arguments for both for and against playing in person. Playing card games online has become a norm nowadays, like most things. You can open an application and play a game, having your daily fix of whichever card game you enjoy.

But is that the point? For some people, it might be. For others, card games are about socialization. Here is my opinion on whether it is better to play card games in person or online.

Online is More Practical

There is no way around it. If you just want to play a card game and you don’t care who with, even an AI, connecting to the internet and opening an application or website is the way to do it. 

Some people who like playing cards don’t have the time to actually meet with friends and play on a regular basis. In that case, playing online makes the most sense.

You can play a game while commuting or while on a break, which wouldn’t be possible if you wanted to play in person. 

Playing in Person Is Much Better

When you play cards in person, you don’t just play cards, you socialize. As social beings, we need other people to talk to and have fun with. Cards are often very fun and when we share that fun with others, we can make a good day a better one or any type of day a good one.

Cards are a social activity for most people and not one where you simply want to play cards. Even though card games can be fun, interacting and playing with others is what makes 90% of the fun. When you introduce a social aspect, almost everything becomes more entertaining.

Both Are Valid

Playing cards in person or online doesn’t really matter in the end if you like playing cards. Some people don’t have the time or have friends who are continents away. Playing online seems like the most logical thing for them. When you play online, you can meet new people and then have frequent game nights with them. Yes, it would be online, but it would still be a game night.

Playing in person is also a great choice, if you have people to play with. If not, card clubs exist, where all sorts of card games are played, from more traditional card games to trading card games and other more complex innovations like Magic: The Gathering. 

Whether online or in person, playing card games is the goal, so choose whatever works best for you. 

Is Bridge Considered a Sport?

Card games are typically not considered sports. However, some card games get that elevated status and are entered into a different world, where they become sports. How does that happen?

Well, card games are competitive, and some of them are ethical enough that they can become sports, in the same way that some esports titles are considered by the International Olympic Committee.

The game of bridge is a card game, but also one that is a sport. While this answers the question in the title, it still needs more elaboration.

Bridge is Recognized by the IOC

The IOC recognizes bridge as a sport, which is more than good enough to give it a status worthy of worship amongst other card games. When the IOC recognizes something as a sport, it means more than that it is a physical activity which is friendly and competitive.

The IOC considers everything from ethics to violence when they are looking into a  potential sport. Some esports titles are not recognized because they are too violent, the object of the game being to kill others. 

Bridge, chess, go and draught, have founded an organization called International Mind Sports Association, which is recognized by many other international entities, such as UNESCO and WADA.

Bridge is very strict about stimulants, given that games may last up to 6 hours or more.

Some Don’t Recognize Bridge

The European Court of Justice is not all that happy about others calling bridge a sport, themselves denouncing it as such. The reason for bridge not being a sport is that it lacks significant physical exertion. While that is true, bridge is still a very friendly game that people can benefit from, mentally and physically. A relaxing game of bridge is much better than a tension-filled game of basketball where you might end up injured. 

Having significant physical exertion should not be an obstacle for something to enter a world of sports, even though it could be further classified as a mind game. 

Why Bridge is Good for You

Bridge has many mental health benefits, one of the first ones being combating dementia, or rather, preventing it. Most youths who engage in bridge and learn how to play games typically score a lot better in various logical tests and otherwise.

Bridge is a very mentally engaging game that requires lots of strategy and forward-thinking. Bridge allows the player to play any hand and win, which is not something you could say for other card games, which are more luck-based.

Bridge as a game has many social benefits, encouraging the players to socialize and build trust. Bridge has partnerships which are basically random at the start of every game. Joining a bridge club is a great way to socialize and practice strategic thinking. 

Bridge is considered a sport by some people, while some people disapprove of it. This, in the end, is not that important, considering how many people love playing bridge. It is a great game, no matter what a committee might think about it. 

A Brief History of Playing Cards

Playing cards are a large part of our history as a species. They are always there, everyone’s got a deck, often a standard one. What more do you need, except another deck if you’re playing with more than two people? 

Playing cards, like most things in history, had to begin somewhere. With how we tend to twist and turn things, it becomes harder to find the right information about almost anything, let alone something specific like playing cards.

Here is a brief overview of the history of playing cards, where they began and how they progressed.

14th Century Europe

Playing cards in Europe appeared around 1370, in either Italy or Spain. Like most things during that time, playing cards were toys of the rich. They were hand-painted and very expensive. 

Playing cards changed hands and during the 15th century, most of Europe’s upper class had playing cards in their possession, and used them as a pastime activity.

Cards Getting Cheaper

It didn’t take long after the invention or discovery of playing cards for them to get cheaper. The German printing techniques brought prices down, because hand-painting was no longer necessary.

In the late 15th century, around 1480, a French technique of stenciling made card making cheaper, but also managed to simplify the process enough, so that we ended up with the symbols we still use to this day, trefle, pique, carreau and coeur, which translates to clubs, spades, diamonds and hearts. 

Cards Getting More Popular

During the 16th and 17th century, cards were becoming a lot cheaper and were now accessible to the general public. Along with dice, cards were the favorite pastime in pubs and underground gambling dens, or simply gambling dens, because gambling wasn’t regulated at the time.

King Louis XIV used gambling as a way to fund the country, having a single casino which was controlled by the throne. Other countries at the time simply taxed card production. 

