Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games. It is easy to learn, and the rules are universal. However, it is also a game that can be extremely difficult to master. Using the tips and strategies in this article, you will be able to play your best and win more often!
The objective of blackjack is to have a hand value closer to 21 than that of the dealer without going over. Players compete only against the dealer, not against other players at the table. A player’s hand can be improved by adding cards or splitting pairs. The player may “Double” his original stake on any two-card combination, receiving one additional card. The player may “Split” any pair (including Aces), receiving a second card for each of the split cards. The player may “Insurance” against the dealer’s showing of an ace by placing up to half of his original bet on the ‘Insurance bar’ above his own cards. This bet is paid at 2 to 1 if the dealer has a blackjack.
Before the cards are dealt, players and the dealer each place a bet in the betting areas of the table. The player is then dealt two cards and must decide whether to ‘Stand’ or ‘Draw’ based on a set of rules. Typically, the dealer will also have two cards face up and must hit if his or her total is less than 17.
A dealer’s first card is a ‘face’ card. A ‘face card’ is any card that is not an Ace. All other cards are assigned a value based on their rank: number cards are worth their face value, picture cards are worth 10 and the aces count as either one or 11. A ‘natural’ is a two-card total of 21. If a player has an ace and a ten-value card as his or her first two cards, this is a natural as well.
If the player’s first two cards total 21, he or she wins instantly. The dealer will then pay the player based on posted limits and remove the cards. Some casinos allow players to surrender against a dealer’s blackjack, but the practice is usually discouraged and not profitable for the player.
Doubling down is an excellent way to increase your winning potential in blackjack. It is available only on a two-card hand and before another card is drawn. Taking advantage of a favorable situation by doubling down can greatly improve your chances of winning the hand. The Blackjack Basic Strategy Engine can tell you when to double down for the most optimal results.
Insurance is a side-bet against the dealer that pays out two to one if the dealer has a blackjack. It is a huge money-maker for the casinos, but it is not a good bet for the player in most situations. In fact, if you know when the remaining deck is rich in ten-value cards, it can be a profitable side-bet for the experienced player.