How to Beat the Dealer at Blackjack


Blackjack is a casino game in which players compete against the dealer. Each player is dealt two cards and aims to make a total closer to 21 than the dealer’s. Aces are valued as either 1 or 11 points and face cards are worth 10 points.

It is important to understand the rules of blackjack before playing. This includes basic strategy, the dealer’s rules, and protocol.

Basic strategy

Blackjack is one of the few casino games where a player has a chance to gain an edge over the house. This advantage is a result of the game’s rules and the way it is played. While this edge is not guaranteed, it is still significant enough to make the game more profitable than it would otherwise be.

The basic strategy of blackjack was devised in the 1950s by four US Army engineers who used simple adding machines to find the optimal playing moves. Their findings were published in a statistics journal and attracted the attention of mathematician Edward O. Thorp, who tested their recommended moves on an IBM computer.

Although the basic strategy may not be as accurate as perfect blackjack play, it is much easier to learn and will save you money in the long run. To maximize your chances of winning, always follow responsible gambling practices and never bet more than you can afford to lose.

Insurance bets

Insurance bets in blackjack are one of the most confusing parts of the game. Some players think that they are safer than other side bets, while others know that it’s a sucker’s bet. This article will help you understand what insurance is and how it works, so that you can make an informed decision about whether to take it or not.

In general, it doesn’t make sense for a player to take insurance unless they are proficient at card counting. However, this bet can be profitable for players who keep track of how many ten-point cards have already been dealt. According to professional blackjack experts Arnold Snyder, Mason Malmuth and Donald Schlesinger, only a well-calculated count can turn insurance into a positive bet for the player. Otherwise, it’s just a bad bet.

Splitting hands

Splitting hands is a key weapon in blackjack players’ arsenal. When done correctly, it can significantly improve your chances of beating the dealer. However, you should be careful not to overuse this strategy. There are times when it is mathematically correct to hit instead of splitting, and these instances depend on the number of decks, table rules, and dealer cards.

For instance, splitting a pair of eights is good against any dealer card except for a seven or ten. On the other hand, hitting on a pair of sixes is madness as it puts you in a weak position against a dealer’s up-card.

Splitting allows players to form two separate hands with matching cards by placing an additional bet equal to their original bet amount, essentially doubling their stake for the round. In blackjack, this action can only be performed when a player’s opening cards are identical in value. Moreover, the player’s hand must contain at least one card valued at 10. This rule is not applicable in some blackjack variations.

Rules of conduct

If you are a blackjack player and want to increase your chances of walking away with some winnings, you should follow a few simple rules. For starters, you should never increase your bet size while on a streak. Also, when you are losing, lower your bet size. It will keep you from losing all your money. Lastly, you should always cash out your winnings once you reach your goal or double your money.

Another important rule is to “toke” the dealer from time to time during the game. This is a tip that gets paid just like your bet, and it will help the dealers make more money.

It is also a good idea to avoid telling other players how to play their cards, unless they ask you for advice. This will cause them to get upset and lose their focus. This can lead to poor decisions and a large hourly theoretical loss. This is especially true in video blackjack games, where the number of rounds per hour is much higher than in live tables.