The Basics of Blackjack


Blackjack is a game of chance and strategy, played with one or more 52-card decks. The goal of the game is to obtain a total card value that is as close to 21 as possible without going over. Aces count as either 1 or 11, face cards as 10, and the rest at their index values.

Players bet on the dealer’s hand and are able to double their wagers by placing additional bets. The dealer also has the option to re-split aces, and this can increase their chances of winning.

Depending on the casino, dealers must be certified or licensed by the gaming commission to deal blackjack. This includes a background check and fingerprinting of the dealer. In addition, a dealer must know how to change money for the players at the table. He must be able to spot counterfeit money, as well as change the small denomination chips for higher-value chips.

There are different rules for each variation of the game, but they all involve the same basic rules. The player’s goal is to get a higher card value than the dealer without surpassing 21, while the dealer seeks to achieve the same result but against other players at the table.

The cards are dealt in a circular manner around the table and each player has two cards to their own face up, and then the dealer is given two cards to his own face down. Once all the players have their cards, the dealer starts a new round.

When the player wins a hand, they must pay the dealer their original bet plus any other bets that were made, but only when their total is higher than the dealer’s. The dealer then checks their cards and, if they have a blackjack, pays them one and a half times their initial bet.

Alternatively, the dealer can offer to take their original bets in return for insurance. This is usually an attractive proposition to players who have a good estimate of the dealer’s hole card, as it can be profitable in the long run. However, this is a bad bet for players who have no idea of the dealer’s hole card.

Insurance is a side bet that is offered on all blackjack tables and is a major part of beating the odds. The player who places the insurance bet must place a wager equal to their original bet, and once the dealer checks her hole card, if she has a ten underneath she will pay off the insurance bets of all the players who placed it.

The player can also take an insurance bet when they have a natural (two-card 21) and the dealer has a blackjack, but this is an unwise bet, as the dealer will have a blackjack less than a third of the time. If the dealer has a blackjack, all the players who took insurance will be paid 2 to 1.

There are a number of other side bets available for blackjack players, but Insurance is by far the most popular. These bets can be placed at the same time as the main bets. Some of them are betting on the dealer’s up-card, betting on the player making a poker hand with the dealer’s up-card, and many others.