Blackjack is a game of chance in which the object is to beat the dealer by having a hand value that exceeds 21. Players make their bets before the dealer deals them two cards, then decide whether to hit, stand, split, or double down. The player who has the highest total wins. Players also have the option to take insurance, which pays 2 to 1 if the dealer has a blackjack. The rules of the game vary between casinos and different versions of the game.
There are many strategies to improve your chances of winning at blackjack, such as counting cards. Keeping a running count is difficult, but once you practice enough, it becomes easier. To keep a running count, you must add each card to your total as you draw it, and subtract when you discard it. Practice with a single deck of cards until you can do this quickly and quietly.
After the dealer has dealt each player two cards, he or she will ask the players if they want to split pairs, such as two eights or two threes. Splitting pairs increases the player’s chances of making a high hand, and reduces their losses by cutting them in half. It is important to always split aces and eights, as well as nines, sevens, sixes, and threes. It is also a good idea to split twos and fours if the dealer is showing a weak card, such as a five or six.
The dealer will then deal himself two more cards – one face up, and one face down. The dealer will then act on his or her hand, and must hit on 16 or less, and stand on 17 or more. The dealer will also check for a blackjack and pay out winning bets. Players can opt to surrender if they have a poor hand, and this should be done early if possible, as the dealer will be able to see your card before you surrender.
Having a blackjack strategy is the best way to increase your chances of winning, and can be used as a reference to guide you when playing at a casino or online. The blackjack cheat sheet can help you figure out the best play based on your hand and that of the dealer. For example, you should stand on a hand of 12-16 if the dealer is showing a 10, and hit when they have an ace. You should also double if the dealer is showing 10 or less, and hit when they have a low upcard.