Blackjack is a card game played between one or more players and the dealer using a single or multiple decks of 52 cards. The objective of the game is to accumulate a hand value of 21 or as close to it as possible without going over. In addition to beating the dealer, the player may also win side bets such as insurance, which pays 2 to 1 if the dealer has a blackjack, or re-splitting Aces. Unlike other casino games, blackjack has an element of skill and knowledge that can be used to reduce the house advantage to a minimum. This is achieved through what is known as basic strategy, a set of rules that determines the correct action to take in each situation, based on the player’s point total and the dealer’s visible card.
The game is normally played on a semicircular table that can accommodate varying numbers of players. The dealer stands behind the table and chip rack, with the players seated opposite him. Each player starts by placing a bet on the table. The player is dealt two cards and can choose to stand (stop drawing cards), hit (request more cards), or split the cards into two separate hands.
If the player has a hand of 21 (an ace and a ten value card) this is called a “blackjack” or a “natural” and automatically wins the bet. A natural is paid out at 3:2 unless the casino has changed its policy, in which case it will pay only 6:5.
There are some exceptions to this rule, and these are usually imposed for the sake of fairness. The most common are the following:
Blackjack side bets
There is a wide range of blackjack side bets available on the gaming tables. These include betting on a pair as the first two cards, betting on whether the dealer will have a blackjack, and many other types of bets. While these side bets do not affect the outcome of the main hand, they can add to the fun and excitement of the game for many people.
During the last few decades, blackjack side bets have become very popular. There are now hundreds of different bets on the felts, and each one has its own unique set of rules. For instance, some side bets can only be made when the dealer has a specific type of hole card, while others require that the player have a certain type of hand.
While these side bets are fun, they can add to the house’s edge over time if not managed properly. This is why most skilled players avoid making them. Those that do often find themselves in the news for winning large sums of money.