Blackjack is a card game in which players compete against the dealer. The goal is to acquire cards whose total value is closer to 21 than the dealer’s without going over. Each player receives two cards; the dealer also gets two, but one of these is face down and known as the hole card. If the player surpasses 21 and the dealer does not, the participant wins. If the hand is equal to 21, it is a push and neither party wins or loses. If the player and the dealer have hands with a different sum, one of them pays the other one times their wager.
The game can be played with one or more decks of 52 cards, and the value of a card is its numerical value (i.e., a number card is worth its number, face cards are valued at 10, and aces are worth one or 11). Suits are irrelevant in the game. The game may be played with a fixed minimum and maximum bet, or in some cases the players may be allowed to split their cards. Splitting allows a player to create two hands from their starting cards; each hand then plays out independently. When a pair of matching cards are received, the player can choose to double their bet; however, splitting after doubling is not usually permitted.
In some variants of the game, the dealer is allowed to look at their hole card before paying out or taking insurance bets. In other variants, the dealer must reveal their hole card before paying out. Insurance bets are generally considered to be losing propositions for the player in the long run, but they can be profitable if the dealer has an ace showing.
Blackjack side bets are often offered, and can be an excellent way to increase your bankroll in a short amount of time. These bets are placed at the same time as the main wager, and can be as small as $1. The most common side bets are insurance, and betting on whether the dealer will bust. However, there are hundreds of other types of side bets that can be made at a blackjack table.
Basic strategy is the best method for maximizing your chances of winning in blackjack. It is a set of rules that determines the optimal play for any situation, based on millions of blackjack hands played in the long run. These rules are a critical part of the game and should be learned before playing.
The author, Colin Smyth, is the founder of Blackjack Apprenticeship, a training program for aspiring blackjack professionals. He has been counting cards for over 15 years, and previously ran a multi-million dollar blackjack team. He is also the host of the popular podcast, The Blackjack Mindset. His work has been featured on CNN, The New York Times, and The Colbert Report. For more information, visit his site at Blackjack Apprenticeship. This article was originally published on TheColinSmythBlog.