Whether you’re playing in a land-based casino or online, blackjack can be a fun game. Despite the rules and variations, the goal is to get closer to 21 without exceeding the total value of your cards than the dealer. You can increase your bet by adding an extra card or by splitting two cards into two separate hands.
In the standard version of blackjack, the player’s first two cards are total 21, known as “blackjack.” If the dealer has blackjack, you win; if not, you lose. There are also some side bets. These are independent from the original wager and are meant to even out the losses and gains. You can place insurance bets on the dealer’s hand, for instance. This pays 2 to 1 if the dealer has blackjack, and is usually up to half of the original bet.
In the event that the dealer does not have blackjack, your insurance bet is returned to you. However, in the long run, this is a losing proposition.
When the dealer’s face-up card is an ace, you can place an insurance bet on the dealer’s hand. The payout is 2:1, and the bet is placed on a special area on the table. In addition, you can place an insurance bet before the dealer checks his face-down card.
The dealer has blackjack less than one-third of the time. This means that the player’s hand is close to 21 more often than the dealer’s. In this case, the player can stand on his hand, losing his bet, or take insurance.
A hand with an Ace and a ten-value card is a “perfect hand,” and the Jack, Queen, or King are considered the same as the ace. The player’s hand is called a “blackjack” when it combines the ace and ten-value cards, or a “natural” when it combines the ace with a ten-value card. The dealer’s hand is called a “push” when it is equal to the player’s, or a “tie” when it is not.
In some blackjack variants, the rules allow the dealer to resplit an ace. This decreases the house edge by 0.13%, but does not affect the strategy. This method of reducing the house edge is known as Wonging, after the author of Professional Blackjack, Stanford Wong.
Some casinos may restrict the number of splits you can make. You can split up to three times in the standard game, but some casinos limit the number to just two. In some cases, you can even double your bet while you’re hitting. If you’re confident that you can beat the dealer, you can increase your bet by two more times.
You can double down, which is when you make another bet while you’re hitting. This increases your bet by one more card, but you can’t hit again. It’s not always the best option, though. If you’re overconfident, you should probably avoid doubling down.
When you’re close to 21 and the deck is full of 10s, it’s safe to hit. But if the deck is missing a lot of tens, it’s bad news. In most cases, you should never stand on 12 or 13. The fewer 10s in the shoe, the worse it becomes to stand on 12. The aces count as 1 or 11, and the kings and queens as 10 points.