Basic Blackjack Strategy

Blackjack is a casino game that pits the player against the dealer. The objective is to beat the dealer by having a higher, unbusted hand than theirs. The game can be played in many different ways, but basic strategy is a must-know for any aspiring card counter. Using basic strategy and some other advanced techniques, players can reduce the house edge to a small percentage.

The game’s popularity has largely to do with its simplicity and the fact that it can be learned by just about anyone. It also has a relatively low house edge compared to other casino games, which can be reduced even further by practicing basic strategy and playing only at casinos that use a single deck of cards.

In Blackjack, you are dealt two cards and the dealer is given one card face down. The goal is to have a higher hand value than the dealer, without going over 21. If you do, you win. If the dealer has a higher hand value than you, it is a push (tie) and neither player wins.

There are a number of rules that are important to understand when playing blackjack, including the dealer’s position and how cards are dealt. Knowing these rules can help you make better decisions at the table and increase your chances of winning. The dealer’s position is determined by whether they are facing up or down, and this can impact your decision to hit, stand, double down or split. You can find information about the dealer’s position by looking at their face up card and studying their body language.

Generally speaking, you should stand on a strong starting hand such as a pair of eights or aces. You should also always split pairs of nines, sevens, sixes and threes. In most cases, splitting these hands will result in greater gains than standing on them and will reduce your losses to a minimum. You should also double down when you have a strong starting hand, such as a hard 11, against the dealer’s up card.

Another good tip is to never be afraid to walk away from a table. This will help you avoid making poor decisions when you are tired or losing money. Also, remember that the playing decisions of other players at your table will not impact your hand. The dealer and the other players will be unaware of your previous session’s results or whether you are on a winning streak.

Finally, it is best to stick to a proven strategy when playing blackjack. If you deviate from this strategy, it can lead to more losses than you would have otherwise incurred. This can be especially true when you are tempted to gamble on the “hot” dealer, or a favorite table. This is usually a bad idea. Frank Scoblete advises that you should also ignore offers of comps from the casino, and focus solely on winning money. This will help you stay focused and prevent you from becoming too greedy or over-investing.