How to Beat the House Edge at Blackjack


Blackjack is a card game played between two or more players and a dealer. The objective is to beat the dealer by having a higher total than them without going over 21 (busting). The game can be very profitable for you if you follow a basic strategy and manage your bankroll well. The best blackjack strategy can help you reduce the house edge to less than 1%.

Before you play any blackjack variant, take the time to familiarize yourself with the rules and side bets. While some of these may seem similar to the main blackjack rules, there are often slight variations that make certain hands more profitable for you. The side bets can also increase the house edge, so it is best to avoid them if possible.

Once you’re ready to start playing, place your chips in the betting areas and you and your fellow players will each be dealt two cards. If your first two cards add up to 21 (an ace and a card of 10), this is called a “blackjack,” and it pays 3:2 at most casinos. In addition to standing or hitting, you can also surrender your hand if it seems extremely likely that you will lose given the dealer’s card.

The dealer will then reveal their face down card and begin drawing more cards until they have a hand value of 17 or higher. If the dealer has a higher hand value than yours, you win. If your hand is worth more than the dealer’s, you can also double down if you think that one more card will give you a better chance of winning against the dealer.

While you can try to win every hand, it’s important to set your limits before you sit down at a blackjack table. This will allow you to stay within your budget and prevent you from getting overexcited during a losing streak. Whether you’re playing online or in person, it’s important to set your limits ahead of time so that you don’t end up spending more money than you can afford to.

Having a clear understanding of the basic blackjack rules will help you to understand when it’s appropriate to hit or stand in different situations. The best time to hit is when your cards add up to 11 or lower. This is because you’ll have a much greater chance of beating the dealer if you hit than if you stand and hope that they bust. Another good moment to hit is when you have a weak or bad hand, such as 16 or lower, and the dealer has a strong or favorable upcard. If you do choose to hit, keep in mind that a high percentage of blackjack hands are won by the dealer, so your chances of winning are low. If you’re concerned about your risk of loss, you can always opt to surrender instead and recover half of your initial bet. This can be especially helpful in high-risk situations.