Basic Blackjack Strategy

Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games. It’s easy to learn and fun to play. While the game has a house edge, it is possible for players to reduce that advantage to near zero by using what’s known as basic strategy.

The object of the game is to get a hand total closer to 21 than that of the dealer, without going over. The player competes only against the dealer, and not the other players at the table. The game begins when the dealer gives each player two cards face up. The players can choose to ask for another card (hit), stand with their current hand, or double down on the first two cards they receive. Doubling down means increasing the initial bet amount to twice its original value, and allowing a single additional card. This is a good option when the player holds a strong hand, such as a pair of 10s against the dealer’s upcard of 5.

A pair of tens is called a “blackjack” and is an automatic winner if the dealer doesn’t have a blackjack. A player with blackjack is paid 3:2 on their initial bet. However, many casinos have reduced this payout to 6:5 in order to discourage card counting.

Like all casino games, blackjack has a built-in house advantage that will play itself out over the long run. But unlike most casino games, blackjack is a game of skill, and with a little practice, it’s possible to reduce the house edge to almost zero.

There are several important blackjack terms that every player should know. Among these are “hit” and “stand.” In blackjack, hitting is asking for an additional card to improve your hand. If you hit and go over 21, you bust, and lose the hand to the dealer. Stand is the opposite of hitting; it’s when you stay with your current hand, not asking for any more cards.

Another important term is “split.” This blackjack strategy is when you divide your initial two cards into separate hands, and then treat each of these new hands independently. Typically, you will split if you have two cards of the same rank, such as two aces or two face cards.

Finally, you should be aware of when to take “insurance,” a blackjack betting option that allows you to place an insurance bet against the dealer’s potential blackjack. While this is a risky bet for the dealer, it’s an excellent way to increase your winning streaks and keep your bankroll growing! But don’t overdo it; just as with poker, you should walk away when the table isn’t giving you a good chance to win. Otherwise, you’ll simply be burning through your money. Good luck!