A Beginner’s Guide to Blackjack
Blackjack is a card game where players try to win money by having the highest hand against the dealer’s. It is played with a conventional deck of 52 cards, and the goal is to accumulate cards that total as close to 21 as possible without going over 21, which is called busting.
Every blackjack game is based on a set of rules that dictate which moves a player should make. These rules are designed to maximize a player’s chances of winning, but the game is still highly dependent on luck.
Counting the Cards
Blackjack players use a technique called card counting to increase their odds of winning. It involves keeping track of each card that is removed from the deck, allowing them to determine whether or not the deck has more large cards (those with a high value) or smaller cards (those with a low value).
When you see a card counter at a casino, don’t assume they are there to scam you. They are trying to help you beat the house and can be very helpful.
Insurance and Splits
Most casinos offer a side bet known as insurance, which pays 2 to 1 when the dealer’s up card is an ace. This bet can be profitable in some circumstances, but it also loses money in others.
Another blackjack strategy is known as “splits”. If you have two hands with equal values, you can break them into separate hands and double your bet. This is a good option for when you have a small hand against a dealer’s weak up card, or if you are unsure of which cards to take.
A third strategy is known as “hitting”. This is when you draw additional cards to your hand, until you either hit or stand.
The first thing you need to do when playing blackjack is get familiar with the deck. You need to know what the value of each card is and how many times it counts as a “natural”. Learn the values of the face cards (tens), numbered cards (2-10), and aces (1 or 11).
When you are ready to play, you can join a blackjack table. Then you will be dealt two cards, which you can stand on or draw from the shoe. You can also request more cards if you have a strong hand against the dealer’s weak up card or if you are unsure of which card to take.
You can use our strategy cheat sheets to guide your decisions during the game. We recommend keeping these open on a separate window so that you can refer to them as the game progresses.
If you are new to the game of blackjack, start with the basic strategy cheat sheet and you’ll soon find yourself winning more often!
How to Stand
In most blackjack games, you have the choice of standing on one or more cards. You can stand if the dealer has an ace showing or if your upcard is a six.