Blackjack is one of the most popular casino table games. It is a game of chance, but strategy plays an important role in its success. The goal is to get a hand that is closer to 21 than the dealer’s without exceeding it. If a player gets a blackjack they win 1.5 times their bet. There are a number of strategies that can help a player improve their chances of winning.
The game of blackjack starts with the dealer dealing two cards to each player. Each player then has the choice of hitting (asking for an additional card) until they reach a total of 21 or they choose to stand (stop taking any more cards). If a player has an ace and a card worth 10, this is called a blackjack and the player wins 1.25 times their bet. This is one of the only casino games where a player can get a bonus payout for a particular hand.
After the players have played their hands, the dealer will take their turn. The dealer can hit or stand. If the dealer has a blackjack, all players who did not bust lose their original bets and the dealer wins the round. If the dealer does not have a blackjack, the players who did not bust win their bets back and their hands are compared to each other. If a player has a higher score than the dealer’s they win.
Aside from splitting pairs, doubling down and insurance, there are a few other things that can be done to increase your chances of winning. If you have a pair of cards that are the same value, you can split them and play them separately. If you have a pair of eights, you can double down against a dealer with an up card that is 2 to 7 and against a dealer’s 3 to 6. However, you should never split 10’s, 4’s or 5’s.
If you have a high total but suspect that the dealer has a blackjack, you can opt to take ‘insurance’ which is a bet that the dealer will have a 10-value card in their down card to complete a blackjack. This bet pays 2-1 and costs half your original bet. This is one of the few cases where a player can come out even on a loss.
Another option is to double down. This is where you double your initial bet and are allowed to receive an additional card only. You can do this when you have a strong feeling that your hand is going to beat the dealer’s. This is only recommended when your current hand is better than the dealer’s. Otherwise, it can be a costly mistake. Finally, you can also surrender if you believe your hand will be lost to the dealer. This option reclaims half your bet and will not affect the overall result of the hand. The rules for surrender vary between casinos and are usually posted on the table.