Blackjack 101 > Casinos > Puerto Rico
The game begins as each player is dealt two cards. The dealer also gives himself two cards, placing one face-up and the other, known as the “hole card,” face-down. The hand with the highest total wins as long as it doesn’t exceed 21. A hand with a higher total than 21 is said to bust. Cards 2 through 10 are worth their face value, and face cards (jack, queen, king) are worth 10. An ace is worth 11 points unless this would cause the player to bust; then it is worth 1. The goal of the player is to beat the dealer by having the higher, unbusted hand. Each player plays independently with the dealer, so it is possible for the dealer to lose to one player but still beat the others in the same round.
Blackjack originated in 18th century French casinos as vingt-et-un, or twenty-one. When first introduced into the United States, twenty-one did not immediately catch on to the card-playing public, so gambling houses offered such bonuses as a 10-to-1 payout if the player’s hand consisted of the ace of spades and a black Jack (Jack of clubs or Jack of spades). This hand became known as a “blackjack” and the name stuck, even though the bonus payout was soon eliminated. As the game is currently played, a “blackjack” may not necessarily contain a jack or any black cards at all.