# How to Beat the House Edge in Blackjack

Blackjack is a casino card game in which the players try to get a total of 21 or come closer to it than the dealer. The dealer’s cards are dealt face up and the player’s face down. In most blackjack games, aces count as either 1 or 11, and face cards as 10. The game also allows the player to split his or her two starting hands if they are of equal value, receiving another card for each hand and playing them independently of one another. Some casinos restrict re-splitting after splitting, and others don’t allow it at all.

In addition to the basic strategy rules, many blackjack tables have other features that can affect the house edge. These include:

#### Side bets

The most common side bet in blackjack is insurance, which is placed against the dealer’s blackjack and pays out a 1:1 payout if the dealer has a blackjack. This bet is rarely advantageous to the player, as it adds an extra layer of risk to the game.

Other side bets can include bets on the dealer having a blackjack, bets that your hand will make a particular poker hand (such as three of a kind), and more. While some side bets can be profitable, they should only be played when the player has a strong enough hand to beat the dealer’s.

#### Card counting

Keeping track of the cards that have been dealt in a blackjack game is an important skill for any serious blackjack player. This information can help the player determine which hands to play and when to stand or hit based on their current odds of beating the dealer’s hand. Using this knowledge can reduce the house advantage to a small percentage.

#### Blackjack strategy

A good blackjack strategy is based on mathematically optimal plays for all combinations of player hand and dealer up-card. These are determined by a computer analysis of millions of blackjack hands and can be learned by studying the game’s strategy chart. Using basic strategy will greatly increase the player’s chances of winning at the table and minimize the casino’s advantage over the long run.

#### Knowing when to walk away

Whenever possible, players should leave the table once they’ve won a few bets in a row. This will prevent them from becoming too greedy and losing their bankroll, and it will also allow them to avoid the bad table habits of other players. It’s usually easy to tell when a table is hot or cold by simply watching how other players act.

#### Active listening

A top blackjack dealer must be able to communicate effectively with customers and provide them with exceptional customer service. This involves not only being able to understand what is being said, but also being able to explain the game’s rules and strategies in a way that makes sense to each individual guest. This type of communication involves both verbal and nonverbal skills, including nodding and paraphrasing what was said.