The Basics of Blackjack


Blackjack is a card game played between the dealer and the player. The objective is to get a hand value that is closer to 21 than the dealer’s, without going over. The players compete only against the dealer and other players at the table are of no concern to them. The game can be very simple or it can become complicated based on the strategy chosen by the player.

There are many myths and misconceptions about the game of blackjack, but at its simplest level all that is really required to do is beat the dealer. There are a lot of things that can happen to a player’s hand to make it better or worse than the dealer’s, but at the end of the day the only thing that matters is whether you have a higher value hand than the dealer.

In a player’s blackjack hand the ace is valued as one and the picture cards and 10’s are valued as their index value. When a player’s first two cards total 21, they have a “natural” or a “blackjack.” If the dealer has a natural as well, they win all of the players’ bets. The dealer’s natural is known as a “push” or a “stand-off.”

A player’s blackjack can be made even more profitable by doubling down. Doubling is only allowed on a two-card hand before another card is drawn. The most advantageous time to double is when a player has an 11 against the dealer’s up card of 5 or less. Other good reasons to double include a soft 18 against a dealer’s 3, and a face card or a 10 against a five. It is never advisable to split any pairs except for aces and eights.

The dealer’s insurance is a side bet that pays 2 to 1 if the dealer has a blackjack. It is a very popular bet among players, but it is not a good bet for the player in the long run. Insurance is a huge money maker for casinos, and a lot of players will make this bet when they have a strong blackjack hand.

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