How to Beat the House Edge in Blackjack


Blackjack is a card game played by one or more players against a dealer. The objective is to get a hand value closer to 21 than the dealer’s, without going over 21. Each player is dealt two cards, and the casino (dealer) also gets two cards. The player can then decide whether to stand (stop drawing cards), hit, or double down (request another card and increase the stake) based on a set of rules. The player competes only with the dealer’s hand; other players at the table are of no concern.

The first step in beating the house edge in blackjack is to understand basic strategy. This is a set of playing rules that offers the best odds of winning for any given situation. Roger Baldwin, Wilbert Cantey, Herbert Maisel, and James McDermott, often referred to as the Four Horsemen of Aberdeen, developed the first reasonably accurate basic strategy in the 1950s. Using simple adding machines, they were able to prove that the game of blackjack offered the highest probabilities of success if the player followed a certain set of playing rules.

A basic strategy chart is a useful tool to have at the blackjack table, and many casinos allow players to use them. These charts display, for each possible combination of the player’s hand and the dealer’s up card, the correct decision to make. Using such a chart, the player can improve his chances of winning by learning which hands to play and which to pass on.

Doubling down in blackjack is an excellent way to boost a player’s payout potential, but this is only available for hands that meet certain conditions. In order to qualify, the player must have a total of at least 16 and be holding only two cards, before the dealer has drawn any additional cards.

When to double down is a key aspect of blackjack strategy, and the right decision can mean the difference between a winning and losing hand. Players can double down on any hand, but they should only do so when they’re sure that the next card will not cause them to go bust or they’re willing to risk their original stake for a higher payout.

Aside from basic strategy, there are a few other blackjack tricks to keep in mind. For example, never raise your bet based on a losing streak, as this will only cost you money. In addition, don’t be fooled by a hot streak; the odds of hitting a winning streak don’t change just because you are on a roll. Instead, try to stick to a stable bet amount and only increase it when you have money to spare. This will help you to stay in control of your bankroll and maximize your winnings.