How to Win at Blackjack


Blackjack is one of the most popular card games in the casino. Its popularity is largely due to the fact that it has simple rules and is easy for anyone to learn, as well as its low house edge of around 2%. However, there are a number of strategies that can be used to increase the chances of winning. One such strategy is to double your bet after each loss, which is known as the Martingale system. This strategy can be profitable, but it should only be used by players with a large enough bankroll to keep the stakes high. Otherwise, it could lead to a quick run-out of money.

A player wins if his or her hand is higher than the dealer’s, and the highest hand value is 21. The only way to beat the dealer is by getting a 21 in the first two cards, which is called a “natural.” In the event of a tie, the dealer will sweep your wager, but you’ll still have a chance to improve your hand with a re-deal.

The game also features a variety of side bets that can increase the house edge dramatically. These can include betting on the dealer getting a certain rank as the up-card, the player making a poker hand with the dealer’s up-card, or whether the dealer will bust. While the odds of winning these bets are slim, they can make for an interesting addition to your gaming experience.

If you’re playing a shoe game, you can signal the dealer that you want another card by making a beckoning motion with your hand or tapping the table with your finger. In hand-held games, you can signal the dealer by scratching the back of your cards lightly with your finger. The dealer will then give you one more card.

When to split

In blackjack, splitting is done when you have a pair of cards with the same value, such as two eights or two threes. You place a second, equal bet alongside your original bet, and then play each hand as a separate hand until you either stay or bust. You should always split aces and eights, and consider splitting nines, sevens, sixes, and threes as well.

When to hit

In most blackjack games, you should hit if your two cards add up to eleven or less. This is because you can’t bust, while the dealer is more likely to go over twenty-one. However, if the dealer has a seven or higher, it’s best to stand instead.

If you’re a card counter, it’s a good idea to practice keeping a running count with a single deck of cards. As you turn over the cards, add their values. This will help you to get a better sense of the overall count, which can influence your decision making. For example, a positive count will encourage you to hit when you have thirteen against the dealer’s two, while a negative count will tell you to stick to basic strategy.