Basic Tips For Playing Blackjack

Blackjack is a card game in which players compete against the dealer. The goal is to have a hand with a value of 21 or as close to it as possible without going over. The game is played with one or more decks of cards and all face cards count as 10. An ace counts as 1 or 11 as determined by the player. A player’s best hand is a pair of Aces and a picture card or 10 which is called a “Blackjack” or a “natural”. A natural cannot be beaten by the dealer, and the player receives their bet back.

There are a number of different strategies for playing blackjack. Some are simple while others, like counting cards, require some practice. However, a basic strategy can improve your odds of winning. It is important to stick with a single strategy and not deviate from it based on your feelings or gut instinct.

Splitting is an option if your starting cards are a pair such as two nines or two threes. By doing so, you place a second bet equal to your original one and then play each of the new hands as separate hands. This allows you to hit more times with a lower chance of busting. If you have a strong enough hand, you can also double down by increasing your bet amount to twice the original bet size. However, this is a risky move and you should only do it when you are confident that the additional card will help you beat the dealer.

When to hit

The most common mistake blackjack players make is to hit when they should stand. Hitting can often be a waste of your time, especially when the dealer has a weak showing such as a six or a seven. It is also not a good idea to hit when you have 12 against a dealer’s 3. This is a weak hand that has less than a 5% chance of pushing and you will give the dealer an advantage.

When to stand

Choosing to stand is often the smartest decision in blackjack. You will be rewarded with a slightly higher chance of winning by doing so. Standing also prevents you from making unnecessary mistakes by taking bad risks with your remaining cards.

When to surrender

Surrendering is a good option when the dealer has a very strong hand such as an ace or a ten. However, you must be careful not to do so too often, as it can be costly to your bankroll. It is also important to remember that blackjack is a two-person game and not to get too caught up in what other players are doing at the table. This will distract you from focusing on your own game and may cause you to lose. In addition, it is important to be aware that the rules of a blackjack game can vary from casino to casino. Make sure you understand these variations before beginning your game.