Blackjack is a card game where players compete against the dealer. The objective of the game is to get a total card value of 21 without going over or tying the dealer’s hand. The best hands are those that have a combination of an ace and a 10 or face card, which is called a natural or a blackjack.
The game can be played in tournament form, where the winner is the player who has the lowest amount of chips at the end of a pre-determined number of deals. The game can also be played in elimination format, where the bottom-ranked player is eliminated at certain points in a tournament.
Basic Strategy for Blackjack
The goal of the game is to beat the dealer’s hand and win a prize. The rules of blackjack allow players to double down, split pairs and surrender their hand, but they must be careful not to exceed 21. The dealer acts first and must hit on 16 or less and stand on 17 through 21.
A good strategy for blackjack is to try and play soft hands. A soft hand is a hand that does not bust when it is hit. A hard hand, on the other hand, is one that can be busted.
Counting Cards for Blackjack
Card counting is a popular method of reducing the house edge in blackjack. It works by estimating the value of each card in the deck as it is removed from the shoe and adjusting the number of chips a player bets accordingly.
Some card counters may choose to count cards before each hand is dealt, but others prefer to watch the cards being played and sit down only when there is a player favourable count. This strategy is often referred to as “wonging” and can be a useful technique, although it can cause problems for casinos that are sensitive to the practice.
Surrender Your Hand
If you think your hand is too weak to beat the dealer’s, you can surrender it by asking the dealer to remove the second card and deal you no more cards. This option is useful if you have a low-value hand that you are sure will not go over 21, or if the dealer has a high-value hand and you are not sure whether it will tie.
Insurance for Blackjack
When the dealer shows an ace, players can make an “insurance” bet. This bet pays even money if the dealer’s upcard is a 10 or face card, which increases your chances of winning a blackjack.
The rules of blackjack have evolved over time to accommodate new strategies. In 1956, blackjack was redesigned to reduce the house edge by paying 3:2 on a natural instead of 1:5. It was also changed to allow players to double down and split two hands independently.
Blackjack is a casino staple, and it has one of the lowest house edges of any casino game. Players using basic strategy lose on average less than 1% of their bets over the long run, but deviations from this strategy increase the house edge.