Basic Blackjack Strategy

Blackjack is a casino card game where players and dealer each get two cards, and the goal is to make a hand that has a value closer to 21 than the dealer’s. There are a number of different ways to achieve this, including splitting pairs, doubling down, and hitting. The rules of the game are complex, but once you learn basic blackjack strategy, you’ll be able to play with confidence and even reduce the house edge to less than 1% (rules dependent).

The game was first brought into the casinos in 1956, and it is now one of the most popular table games. It is not the same as it was 70 years ago, however; there have been many subtle–and some major–changes to the rules of the game.

In the beginning, the game was simple: if you had a higher total than the dealer, you won; if not, you lost. The game’s popularity grew, and the rules were changed to allow for the player to double down on certain situations, split pairs, and more. But there’s one thing that has remained unchanged: the basic strategy for winning blackjack.

Before you begin playing blackjack, you must place a bet. You can do this by placing cash in the betting spots on the table, or by using casino chips that are stacked neatly in front of you. The dealer will then convert your cash to chips and slide them toward you.

After you’ve placed your bet, the dealer will deal each player and himself two cards. You can tell the dealer that you want another card by making a beckoning motion with your finger, or by tapping the table behind your cards with your finger. The dealer will then give you another card, which is added to your total. You must never hit a hand with an ace, or you’ll bust and lose your bet.

You must also consider when to hit and stand. A good time to hit is when your cards add up to 11 or less, because you can’t bust at this point. On the other hand, you should stand when the dealer shows a seven or higher, because this is a very bad time to hit.

If your unbusted hand exceeds the dealer’s total, you win and are paid at 1:1 odds. If the dealer’s hand is closer to 21, or equal to it, the hand is a push and neither you nor the dealer wins.

A smart way to play blackjack is to increase your wager only when things are going well, and decrease it as soon as you start losing money. This way, you’ll be in control of your bankroll and will have a much better chance of ending each gaming session in the black. It’s a great way to make more money at the tables, and you can always raise your stakes again when you feel confident you’ll be winning. This way, you won’t risk losing more than you can afford to lose.