The Basics of Blackjack

Blackjack, also known as 21, is a casino card game that pits you against the dealer. The object is to get a higher hand total than the dealer without going over 21. There are a lot of variations on this game depending on where you play, but there are some universal rules and strategies that will help you maximize your chances of winning.

The dealer gives each player two cards face up. Then, they ask each player whether to draw additional cards. If a player is satisfied with their hand, they will “stand” (or stick). If they want to hit, they place an additional bet equal to their original one and receive more cards. This process continues until the player either stands or busts. If a player busts, they lose their stake. If they stand, they win their stake back if their hand is closer to 21 than the dealer’s. The dealer then reveals his or her cards and draws until they have a total of 17 or more. If the dealer has a blackjack, all players who have not already busted lose their bets.

If a player has a point total of 21 on the first two cards they are dealt, it is called a blackjack or “natural 21”. This beats any other hand and wins automatically, except when the dealer has a blackjack. When a player gets a blackjack, their bet is paid 1/1; however, when the dealer has a blackjack, all winning bets push–in other words, they do not get their original stake back.

Some casinos offer side bets on the game of blackjack. These side bets can vary in amount and payout. The most common side bet is insurance, which pays out when the dealer’s up card is an ace. Some casinos also offer additional side bets like “Dealer Match” that pay when a player’s card matches the dealer’s up card.

A blackjack table will have a special box in which players can place their bets. Usually, the minimum and maximum bets are listed on the table. It is important to understand these limits before you start playing.

Before you begin to play blackjack, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the basic rules of the game. Start by learning the value of each card. The cards 2 through 10 have their number value; aces are valued at either 1 or 11, and face cards are worth 10.

Another important rule is understanding how to split and double down. This is done by placing an additional bet equal to your original one on any two-card hand. You may also split any two hands that contain an ace, but you will only be dealt one additional card to each split hand.

Some casinos change the rules of blackjack to discourage players from counting cards. For example, they might remove all of the ten-value cards from the deck before dealing. This will make it much harder for players to count cards.