How to Win at Blackjack

Blackjack is a card game in which players compete against the dealer. The game is played with two cards each, and the goal is to get a hand total that’s higher than the dealer’s without going over 21. Many people believe that Blackjack is simply a game of chance, but the fact is that it is possible to win at blackjack with some skill and knowledge. This is why it’s important to learn a strategy for the game.

Unlike other casino card games, where you’re playing against the other players at your table, blackjack is a game between the player and the dealer. The dealer gives each player two cards, face up, and then deals himself or herself one card, face down. The player then decides whether to hit, double down or split. Depending on the game, these decisions may be made before or after the dealer flips over their own card.

If the player has a blackjack (an Ace and a card worth 10), they win, and the dealer will collect their bet and throw away their cards. The dealer will also shuffle the deck and start a new round.

To increase their chances of winning, a player should always double down when they have a starting hand of 11 or higher. It’s statistically smart to do this because it will increase their odds of beating the dealer.

Another option is to split a pair of cards, such as two threes or two nines. This will require a second bet of equal value alongside the first bet, and each card will be dealt into a separate hand. This will increase your chances of a higher hand than you would have had by hitting, and will reduce the likelihood of busting.

It’s important to know when to stand in blackjack as well. If you have a hand of 17 or higher, it’s usually better to stick with it than try to improve it. This will help you avoid going over 21, which is bad for your odds of winning. However, you should always hit if the dealer has an Ace or a 10.

It’s also a good idea to stand if you have a hard 18 or higher. This is because it’s very unlikely that you’ll bust, and the chances of the dealer having a blackjack are extremely low.