Blackjack is a card game that requires a combination of skill and luck. While blind luck will only get you so far, knowing the basic strategy can greatly increase your odds of winning. However, it is important to remember that blackjack is still a casino game and the house edge will take its toll over time. To reduce the house’s edge, it is recommended to use a simple system known as card counting. It is a process of counting the number of high-value cards that have been dealt and the number of low-value cards. This allows the player to determine when it is best to hit or stand, thereby reducing their risk of losing to the dealer.
After joining the table, each player receives two cards face up. They then decide whether to ask for an additional card (hit), stick with their current hand (stand), or double down. This is done depending on the value of their cards and the dealer’s upcard. If the player’s cards total 21 or higher, they win. If they bust, they lose to the dealer.
If the dealer’s upcard is a 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6, hitting is usually the right move. This is because the dealer has a 40% chance of busting. However, if the dealer has a 7, it’s better to surrender. This is because it’s a much closer call than hitting and the dealer has a 22% chance of busting.
Another way to increase your chances of winning is by splitting your cards. This is done when the cards have a similar value and can be improved by adding more cards. Splitting your cards is an option that is only available if the table rules allow it.
Lastly, you can also double down if your cards are of equal value and the dealer is showing an ace or a 10. This bet pays 2:1 if the dealer has blackjack and you have a full house. However, the decision to double down should be made only when the strategy tells you to do so.
The best hands to play are those with a total of 17 or higher. You should also hit when the dealer has a 6 or lower. Hitting is a good option if the dealer has a 4 because it’s one of the least favorable hands to stand on. If the dealer has a 7, it’s even more likely to bust by hitting, and there’s only a 5% chance of a push. Therefore, it’s better to surrender and give yourself a chance of winning.