Blackjack is a card game in which you and the dealer each receive two cards. The goal of the player is to acquire a hand value closer to 21 than that of the dealer without going over. The dealer must also keep his or her cards hidden until the end of the hand. Unlike other casino games, players compete against the dealer and not other players at the table.
In the game of blackjack, a player can choose to stand (stop drawing cards) or hit (request more cards). It is important to understand when to hit and when to stay in order to maximize your chances of winning. Using basic strategy charts can help you make these decisions. While they will never guarantee that you’ll win, they can greatly improve your odds of success.
Basic Strategy Charts
Blackjack basic strategy charts are mathematically calculated to provide the optimal play in each situation. These charts show your hand and the dealer’s up card, and tell you what to do (hit, stand, split, double down) to maximize your chance of winning. You can find these tables online or in many books on the subject of blackjack.
When you’re dealing with a strong starting hand, like a pair of eights or aces, it’s often better to double down than to stand. Doubling down allows you to increase your bet amount and draw one additional card, increasing your odds of making a stronger hand. In the long run, this will result in more winning hands than standing on a strong hand.
However, you should always be careful when doubling down, as this move can decrease your overall winnings. If you’re playing with a good starting hand, you should consider splitting a pair of 8s or aces if the dealer is showing a 10. Splitting these pairs increases your chances of forming a stronger hand and can significantly boost your overall profits in the long run.
Another way to improve your odds of winning is by counting cards. This practice is called Wonging or Back Counting, and it involves watching the cards being dealt and only sitting down to play when you’re in a favourable count. This strategy reduces your house edge, but casinos are well aware of it and have a lot of experience detecting and preventing it.
As a general rule of thumb, it’s best to always hit when you have a total of 12 or higher. If your hand is lower than this, you’re much more likely to bust and lose. It’s also important to remember that if the dealer has a 10, it’s usually best to stay. This is because a dealer’s 10 will beat your hand almost every time, and you’ll be more likely to bust when you have a weaker total than the dealer’s.