The Basics of Blackjack


Blackjack is a game of cards played between the dealer and one or more players. It is a game of strategy, and luck plays a small role. In order to win, the player must know how to read the game’s rules, understand his or her own hand, and the dealer’s. The object of the game is to get a total value of 21 or as close to it as possible without going over. The dealer’s hand is compared to the player’s, and the person with the higher total wins. The dealer pays the winning bet and collects the losing bets. If the dealer and player have the same total, it is a push and both bets are returned to the players.

There are many different strategies for playing blackjack, and a basic understanding of the game is required to learn them all. It is also a good idea to have more than one strategy, as each scenario is different and requires a slightly different approach. Some of these strategies are universal, but others can be specific to the type of table or environment in which the game is being played.

To begin, a player must decide whether to stand or hit his or her hand. To hit, the player must signal to the dealer that he or she would like another card by making a beckoning motion or tapping the table behind the cards lightly with a finger. When a player hits, he or she must then make a decision on what to do with the new card.

The options in blackjack are to stand (remain at the current value of your hand), double down (request one additional card while adding a bet equal to your original wager), or surrender (forfeit your hand and lose only half of your initial stake). When available, insurance bets are a smart way to protect your bankroll against the possibility that the dealer has a blackjack.

A good rule of thumb is to always split 8s and Aces, unless the dealer has an ace showing, in which case you should hit instead. It is also a good idea to double down on hard 11s, as this will often result in more substantial gains than hitting.

In blackjack, the objective is to beat the dealer. Winning is accomplished by having a higher hand total than the dealer’s, or by having a natural (Ace and a 10 valued card), which beats all other hands except for another natural. If the dealer has a natural, they pay the player and collect the bets of all other players who do not have a natural. If all players have a natural, the dealer will collect the bets of all other players and return their own. In a tie, the player and dealer pay each other.