Improve Your Chances of Winning at Blackjack


Blackjack is a game of skill as well as luck, and there are many techniques that can help players improve their win rates. While it is impossible to reduce the house edge to zero, proper strategy can lower it significantly. The most important blackjack terms to know are split, surrender, and double down. Split is the decision to divide a player’s initial bet into two parts, and it is usually available only in cases where the cards are of equal value. This is a risky move, but it can result in significant wins for the player. When playing blackjack, it is also important to learn how to count cards. Keeping a running total of the card values as you play can increase your winnings by giving you an advantage over the dealer. There are several different counting systems, but the most common is the Hi-Lo method. Practice by playing with a single deck and adding up the values of each card as you turn them over. Once you’re able to keep a running total quickly and quietly, you can start practicing with multiple decks.

Another useful strategy for improving your chances of winning is to avoid taking insurance. This side bet pays 2 to 1 if the dealer has an ace, but it is not worth the risk of losing your entire bet. It is also a good idea to always split 8s and Aces, as these hands are very strong and can give you an edge over the dealer.

If you’re not sure what to do with your hand, ask for another card (hit). If you hit and improve your hand, you will get paid one times your original wager; however, if you go over 21 or bust, you lose. The dealer must hit until her cards reach 17 or higher.

Doubling down is a risky but profitable blackjack strategy. It involves increasing your original bet after receiving your first two cards, and you can do so by as much as 2 times your bet. This strategy is best used when you have a hand total of 11 or less and the dealer has a weak card showing, such as a six.

After each player has made their decisions, the dealer will reveal his or her face-down card and hit or stand according to predetermined rules. The player with the highest hand value wins. If the dealer has a blackjack, the players who have not busted will be paid out at 1:1. Otherwise, the players who have higher hands will be paid out. Ties are a push and the bets are re-set for the next round.