Blackjack is a card game that requires skill to play. While many people think the game is based on luck, it’s actually a mathematically correct game that can be improved through practice. The best way to get the most out of your blackjack game is to know when to hit, stand, and split. A basic strategy guide will help you make the right decisions and minimize your losses.
A blackjack game is played on a semicircular table with one or more dealers and up to seven players (or “spots”). The dealer stands behind the card and chip rack and is faced by the players. The object of the game is to have a hand with a value that is closer to 21 than the dealer’s. If your hand goes over 21, you’re out and lose your bet. A hand that beats the dealer’s is a win, or a push. If the dealer has a blackjack, the players receive a payout of their bets based on the posted rules.
The dealer deals each player two cards face up and himself one card face down. You can choose to ask for another card (hit) or stick with your current hand (stand). The dealer must hit until her cards total 17 or higher. You can also play blackjack variations with side bets, such as the “four 20s” rule that lets you bet on a total of four matching twenties.
You can also try your luck at blackjack online. Most major gambling sites have blackjack games and most offer free practice play. However, before you play for real money, be sure to understand the rules and betting limits of the games you’re interested in. Then, you can be prepared to play for longer and make better decisions about your bankroll.
When to hit in blackjack
The basic rule of hitting is that you should do so when your hand is likely to improve. The exception to this is when the dealer has a card showing that he or she is likely to bust. If this is the case, it is wise to stand instead of taking another card, as you would only be increasing your chances of going bust.
When to double down in blackjack
A good time to double down is when your hand has a value of 10 or 11, or when you have an Ace that can be counted as either 1 or 11. The reason you should double down in this situation is that the additional card will almost always boost your point total to 21 or more, and this will increase your odds of beating the dealer’s hand.
It’s important to have a bankroll when playing blackjack and to stick with it. While it can be tempting to increase your betting amounts each time you win, this is a recipe for disaster. Progressive betting increases can quickly drain your bankroll and you may end up spending more than you can afford to.