Blackjack is the game of cards that pits you against the dealer in a thrilling battle to outdo each other. The ultimate goal is to get as close to 21 as possible, while remaining cautious enough to avoid going bust. Successful blackjack players use strategy to make the best decisions about whether to hit, stand, split, or double down. Using these strategies can help you beat the house edge and maximize your wins.
When you’re dealt two cards in blackjack, the first thing you must do is work out your hand’s value. You then decide whether to hit, stand, double down, or surrender. Once you have a good idea of the value of your hand, you can then compare it to the dealer’s up card.
A dealer’s up card is important for a number of reasons, but mainly because it gives you information about how strong the rest of their deck is. For instance, if the dealer has a ten in their hand and an ace, it means that there are more tens left in the deck than other tens, which is good for your chances of getting a blackjack.
While many casinos have made it harder to count cards in blackjack, some players still use this skill to improve their odds of winning. It requires some practice, but the basics of card counting are relatively simple. By keeping track of the number of tens and face cards in the deck, you can make smarter bets than if you were just guessing. For example, if you’re holding a hand of 12 against a dealer’s 10, it’s usually better to draw another card than to stand.
You can also increase your winnings by using blackjack side bets. These bets are placed against the dealer and are paid out if you have a specific combination of cards in your hand. They can be useful for supplementing your main blackjack bet, but you should always consider the house edge before placing these side bets.
The house edge in blackjack is calculated as the percentage of time you spend losing, divided by the total amount of your bets. This figure is then multiplied by your average bet size. You can reduce the house edge by playing smaller bet sizes and staying disciplined when betting.
The blackjack strategy table will guide you in making the right decision for every situation. Each column in the chart shows the type of starting hand you have, a recommended action to take, and the dealer’s up card. The table will also indicate whether you should stand, double down, split, or surrender. You should always follow the advice given in the table to achieve the best results. This will help you win more often than not, and even if you don’t always win, your profits will be higher than if you were just guessing.