The Basics of Blackjack


Blackjack is a card game in which the player competes against the dealer. The goal is to win by obtaining cards with a total value of 21 that exceeds the dealer’s hand.

Players receive two cards, and can stand or draw additional cards depending on the rules of the game. They can also surrender, which reduces their bet to half.

The game uses a standard 52-card deck, with each card worth its printed value (face cards are worth 10; numbered cards from 2 to 10 count as their printed values). Aces can either count as 1 or 11 depending on which value helps the player’s hand the most.

Basic Strategy

Several pioneers of the gaming industry have developed basic blackjack strategies that help players minimize the house edge. These include Roger Baldwin, Wilbert Cantey, Herbert Maisel, and James McDermott.

They have also helped popularize side bets for blackjack. These bets can increase your winnings or help you lose less money.

Insurance – In blackjack, insurance is a bet that the dealer has a blackjack, which pays 2 to 1. This is the only side bet that is allowed on all tables.

Before the first player starts playing, the dealer asks if any players would like to place an insurance bet of up to half their original wager. Once everyone has done so, the dealer checks her hole card to see if she has a blackjack. If she does, she takes the insurance bet and pays out the original wager to the players who made it.

When the dealer doesn’t have a blackjack, she takes the insurance bets and puts them in the bank. Then she deals the next round of cards.

Splitting a Pair

When you have two cards of the same value, you can “split” them up to three times. This means that you can have four separate hands with the same initial bet.

Doing this can be risky, as it increases your chances of busting. However, it can be a good way to protect yourself against dealers who have a bad hand.

The best advice for new players is to practice before you play a live game. This will allow you to become familiar with the rules and learn when you should bet and how much you should bet.

Be aware of Hot and Cold Tables

If a blackjack table is hot, it usually has a higher payout percentage than the other tables at the casino. You can tell which ones are hot and which ones are cold by watching the behavior of the players at the table.

Keeping track of your betting is vital to being successful at blackjack. If you are losing too much, it’s time to raise your bet.

It’s also a good idea to start with a low bet and gradually increase it as you gain experience. This will help you maintain a steady edge on the table without having to make too many adjustments in your betting.