The Basics of Blackjack


Blackjack is a card game played by one or more players against the dealer. Its popularity is due to two main factors: a low house edge (about 2%), and simple rules that are identical in all casinos. The game also has a number of variations and side bets that can increase the stakes, but they are usually not worth the extra risk.

The goal is to have a hand value that is closer to 21 than the dealer’s without going bust. The other players at the table are not a concern; your hand competes only against the dealer’s. Some people try to improve their chances of winning by counting cards. Although this can be an effective strategy, it is difficult to master and requires a lot of practice.

When you have a hand that adds up to 11 or more, it is always better to stand than to hit. This is because it is very hard to go bust with a total of 11. If the dealer shows a 7, 10, or Ace, it is best to hit.

If your first two cards are an ace and a ten-card, you have a “blackjack,” which pays one and a half times your bet. If the dealer has a blackjack, all players who do not have a blackjack lose their bets. If the dealer and a player both have blackjacks, the hand is a push, and all bets are collected and reshuffled before a new round begins.

During the game, you can choose to hit, stand, split, or double down your bet. You should be aware of the rules and regulations for each type of move in your chosen casino. If you aren’t familiar with the rules, check out a blackjack cheat sheet. These guides will help you understand the game’s strategy and maximize your payoff.

When you’re playing blackjack, it’s important to know when to hit and when to stand. It’s also good to know when to double down, if your hand is in a favorable position. Doubling down is when you ask the dealer for another card when you are confident that it will not cause you to bust. However, you should only do this when you have a strong enough hand to beat the dealer.

When you’re ready to play, make sure to set your bankroll. You should never bet more than you can afford to lose, and it’s also a good idea to stick with the same bet size each time. This way, you won’t lose your money too quickly and can continue to win more hands. It’s important to remember that the dealer is always trying to beat you, so if you get into a losing streak, it may be time to walk away for awhile. However, don’t be afraid to try again later. It’s not uncommon for players to go on multiple losing streaks before finally spiking a winning hand. This is why many players use the Martingale system, a negative progression that doubles your bet after every loss until you win.