How to Beat the Dealer at Blackjack


Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games. It has a low house edge and can be beaten by following basic strategy. However, it is important to remember that the dealer has a advantage over players and will win more hands than you. Fortunately, the dealer’s edge can be mitigated by learning dealer tells and using them to your advantage.

The game of blackjack starts when each player and the dealer are dealt two cards face up. The card that is dealt to the dealer is known as their hole card. If the player’s first two cards consist of an ace and a ten-card, this is called a natural (or blackjack). A natural cannot be beaten by any other hand and is paid 3:2 in most casinos.

A player can also win by reaching a summation of 21 with their first two cards. This is referred to as busting. If the player busts, they lose. The other way to win is to beat the dealer, which is done by getting a higher hand value than the dealer’s. This is a hard hand, and requires the player to have a higher total than the dealer’s.

To beat the dealer, it is important to understand how to count cards. There are many different ways to do this, but the most effective is to count each individual card as it is played and keep track of the total. This technique is often referred to as depth of penetration and can make the difference between winning and losing. However, it is important to note that while blackjack counting is not illegal in most casinos, some dealers will pay players less than 3:2 on their blackjacks if they are caught.

Another way to increase your chances of winning is to double down when you have a strong hand. This is a bet that the next card will have a value of 10 or more, which will cause the dealer to go bust. However, you should only do this when the dealer is showing a weak card or an ace.

Insurance is a side bet that pays 2:1 on your original bet if the dealer has a blackjack. It is offered only when the dealer has an ace up, and it can be purchased by anyone who wishes.

Before the dealer deals out the cards, she will look at her hole card, which is her down card, to see if it has a ten underneath. This is done with the help of a special viewing window in the table. The dealer will then pay any players who bought insurance and continue the game as usual. If the dealer has a ten, she will take everyone’s insurance bets and deal out the rest of the deck. If the dealer does not have a ten, she will simply collect all of the players’ original bets. This is termed a push, and nobody wins. This is why it is so important to study the rules of each game before playing.