The Basics of Blackjack Strategy


Blackjack is a game of chance, but it can be played with a bit of strategy. The goal of blackjack is to beat the dealer’s hand by scoring 21 or as close to it as possible without going over. The game can be played in casinos, bars, and even private rooms.

There are several variations of the game, but the basic rules are the same. The player is dealt 2 cards and the dealer is dealt one card face up and the other face down. The players can choose to stand, hit, surrender, double down, or split their bets. If the player’s first two cards total 21, that is a “blackjack” and the player wins immediately. If the player’s hand exceeds 21 (known as “busting”), he loses his bet.

A soft hand is one that can be busted but not by the dealer’s up-card. For example, a player may have sixteen and the dealer has a six. If the dealer has a six, it is advisable to stand rather than draw another card.

The dealer’s up-card is called the “hole card.” It is important to know whether it is a ten or a jack because the odds are better that it is a ten than a jack.

If a dealer’s up-card is a jack or an ace, the player can ask for “even money” and the dealer will automatically give him a 1 to 1 payoff on his bet before she checks her downcard for a potential blackjack. This is an important strategy for a blackjack player to know, especially if he or she wants to maximize his or her chances of winning a large sum of money in a single hand.

Insurance is an optional side bet available at most casinos. It pays when the dealer’s up-card is an ace or a 10-value card. It is most popular among card counters, but can be a good choice for other players as well.

Some casinos offer additional side bets, such as “Dealer Match” and “Aces and Faces.” These bets pay when the player’s first two cards are the same as the dealer’s up-card.

When a dealer’s up-card is an aces, the player can also ask for a “double down” to increase his or her bet by another amount. This is a good strategy for people who want to make more money from their bets, but it should be avoided by novice players.

The king of casino games is a tough guy to beat, but you can improve your odds by learning to play blackjack correctly. The game is easy to learn, but requires skill and knowledge of probability theory.

You can learn the game by taking a class at a local casino or joining a blackjack school. There are classes at the Point Place Casino in Bridgeport, YBR Casino & Sports Book in Chittenango, and a special blackjack dealer development facility in Oneida.

Blackjack dealers must work in shifts, often on evenings, weekends and holidays. They spend long periods in front of a gaming table, handling and feeling the cards, reaching with their arms and talking frequently with guests.