The Basics of Blackjack


Blackjack is a game in which players try to draw cards that total as close to 21 as possible without going over. Each player plays against the dealer, and each hand is a separate event from the other hands at the table. If a player beats the dealer, they win the round and collect their chips. If a player busts, they lose their entire bet. The game is played at almost every brick-and-mortar casino, and many online casinos offer blackjack as well.

The rules of blackjack can vary slightly from one casino to the next. For example, some casinos allow players to double down after splitting, while others don’t. These differences can affect the house edge of the game, so it’s important to familiarize yourself with the rules before you start playing.

Most blackjack games are played with a standard 52-card deck. The face cards are worth 10 points, the numbered cards are worth their printed values, and the aces can count as either 1 or 11. The goal of blackjack is to get a higher score than the dealer’s, without going over 21.

A blackjack game begins with each player being dealt two cards face up and the dealer getting one card face down. Each player must work out the value of their hand and that of the dealer’s in order to devise a strategy. A basic strategy chart is available to help players make the right decisions.

When dealing with a hard total of 8 or lower, you should hit until you are sure that the dealer has a 10-card in the hole, or you are willing to take the risk that you will go bust. You should stand on a total of 12 through 16 if the dealer has a 6 or lower showing, or when you think that you can improve your hand by taking another card.

Depending on the rules of your casino, you may also be able to double down on any two-card total, except when the dealer has a 10. You should only do this when you are confident that you will not bust and that you can make your hand stronger by taking an additional card.

Some casinos also allow players to surrender, which means giving up your hand without taking an additional card. This can reduce the house edge by around 0.15%, but it’s not a good idea to surrender if the dealer has a visible blackjack. Most players should always stick with the basic strategy chart, which will give them a good chance of winning.