The Standard Deck

During the creation of the cards at the end of the 15th century, England imported the French design and we got the 52 standard deck, even though there are other decks. A deck of cards typically has numbers 1 to 10, with the first card also being called an Ace. The cards are colored red or black, with diamonds and hearts being red while spades and clubs black.

Aside from the numerical cards, there are also the royal cards, the jack (which was once a knave), the queen and the king. There are also the joker cards, which have variable value depending on the game.

This is a brief history of playing cards, from the day they were reportedly created to today, when we have all sorts of decks in all sorts of styles.

What is Bridge?

As far as card games go, most people have heard of poker, blackjack and UNO. These are fun and competitive games, some played in casinos for money, even though all of them can be played for entertainment purposes. Card games are plentiful, but one of them stands above them all, and that is bridge.

Bridge might not be for all people, but it is a fun and tactical card game that will test you and your partner’s strengths as players. Bridge is a game of ethics, even though it is a card game.

Here is everything that you should know about bridge, a somewhat mysterious game to the uninitiated.

A Brief History of Bridge

Like most card games, it is hard to pinpoint when bridge was created, but we know that it is a derivative of the game of whist, which was played in 18th and 19th century England. The first rulebook for bridge was written in 1886 by John Collinson. The book was named Biritch, or Russian Whist. Collinson was a financier who worked in Istanbul. The name of the game is said to come from the Russian word for a diplomatic clerk.

Another story says that British soldiers fighting in the Crimean war named the game after the Galata Bridge in Istanbul. 

Earlier mentions of similar games date back to easily 16th century France and Italy, with Rabelais and his game La Triomphe and Francesco Berni and his game Triomfi. Both were trick-taking games.

What is Bridge, Exactly? How do You Play it?

Bridge is played through partnerships. Typically, four players play, with a standard 52 deck, the order of cards being from ace, king, to number 2, from highest to lowest ranking. Partnerships are selected through drawing cards, the two partners being the first ones to draw the highest cards.

The game is dealt to the left of the dealer, each player getting a card until everyone has 13 cards. Typically, two decks are used, one shuffled one while the other is dealt. A trick when all players play a card. A leader can play any card, while the following players must match it if they are able to.

To begin a hand, players can pass, bid, double or redouble. If a play is a bid, double or redouble, and three consecutive plays are a pass, then the game is put into a contract and the state can be trump or no trump. At the end of a game, or rather, contract, the side which makes the contract wins points. 

Is Bridge Played at Tournaments?

Bridge can be played at tournaments but typically isn’t, at least not for money. Bridge follows very clear ethical rules, where you should play the game according to the rules and those people who do not, are often considered unwelcome. It is a game that practices decent behavior and transparentness, meaning that it is a lot different to games like poker. Lying about your hand is very bad in bridge. 

Tournaments are played for pleasure and skill expression, even though some may be played for money. When they are, the players are mostly ethical ones, with cheaters here and there, every once in a while.

Bridge is a rather complicated game that takes a bit of time to learn. It takes even longer to master, but it is a game worth your attention if you want to strategize and express your skill in a game of cards.

How to Play UNO: Here Are The Rules

Card games are popular and we tend to play them to socialize. Some card games are more popular than others, with bridge, blackjack and poker sitting at the top. However, younger people do not like playing games which are too complicated. This is where card games such as UNO come in.

Interested in the rules? Look no further!

UNO – The Rules

UNO is a game that uses a deck with 112 cards and is typically played with three other people. The cards are as follows. There are 19 number cards ranging from 0 to 9, for each of the four colors. The colors are blue, green, red and yellow. There are 8 skip cards, 2 cards per color. The game also has 8 reverse and 8 draw 2 cards, each color having two cards. The game also has 4 wild cards and 4 wild draw cards.

The Object of the Game

The game is won by getting 500 points. In order to win points, the player must not have any cards in their hand. Every player starts with 7 cards, dealt by the player who got the highest number card from the deck. Once the cards are dealt, the top most card is picked, and is added to the DISCARD pile. The rest of the cards are turned face down and are then considered the DRAW pile.

Gameplay

The game is played clockwise, with each player having to match the card on the DISCARD pile, which is facing up, by number or color. The draw cards force the next player in line to draw more cards. The reverse card reverses the order of play. Draw cards can be matched by the same draw cards, thus making the next person in line drawing the sum of the card’s amount. 

If the player has no card to match the topmost DISCARD pile card, they have to draw a card and play it. If they don’t draw a matching card, they lose a turn.

Wild Cards and Skip Cards

Wild cards can change the color of play. Wild draw cards do the same, but they have to have a matching card in the deck, or rather, a card they would be able to otherwise play. Illegally placed cards can be challenged. 

A successful challenge makes the person committing the illegal action draw 4 cards while a failed one makes the person who challenged draw 6 cards. The challenge can be made by only the person who initially had to draw the 4 cards.

Skip cards make the next person skip their turn.

The Endgame

When a player has only one remaining card in their hands, they need to say UNO. If they don’t and the other players are aware of it, they have to draw 4 more cards. The player who has no cards remaining gets a set number of points, based on the remaining cards in the other players’ hands. 

UNO is a great game that is very easy to pick up and even easier to play. It can get very competitive, so pay attention to your friends. It is a great pastime and a good way to socialize.