Blackjack is one of the most popular card games in casinos and online. Its popularity is due to the fact that the game has simple rules that have remained identical over the years and that it has a house edge of only 2%, which can be reduced even further by following basic strategy. However, a lot of players make mistakes that can easily ruin their chances of winning. By making these common mistakes, the player can unintentionally increase the casino’s edge and ultimately lose a lot of money.
The objective of the game is to beat the dealer by getting as close to 21 as possible without going over it. This is easy to achieve by following a few simple strategies that can be applied on any blackjack table. Using a blackjack cheat sheet is a great way to maximise your chances of winning and minimise how much you lose.
There are some things you should never do when playing blackjack, such as splitting aces or eights, doubling down on a hand that isn’t good, and taking insurance. These are all common mistakes that can be avoided by learning the basic rules of blackjack and understanding the math behind it.
Always split aces and 8s unless the dealer is showing a face card or a 10. This will give you a much better chance of hitting a 10 and winning. It also prevents you from having to play a 16 in which case the odds are against you. It’s not a good idea to double on a weak hand either, as it will probably just make it worse. You should only double on strong hands such as a two, three, or four of diamonds against a dealer’s five or six.
You should always stand when you have a hand of 17 or higher. It’s hard to bust with this hand and the odds are in your favour. Moreover, standing will allow you to maximise your win and minimize the amount of money you lose.
It is also important to know when it is best to hit in blackjack. This will depend on the strength of your hand and the dealer’s up card. Generally, you should only hit when you have a total of 12 to 16 and the dealer’s up card is between 2 and 6. The reason for this is that it is very unlikely you will go bust while the dealer will be likely to get higher than you.
Insurance is a side-bet in blackjack that is not only very expensive for the player but is a big money-maker for the casino. This bet is commonly misunderstood and many players will make this bad bet to “insure” their hand against the dealer’s ten. If you can recognise when the remaining deck is rich in ten-valued cards then this side-bet can actually be quite profitable for you. However, it is crucial to remember that what goes up must come down.