#### The Basics of Blackjack

Blackjack is a casino card game that pits you against the dealer. The game is played with a standard 52-card deck and the value of cards is determined by their number (two through ten) or face-value, for jacks, queens, and kings; or one or 11 for an ace. The goal is to get a hand total that’s closer to 21 than the dealer’s without going over. The players place bets in designated areas on the table and are dealt two cards each; the dealer gets one card face up.

You can choose to ’stay’ or ‘hit’ after you receive your cards. Each time you hit, a new card is added to your hand; if your cards add up to 21 or better, you have a ’blackjack’ and win the round. The dealer will then pay your bet based on the posted limits and remove your cards. The dealer also has the option to draw additional cards for his or her hand. If the dealer’s hand has a point total of 21 or better, all winning bets are paid out (1/1 for Blackjack). If the dealer doesn’t have a Blackjack and you don’t have a Blackjack, it’s called a push (you get your original bet back) and the player with the higher point total wins.

The rules of Blackjack are very clear and simple. It is a game of math and probability; not chance. There is a right answer and a wrong one for every action you take in the game, whether it be to hit, stand, split, or double down. You must use the strategy that works best for you – and that can only be learned by understanding basic probability.

In many Blackjack games, players can choose to take insurance. Buying insurance gives you the right to expect the dealer to have a ten in the hole less than one-third of the time. However, buying insurance loses you money in the long run.

Some casinos have changed the payout for Blackjacks from 3 to 2 to 6 to 5. This increases the house edge and makes card counting almost impossible, even at those casinos that still offer it. If you are planning to play a game of Blackjack at a casino, make sure to read the rules on the felt before sitting down!

Many people think that Blackjack is a game of luck; that couldn’t be more wrong. There is a very definite strategy for how to play the game that will maximize your profits and minimize your losses. It’s called basic strategy, and it is very easy to learn. It is the single most important thing that you need to know if you want to be a successful Blackjack player. Without it, you’ll just be throwing your money away. Math, which may seem scary on a test, can actually be your friend in Blackjack. It’s a game that rewards you for listening to its advice, not ignoring it.