How to Win at Blackjack

Blackjack is a card game that is widely played at casino tables across the globe. It is a fairly simple game to learn but can be tricky to win at because it is based on strategy rather than luck.

The objective of the game is to get a hand value that totals closer to 21 than the dealer’s hand. When this occurs, players win an equal amount to their wager. The player can also win a 3 to 2 payoff on a winning blackjack, while the dealer gets paid only at 1 to 1.

Basic Strategy

A blackjack is a two-card hand with a value of 21, called a “natural.” It beats any other hand, even if the total is less than 21. Depending on the rules of the particular game, it may pay a higher bonus payoff (e.g., 3 to 2) or lose the bet if the dealer also has a natural.

Insurance Bets

When a dealer’s face-up card is an ace, the dealer will ask you if you want to make an insurance bet. The insurance bet pays 2 to 1 if the dealer has a blackjack on their first two cards.

You should only make this bet if you have a very strong chance of getting a blackjack, as the house edge can be as high as 13% if you don’t take insurance! You can place an insurance bet on any two cards, but it is important to remember that you must always check the down card first!

If the dealer has a ten-valued card, you can choose to play “even money.” This option gives you a 1 to 1 payoff on your bet, just like making an insurance bet. It is also a good option for playing split hands, as you get a 1:1 payout instead of the standard 3 to 2.

Double Down

If your first two cards have a total of ten or eleven, you can double your original bet up to twice the size. This can be a very profitable move, but you should remember that it is very easy to get carried away and over-bet on your first two cards!

Draw a Card

If you are dealt a hand that is close to 21 and you have an opportunity to draw a card, you should always do so. This is called a “hit.” You should hit on totals of 11-12, 17-19, and 20-21, and you should stand on all other values.

The dealer’s up-card is usually an ace, but it can also be any number between 2 and 6. If you are dealt a ten-valued card on your first two cards, you should always hit, as the odds of getting a ten-valued card are much better than other cards that are not worth ten.

The game of blackjack was created in the 1950s by mathematician John Mathewson and his friend Harry Hopkins. They developed a strategy that is the mathematically optimal way to play every combination of player hand and dealer up-card. It’s called “basic strategy” and was designed to take the guesswork out of the decision-making process. It can be used to play any variation of blackjack, including multiple-deck games and single-deck games.