Blackjack is a card game played by one or more players against a dealer. The goal is to have a hand value closer to 21 than the dealer’s without going over. Aces count as either 1 or 11, face cards as 10, and other cards according to their numerical value. Players compete only against the dealer; other players at the table are of no concern.
The first step to playing blackjack is to place your bet in the betting box on the table. Next, the dealer will shuffle the cards and then deal each player two cards face up. The dealer will then ask the player to cut the cards. Most casinos use six or eight decks of cards and a shoe (a boxlike device that houses the cards).
Once you have your two cards, you will be able to choose to stand or draw more cards based on a set of rules. Standing is a good move when you have a strong hand, and drawing is a good move if you don’t. If your hand is close to 21, you win, and if it’s better than the dealer’s, you win even more.
If you have a strong hand, you should always double it against the dealer’s up-card when you can. This is a great way to make a big increase in your bet amount, and it will also help you to beat the dealer’s total. However, you should never double against a dealer’s up-card when it is not possible to improve your hand.
Another way to boost your winning chances is to split your pairs of cards when they are of equal rank. This will give you two hands to play with and it can be very advantageous if one of your cards is an Ace. You should also split any two 8’s because this will remove the possibility of a bad 16 from your hand.
When you have a blackjack, the dealer will usually offer you “even money” rather than the traditional 3:2 payout. This is not a good idea because the odds of the dealer having blackjack are actually much lower than this.
Other good blackjack tips include not taking insurance if you have a blackjack, and always splitting 8’s. You should also avoid doubling against a dealer’s up-card of 6 if you can, because this will leave you with a weak soft total. Finally, you should not make a split against a dealer’s 10 or face card. If you do, you should only make a double against a 7 or higher.