# The Basics of Blackjack

Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games. It has been around for over two centuries, and has a wide variety of rules. Its popularity can be attributed to its mix of chance and elements of skill, as well as the publicity that surrounds card counting (keeping track of which cards have been played since the last shuffle).

In the game, players and the dealer each have 2 cards, one face up and one face down. The player can make a bet, or “stand”, and the dealer can do the same.

The aim of the game is to beat the dealer’s hand without busting. To do this, the player must draw cards until they have a total of 21 or more.

If the dealer’s face-up card is an ace, then the dealer has blackjack; this is an automatic win and pays 3:2. The dealer can also hit or stand on a soft 17. This means that he has a hand of 17 or higher, but he cannot bust.

#### Insurance Bets

The dealer can ask you if you want to take insurance, which is a bet that the dealer has blackjack. This bet only pays if the dealer has a blackjack, and it loses money in the long run because the dealer has a blackjack less than one-third of the time.

#### Basic Strategy

For any player, the most important thing in blackjack is to play according to basic strategy. Using this strategy, the house edge will be reduced to a small percentage over the long term.

In addition, players can increase their bets in favorable situations and make decisions based on information they gather as they play. These techniques, along with the use of mathematical theory, can turn the odds in your favor and help you win more blackjacks!

Blackjack can be very intimidating for new players. It can appear complex and confusing, especially when you are playing in a real casino. But it is a great game, and one that should not be underestimated.

#### Counting the Dealer’s Cards

The dealer will have a shoe in front of him with a deck of cards that is divided into two sections: one for the player and one for himself. The dealer will put the cards in a row, with the dealer’s card on top and the other card below it.

When you have drawn the cards you wanted, you will then have to decide whether or not you want to “stand” or “hit”. To stand, you extend your palm near the table and “scratch” it gently as if you were scratching an itch. The dealer will then deal you a card from the shoe, face up.

You can also “hit” if you do not have the cards you want, and repeat the process until you have a total of 21 or more. This process of drawing cards can be repeated for as many times as you like, until you have a hand that is worth winning.