The object of the players is to secure from their cards--the pips on
which count as already mentioned--twenty-one points, or as near that
number as possible; hence the title. During the progress of the game
the dealer pays those players who secure better hands than his own,
and receives from all who over-draw, or whose points are lower or equal
to his, the only exception being in the case of a tie with a natural
Vingt-un, when neither the holder nor the dealer pays anything to the
other, the tie in such a case simply nullifying matters between the
two. If the dealer over-draws, he only pays to those who are standing in,
and does not return anything to those players who have paid him on their
over-drawing; and herein lies the main advantage of the deal, for, as will
be found in practice, the majority of hands are decided by over-drawing,
which must necessarily be to the benefit of the dealer.
The dealer having been decided upon, takes the pack of cards and shuffles
them, after which he has the pack cut by the player on his right-hand side,
and then proceeds to distribute one card, face downwards and unexposed,
to each player, dealing in regular order from left to right.
Each player, in turn, looks at his card, and stakes on it whatever amount
he chooses--which he usually does by placing coins or counters in front
of him. In deciding on the amount of his stake, a player is guided by
the chance he considers the card gives him of ultimately making twenty-one,
or a near approach thereto. When it comes round to the dealer's turn,
he also looks at his card, but does not stake anything upon it; he may,
however, if he considers his card a good one, double the stakes of the
other players, which he does by calling "double." In that case the
individual players add the "double" to their stake, and the amounts being
thus settled all round, the dealer gives a second card to each player,
in the same order as the first, and also unexposed. The dealer then looks
at his own two cards, and if he should have received a natural Vingt-un,
he at once declares it; throws the two cards, face upwards, on the table,
and collects the stakes from the other players, the amount in this case
being double from each, as the result of the Vingt-un; so that, if the
dealer had previously doubled, as he probably would have done when he
found his first card was an ace or a 10 (or court card), he would
collect four times the amount staked by each o the players on their
original card. The only exception to this is in the case of a player who,
like the dealer, has received a natural Vingt-un--in that case neither
pays to the other, as previously mentioned.
If either of the players other than the dealer should receive a natural
Vingt-un, he should at once declare it, and claim double the amount of
his stake, or of the double, if that was called, from the dealer, who is
thereupon deprived of his privilege of dealing, the right of continuing
the deal passing to the player on his left-hand side.--It is often agreed
that a natural shall not throw out the dealer, and in some cases the
holder of a natural receives a stake from each of the other players.
(See Variations in regard to the two points.)
If the dealer has not secured a natural Vingt-un, he turns to the player
on his left, and, if that player desires it, he gives him--face upwards,
and from off the top of the remainder of the pack--a third, fourth,
or fifth card; in fact, as many more as may be required by the player,
until he considers it safe to stand, or has over-drawn, i.e., got
beyond the 21 points. For instance, suppose a player receives at first a
4, and then a 9, making 13; he asks for a third card, and may receive a 7,
making his total 20, on which he would stand. Had his third card been a 9,
it would have been an over-draw, and the player would have had to pay the
dealer the amount he staked, or the double, if the dealer had doubled.
At the same time he would throw up his cards, or hand them to the player
on the dealer's right, who is termed the pone, and whose duty it is to
collect the cards as they are played and keep them in readiness for the
dealer when he requires a further supply. A player when throwing up his
cards must not expose the two first dealt to him, neither may the
pone or either of the other players look at them.
Having settled with the player on his left, the dealer goes to the next
in order, and treats him in a similar manner, and so on, until he has gone
the round of the table. He then turns up his own two cards in front of
him, and in view of the company, and decides, as the others have done,
as to whether he will stand on the two he has, or take a further card or
cards. If he decides to stand on the two he already has, he calls on those
players who have not over-drawn to declare their hands, and each in turn
does so, the dealer receiving the stakes when his points are higher or are
equal to those of the other players, and paying when his points are lower
than theirs. If he elects to take a third card, he deals it from the top
of the pack; and if the third card does not satisfy him, he may take more;
when satisfied, he challenges the others, as just explained. If, however,
he over-draws, he pays to all who are standing, but not to those who have
previously over-drawn and thrown up.
If the dealer should succeed in securing such cards (other than an ace
and 10) as to make exactly 21 points--a "drawn" Vingt-un--he receives
double stakes from each of the players, excepting those who have also drawn
a Vingt-un, who only pay the amount staked; and those who have previously
over-drawn and thrown up, who do not have to pay anything further.
If a player has a drawn Vingt-un and the dealer has not, or the dealer
has over-drawn, then the dealer has to pay the holder of the Vingt-un
double the amount of his stake, or of the double if that has been called.
Should any of the players receive for the first cards two of the same
denomination,--for instance, two aces, two twos, two kings, two queens,
etc.,--he has the option of staking a separate amount on each of them,
but it is not compulsory that he should do so. If he decides to divide his
pair, he puts on the second card a separate stake, the amount of which need
not be similar to that of his original one, and then asks the dealer for
two other cards with which to complete the two hands he then possesses.
If either of these later cards should be of the same denomination as the
first two, the player may also stand independently on that card, in which
case he would, of course, have three hands, with a separate stake on each.
The same opportunity would occur if he received all four of the kind
--he could then play on four independent hands. This division of cards
is equally available for the dealer, or all or any of the other players,
so that two or more may have duplicate hands in the same round, provided
they receive similar cards at the outset, for it is only when the original
pairs occur in the first two cards that it is permissible to divide them;
that is to say, if the third card received by any player matches either
of those already in the hand, no division is allowable.
At this game the pack of cards is not re-united after each round;
the dealer works with the one pack until he gets to the last card, and
the pone collects the used cards as they are disposed of by the players.
When the dealer comes to the last card of the pack, he does not deal it or
otherwise use it as he has done with the others, but hands it, unexposed,
to the pone, who adds it to those already in his care, shuffles them,
and hands them to the dealer, who proceeds with the game as before.
The same procedure is repeated until one of the players secures a natural
Vingt-un, which, unless the dealer also holds a natural that hand, puts
the dealer out, and the deal passes, either to the next player, or to
the holder of the natural, as may have been decided upon. It is, however,
best to adopt the former system, for the reason already given, and
in that case it is often considered desirable to have a pool, which is
secured by the player declaring the natural. (See Variations.)
There is one exception to the power of a natural Vingt-un to put the
dealer out--namely, when it occurs in the first hand of the deal; then
the dealer disregards it, except that he has to pay to the holder as for
a drawn Vingt-un, and proceeds with his deal until a second natural occurs.
We will now amplify, as far as is necessary, the points already touched
upon, and introduce the Variations recognised in connection with the game.
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