How to Beat the Dealer at Blackjack

Blackjack is a game of strategy that pits the dealer against the player. Using basic rules, a player can minimize the house edge and increase his chances of winning. Players can also use side bets to increase their payouts and odds of winning. Side bets include doubling down, splitting and surrendering.

Players must place their bets in the betting areas marked on the table. The dealer will then deal two cards to each player and himself. If the first two cards add up to 21 (an Ace and a card valued at 10), that is a Blackjack and the player wins. Otherwise, the hand is a push and the player gets their original bet back.

The odds of getting a Blackjack are based on the probability of receiving an Ace and a 10-value card, which equals 21, in a 52-card deck. A blackjack pays 3 to 2 and is the best bet in the casino. Some casinos, however, have reduced the blackjack payout to 6:5, increasing the house edge and taking money out of players’ pockets.

To reduce the house advantage, a blackjack player must keep track of the running count and the true count. The running count is the number of high cards dealt minus the number of low cards. The true count takes into account the remaining number of decks in the shoe. The more accurate the counting system is, the better the odds are of making a good decision.

Stand on 17+ – A player should always stand on a hand value of 17 or higher. This will give the dealer a much harder time busting when they are showing an ace. It is also a good idea to stand on 18 because it will force the dealer to have a very strong hand to beat it.

Hit if the dealer is showing a 4, 5, 6, or 7 – In most cases, a player should hit when the dealer has a 4 or 5. These are the hands where there is a large chance of the dealer busting. However, a player must remember that the odds are still not in their favor, and they should not be afraid to take a risk to improve their hand.

Buy insurance – When the dealer is showing an ace, you can place an insurance bet for half your original bet. The dealer will then check their hole card in a special viewing window. If they have a ten underneath, they will get a blackjack and win everyone’s original bet. The dealer will then pay out each player’s bet in proportion to their original bet amount.

While there is quite a bit to remember when playing blackjack, it is not impossible for even novice players to improve their odds of winning. By following the above tips and keeping a mental note of the proper strategy, any player can drastically decrease the house edge. The most important thing to remember is to stick with the correct strategy and not make decisions based on your emotions or your current bankroll.