How to Win Big in Blackjack

Blackjack is a card game that pits a player against the dealer. Each hand starts with two cards, and players may choose to stand (stop drawing cards), hit (request more cards), or split (create two separate hands of equal value). A player’s goal is to accumulate a total closer to 21 than the dealer’s without going over. Side bets, such as insurance, are sometimes available.

A good blackjack strategy is key to winning big. The rules are simple and consistent, and the house edge can be brought down to under 2% with proper betting strategy. The most important thing to remember is to stay calm and make decisions based on probability, not emotion. It is also important to avoid chasing losses. Increasing your bet size after every loss can quickly drain your bankroll.

To improve your blackjack skills, you should practice counting cards. To do this, take a deck of cards and start counting the values as you turn them over. Add up the values as you go, and try to keep a running count of the deck’s contents. Once you’ve mastered the running count, you can move on to the true count. The true count takes the running total and divides it by the number of cards left in the deck to determine how many advantage points you have in betting.

When to hit

Hitting in blackjack is always a good idea when your total is 11 or less. This is because it is impossible to bust at this point, and hitting will increase your chances of a better hand. It is also important to note that it’s generally a bad idea to hit when the dealer has an ace showing, as this will often lead to a push.

When to stand

Standing is a good option when you have a high total, like 17 or higher. This will give you a strong chance of beating the dealer’s up card, and it will also increase your chances of winning if they have a weak one, such as a four or five. However, it’s important to be aware of the dealer’s position, and never stand if you’re not sure they have a 10.

When to double down

Doubling down in blackjack is a great way to maximize your profits. This strategy is most effective when the dealer’s up card is weak, such as a five or six. It is also a smart move to double down when you have a soft hand, such as 16, against the dealer’s 10.

When to surrender

Surrendering in blackjack can be an excellent way to cut your losses and win more money. However, you should only use this strategy if it is allowed at your casino of choice. Most casinos do not allow players to surrender their hands, so check the rules before you play. If they do, you can surrender your hand for half its original bet before the dealer checks for blackjack.