Blackjack Basic Strategy

Blackjack is one of the world’s most beloved casino card games and requires skill rather than luck to succeed at. Learning basic strategy will enable you to reduce house edge and maximize winning potential; we recommend studying either a basic strategy chart or so as to learn the appropriate play in every situation.

Players receive two cards each, while the dealer receives one facing up card. A hand of 21 on its first two cards – or “blackjack”, also referred to as ‘natural” – wins immediately, so to beat this scenario and claim victory a player must beat both dealer’s hands (if their hand exceeds 21, they lose and their bets are returned), or tie with them closer than 21 for a push, in which case both original bets are returned).

The rules of blackjack vary slightly between casinos. While most utilize a standard 52-card deck, others may utilize double or triple decks; additionally, this will affect your house edge; double-deck games tend to offer lower house edges than single deck games and four deck games have higher ones than one deck games.

Blackjack offers many supplemental bets, such as insurance which pays out when a dealer’s up card is an ace, or “doubling down”, whereby a player increases their bet by up to twice that amount – both options should only be undertaken when using proper strategy and only then should doubling down be considered a prudent move.

At times, when dealing with dealers that feature an Ace as their up card, a player may attempt to create a “soft 17” by adding one additional card. While this strategy may provide some advantage over standing against these types of cards (especially against dealers with 4, 5 or 6 up), knowing when it is more advantageous to stand may also be important; soft 17 against 4, 5, or 6 dealers is often optimal in these circumstances while standing would likely result in disaster.

Some casinos have recently adjusted the payout on blackjack from 3 to 2 to 6 to 5, increasing the house edge and rendering card counters less profitable in playing the game. Most skilled players won’t make this mistake, but those not paying attention could easily fall for this scam. The rules of blackjack are determined by governing regulations which establish permissible rule variations at each casino’s discretion, with many possible side bets offered at once alongside main wager. Bets made as side bets typically require the same amount as the main wager and may be placed on any card belonging to either player or dealer, such as insurance bet. Popular side bets include betting on dealer hole card(s), betting a specific suit(s) or that the dealer will bust.