The Basics of Blackjack


Blackjack is a casino card game in which players compete against the dealer to win. To win, a player must have a higher, unbusted hand than the dealer. If both the player and the dealer have the same point value, the hand is called a tie (a “push”). The house edge in blackjack is the amount by which the casino gains money on each bet that is made. The house edge can be minimized by following basic strategy and avoiding side bets such as insurance.

The goal of blackjack is to make a hand of cards that totals 21 or as close to it as possible without going over. You play against the dealer; you do not compete with the other players at the table. The dealer’s goal is to beat your hand by having a better unbusted hand. A dealer’s hand is a total of their up card and two of the dealer’s cards. If the dealer has a blackjack, it beats all hands except another blackjack. The player’s hand is a total of the first two cards they receive.

You have several options when playing blackjack, including splitting and doubling down. Splitting occurs when a player is dealt two cards of the same value, such as two aces or two tens. The dealer will then deal one additional card to each of the split hands. The two new hands are played independently of each other and treated as a normal blackjack hand. Doubling down allows a player to increase their original bet by up to 2 times. This option is usually only available if the player feels very confident in their chances of winning.

If the dealer has a face card showing, you can also buy insurance. The insurance bet is placed next to your initial bet and the dealer will check her hole card. If she has a ten underneath, she has a blackjack and all players who bought insurance will be paid even money on their wagers. If the dealer does not have a blackjack, she will continue dealing her cards and the game will proceed like usual.

Aside from these basic actions and betting options, some blackjack games offer other side bets such as insurance and a Bonus Spin bet that pays when the player gets an Ace in their first two cards. These side bets do not affect the outcome of the main blackjack hand but can add to the overall fun and excitement of the game.

The rules of blackjack can vary from one casino to the next, so it is important to understand them before playing. For example, some casinos pay 6 to 5 for blackjack instead of 3 to 2, which increases the house edge significantly. This is not a good rule to play by and should be avoided. In addition, some casinos have other rules that can reduce the house edge such as early surrender; this allows a player to forfeit half of their wager against a dealer face or ace before the dealer checks for blackjack.