The Basics of Blackjack


Blackjack is a card game in which players try to beat the dealer. The main goal of the game is to get closer to 21 than the dealer without going over. There are a number of ways to play, and the rules vary from casino to casino.

The game is played with a standard international deck of 52 cards. The dealer is dealt one face-down card and one face-up card. They are required to play the hand with the cards, but can surrender if they feel they have a bad hand. If the dealer busts, the player wins.

In blackjack, a player can double down, split their cards, or take insurance. A player may also opt to surrender, which is a bet that returns half of the original wager if the dealer busts. Some casinos limit double-downs to certain combinations, including certain pairs.

To win at blackjack, the player’s first two cards must be an ace and ten-value card. The dealer’s card can be any suit, and the value of the cards are based on their index. Cards worth a total of 11 are called kings, queens, and jacks. The ace can be valued at either 1 or 11, and all other cards are valued at their index.

If a dealer’s first two cards are an ace and a ten-value card, they are called a natural. This hand has a very small chance of winning, but the player usually receives one-and-a-half times the bet if he or she has a natural.

Most casinos use several decks of cards, which are shuffled after each hand is finished. Some games are single-deck, and others may use six or eight decks at a time. Depending on the number of decks, the house edge will differ. It is a good idea to find out about the house’s edge before you play.

If a dealer has a blackjack, he or she is paid 2-1 for insurance. Buying insurance is a bad bet if you do not know whether the dealer has a blackjack. However, it is a good idea to buy insurance if the dealer has an Ace.

The dealer’s face-up card is checked to see if it is a blackjack. If it is, the player wins. On the other hand, if it is not, the player loses the bet.

Many casinos in Las Vegas offer a 6-to-five payout for blackjacks. When this rule was first introduced, many longtime players decried the reduction in payout. But since 2003, some casinos have started offering a payout of 6:5.

A player may also surrender, which will reclaim half of the bet if the dealer busts. Sometimes, a player can choose to surrender before the dealer checks for a blackjack, which is a good strategy. Otherwise, the player may choose to hit, which is a request for another card from the dealer.

One common mistake made by players is splitting their aces. Splitting aces is a very bad move, but some players are allowed to split aces and other ten-value cards of the same rank. While this can be a profitable strategy, it is not without its problems.