Basic Blackjack Strategy


Blackjack is perhaps the most popular card game played in casinos. The goal of the game is to get cards closer in value to 21 than the dealer’s without going over. When a player’s first two cards add up to 21, the hand is called a “blackjack,” and the player receives a payout based on the table’s posted limits. The game begins when the dealer deals each player and himself two cards face up. The players then decide whether to stand (stop drawing cards) or hit (request more cards) based on a set of rules. The dealer then goes around the table, announcing card point totals.

If a player’s first two cards consist of an ace and a ten-card, or give a count of 21 in two cards, the hand is called a natural or a “blackjack.” The dealer pays out one and a half times a player’s wager for this hand. The dealer must also stand on a soft 17; otherwise, they must hit.

A player can increase their bet by adding an insurance bet, which is placed next to the original wager. This bet is only available if the dealer shows an ace as their up card. Players may place up to half of their initial wager on insurance. If the dealer has a blackjack, the insurance bet pays out 2 to 1. The rest of the wager is lost. If the dealer does not have a blackjack, the insurance bet is lost and the players’ original bets are returned to them.

Once all the players have stood or busted, the dealer’s hand is compared to each player’s. If the dealer’s hand exceeds 21, all players who did not have a blackjack lose their bets. If the dealer’s hand is higher than a player’s, that player wins. If the player and dealer have the same hand-total, the hand is considered a push and the original bet is returned to the player.

In the long run, following basic strategy can reduce the house edge to less than one percent. To play blackjack optimally, you must be able to remember a lot of information about the values of each card and the dealer’s up-card. However, there are simplified charts outlining basic strategy that can help you make the best decisions on each hand.

To maximize your winning potential, you should avoid tables that pay out 6 to 5 for blackjacks. This reduces your profit margin significantly, as it increases the amount of money that the casino must make on each blackjack hand. Additionally, you should look for a table that offers a 3 to 2 payout for blackjacks. This is the best way to ensure that you’re making the most money possible from your blackjack game.