How to Play Blackjack


Blackjack is a card game played between the dealer and the players. The aim is to beat the dealer by getting a higher total than him or her without going over 21 (also known as busting). The game is usually played at a table that seats 2-7 players. The cards are dealt from a standard 52-card deck, with number cards (2 through 10) scoring the value printed on them and face cards (Jack, Queen, King) scoring 10 points and the Ace counting as either 1 or 11.

The first step in learning how to play blackjack is memorizing a basic strategy chart. This tells you when to hit, stand, double, split or surrender based on the dealer’s upcard and your cards. This chart will ensure that you make the statistically best decision each hand. Don’t deviate from the chart just because you have a hunch; stick to basic strategy and you’ll improve your odds of winning.

Once you’ve mastered basic strategy, you can move on to more advanced techniques. One of the most common is card counting. This involves keeping track of the number of cards that have been dealt and increasing your bet size as the count goes up. There are many different card counting systems, with the most popular being Hi-Lo. These systems assign values to each of the cards, with aces counting as either 1 or 11 depending on how they help your hand.

Counting cards isn’t always easy. It requires a lot of practice, and you’ll need to be able to keep track of the value of your own hand as well as that of other players’. You’ll also need to know when to change your strategy based on the current count, and how to adjust it as the deck of cards gets shuffled.

Another way to increase your chances of winning is to take insurance. This is a side bet that pays out at 1:1 if the dealer has a blackjack, but loses if he or she does not.

However, this bet is only recommended if you can afford to lose a large amount of money. Using the Martingale system, which involves doubling your bet every time you lose, can quickly burn through your bankroll. Moreover, losing streaks of ten in a row are not uncommon.