Blackjack is a card game in which players try to beat the dealer’s hand by drawing cards until their total is closer to 21 than the dealer’s. This is usually done by following one of several strategies.
The strategy that most people learn when playing blackjack is called Basic Strategy. This strategy is based on millions of hands played in the long run and uses this data to determine the best play for each hand combination.
Basic Strategy gives the player a mathematical advantage of about 0.5 to 1.5% over the house. This is a significant advantage because it takes the guesswork out of the process.
Choosing Your Seat
The first thing you should do when playing blackjack is select a seat at the table. The exact number of seats varies at different casinos, but you should be able to find a few open spots at most tables.
You should always choose a seat at the left side of the table, where you will have a better view of the dealer and the action going on. You should also be able to see the cards being dealt and the chips being used.
If you are a beginner and don’t know how to bet, it is best to start with small amounts of money and increase your bet as you become more experienced. The goal is to keep the minimum bet at an amount that won’t make you lose your entire bankroll.
A good tip for beginners is to start with the minimum bet on a table that hasn’t been particularly hot recently. This will give you a feel for the table and allow you to raise your bet in increments when it starts to get hot again.
Early Surrender and Resplitting Aces
In some variants of blackjack, a player can choose to surrender half of their bet before the dealer checks for blackjack. This is a very useful feature because some hands a player has can be so unlikely to win that it’s better to forfeit half the bet than risk losing their whole bet.
Insurance and Surrender
If a player has a 10 or an Ace face up and they believe the dealer does not have a Blackjack they can buy insurance. This insurance bet is equal to the original bet and is paid out 2 to 1 if the dealer does in fact have a Blackjack.
Insurance bets lose in the long run but have a low enough house edge to be profitable in the short term. This is because the dealer has a Blackjack less than one-third of the time and therefore will have to check her hole card before paying out any insurance wagers.
The dealer makes certain gestures and expressions while dealing blackjack. These gestures are called dealer tells and can help you predict the dealer’s cards.
Dealer tells may vary from one casino to another but are generally pretty standard. Many blackjack players try to read these signals in an attempt to improve their game.