Basic Blackjack Strategy


Blackjack is a game of skill where the player can maximise their chances of winning, while minimising their losses. The key is to know your basic strategy. This is a set of rules that, when followed, will give you the best chance of beating the dealer. This is based on the cards you have, the dealer’s up card and the rules of the game.

To make a bet, the player places a cash amount on one or more of the betting spots on the blackjack table. The dealer then converts the cash into chips and places them in front of the player. The player may then decide whether to hit, stand, double, split or surrender. A player wins if his hand totals higher than the dealer’s, or if the dealer busts.

The best hands to play are those of a pair of Aces or any other ten-valued card, known as a blackjack. This pays 3:2 on the bet and is a good starting point. Splitting Aces and 8s is also a smart move, as they rid you of the worst hand in blackjack, a 16 (which pays 1:1).

You should always hit when your cards add up to 11 or less. It’s almost impossible to go bust at this point, so you have a good chance of making a better hand. If the dealer is showing a 7, 8, 9, or 10, you should stand instead.

Doubling is a great option when you hold a strong hand, such as a 6 and 5 against the dealer’s upcard of 5. This gives you a high probability of beating the dealer, and doubles your bet, which increases your profit.

It’s important to know when to stay, and not hit, if you have a strong hand such as 16 against the dealer’s 10. This is because if you hit, you will likely bust, and lose your bet. If you stay, the dealer will most likely have a higher hand than yours, and this will result in a push, where you and the dealer each lose half of your bet.

It’s also a good idea to practice keeping a running count while playing blackjack. This is a simple way to track the number of cards in each deck, and can help you make smart decisions when hitting or standing. Roger Baldwin, Wilbert Cantey, Herbert Maisel, and James McDermott, referred to as the Four Horsemen of Aberdeen, developed the first reasonably accurate basic strategy for blackjack in 1956. They used hand calculators to prove that the game offered the best odds when players followed a set of rules. There are now many different blackjack strategies available, and you should choose the one that suits your preferences. However, you should avoid side bets, which increase the house edge and decrease your chances of winning.