How to Win at Blackjack


Blackjack is a game that requires an analytical mindset, composure and tenacity. In order to play it successfully, one must understand the game’s rules and etiquette. While many believe that the game is only a matter of luck, there are techniques that can give the player a legal advantage over the dealer. These methods require skill, memory and some knowledge of probability theory.

Blackjack has its origins in French casinos around 1700 and was first known as Vingt-et-Un (meaning Twenty-one). There is a general agreement that the game’s name comes from the fact that the cards used in this version of the game were marked with different numbers.

A standard blackjack table will accommodate two to seven players and use one to eight 52-card decks. All number cards (2-10) score their value, while the face cards (Jack, Queen and King) are worth 10 points and the ace can be counted as either 1 or 11. The game is played with a dealer who deals each player two cards face down and one card face up. The dealer then draws until their hand is 17 or higher, and whoever has a total closer to 21 than the dealer wins.

If the dealer has an ace up, the player may choose to take insurance. This bet is half the original wager and pays 2-1 if the dealer has blackjack. If the player’s blackjack ties the dealer’s, they win their original bet and receive their money back.

After the player has finished playing their hand, the dealer will draw another card for theirs. Then they will compare their hand with the player’s. If the dealer has a lower hand, they will sweep the player’s bet and the game is over. If their hand is higher, the player will win and receive their bet back plus an equal amount from the dealer.

The player can double his bet after he has received the initial two cards if he thinks that he will have a good chance of winning against the dealer. However, the player should only double against a dealer with a 2 to 6 card or against a 3 to 8. It is never advisable to double against a 7 as it will almost always result in a bust for the player.

Depending on the rules of the casino, some dealers will encourage players to take insurance bets. This is a bet that the dealer has an ace up and will have blackjack if they hit. The bet is worth the same as the player’s original bet and pays 2-1 if the dealer has a blackjack.

In some casinos, they have reduced the payoff for blackjacks to 6 to 5, which increases the house edge and makes it more difficult for a player to beat the dealer. This rule should be clearly posted on the blackjack table and players must be aware of it before they play. It is also important to know that some games have a “No-Midshoe Entry” policy which means that you cannot join a blackjack game in mid-hand.