# A Beginner’s Guide to Blackjack

Blackjack is a game of chance in which players wager money against the dealer. It is played on a semicircular table and can accommodate five to seven players. The dealer stands behind a table and chip rack, while the players sit on the other side of the table.

The objective of the game is to have a hand value that is closer to 21 than the dealer’s hand value without going over 21, which is called bust. In addition to the main objective of getting a higher hand than the dealer, blackjack has several other rules that affect the outcome of the game.

Depending on the rules at the casino, the house edge of a game of blackjack can be as low as 1% to as high as 1.5%. The house edge is determined by the number of decks in use, the rules that govern the game, and whether or not players are allowed to count cards.

#### Basic Strategy

The goal of basic strategy is to reduce the house edge by utilizing techniques that minimize the amount of time the player spends thinking about their cards. These methods include counting cards, understanding the rules of the game, and understanding the odds of winning and losing.

#### Card Counting

A blackjack card count is the ability to keep track of the cards that have been dealt in a game of blackjack and to recognize when the dealer’s upcard is an Ace or a 10. This technique can reduce the house edge by as much as 0.5 percent.

#### How to Play

Once the dealer has dealt each hand, the player is allowed to see his or her first two cards and decide what to do with them. The player can hit (ask for another card), stand (remain at the current hand), or double (increase the bet by doubling the original bet).

When you’re playing blackjack, the goal of every round is to win. If the dealer’s hole card is an Ace or a 10, you’ve won. If the dealer’s hole card is a 7, you’ve tied it.

The first thing you need to do when playing blackjack is understand the rules. The rules can change slightly from one casino to the next, so it’s important to know them before you start.

For example, some casinos have a rule that reduces the payout for a natural blackjack (Ace + card) to only 3 to 2 instead of the traditional 6 to 5. This is a major advantage for the dealer, who will often try to get you to take insurance when you have a blackjack.

It’s also a good idea to read the felt before you begin playing so that you’re aware of any special rules. For example, some casinos will not allow you to split 10s, and others will not allow you to double after splitting.

You can tell the dealer when you’re about to take a hit by making a beckoning motion with your fingers or tapping the table behind your cards lightly with your finger.