The Basics of Blackjack


Blackjack is a card game played by one or more players against a dealer. It uses one or more standard 52-card decks and has a simple objective: to get a hand value closer to 21 than the dealer’s. To do so, you must draw cards and decide whether to stand (keep the same cards) or hit (request more cards) based on predetermined rules. The game is popular with many casino visitors due to its relatively low house edge (2% or less). This can be further reduced to near-perfect levels by using a basic strategy chart and proper bankroll management.

The cards in a blackjack hand are ranked according to their numerical values: number cards (2-10) are worth their respective numbers, face cards (Jack, Queen, King) are valued at 10, and an Ace is worth either 1 or 11 depending on the type of blackjack being played. You can also form a hand by combining two or more of the same cards in some situations, which are called splitting or doubling. When you split, each additional card must be aces, although some casinos allow other combinations as well.

After the player has made their wagers, the dealer will deal each player two cards. The player can then choose to “hit” and request more cards or “stand” and keep the current ones. Once all players have decided, the dealer will reveal his or her card and act according to predetermined rules.

If the dealer has a blackjack, the player loses his or her original bet. If the player has a blackjack and the dealer does not, it is a push, and neither the player nor the dealer wins the round. In the event of a tie, the dealer collects all bets, reshuffles and starts a new round.

Proper bankroll management is important for long-term success in blackjack. A player should determine a total bankroll for each session and only gamble with that amount. Attempting to win more than you can afford can lead to emotional decisions and potential financial strain. In addition, it is recommended to only wager about one to two percent of your bankroll per hand.

There are a few blackjack betting options available to the player: Insurance – A side bet that pays 2 to 1 if the dealer has a blackjack; doubling down – The option of requesting another card while adding an additional bet equal to your original stake; and surrender – The option to forfeit the hand for only half your initial bet.

The best strategy for winning at blackjack is to play with a basic strategy chart and stick to it. This chart will help you make the right decision based on your initial hand value and the dealer’s card. If you do this, you will increase your odds of winning by up to 2%. Regardless of what other players on your table do or how much you’ve won or lost in previous sessions, always use the basic strategy.