Blackjack is a game of chance in which players compete against the dealer. It can be played in both a table game and in tournament form.

Unlike many other casino games, blackjack has a number of ways to reduce the house edge. In fact, the house advantage can be as low as 1% (rules dependent) using basic strategy.

In blackjack, the player’s goal is to beat the dealer’s hand by having a total of higher points or by not going over 21. When a hand exceeds 21, it busts and the player loses his bet.

The game starts when the dealer deals two cards to each player and one card to himself. Each player must then decide whether to stand, hit, surrender, double down, or split. The dealer then acts last and must hit on 16 or less and stand on 17 through 21.

If the player’s first two cards total 21, they are considered a “natural” or “blackjack”. The player wins immediately unless the dealer also has a natural.

A natural blackjack is paid 3 to 2 or up to 50% more than any other hand, whereas a hand that is not a natural loses. The dealer may also offer a side bet called insurance, which pays 2:1 if the dealer’s face up card is an Ace.

There are a number of myths about blackjack that can cause players to lose their money. Some of these myths are:

#### Blackjack is a random game

When playing blackjack, there is no way to know exactly which cards the dealer will draw. This is because the dealer does not use a random number generator, but rather uses a deck of 52 cards that are shuffled before each round.

#### The dealers’ hole-card is not revealed to the players

When a player draws a card during the game, it is not necessarily revealed to the dealer, but instead it can be “tracked” by tracking the size of a slug or blotter. This slug is often placed on the felt in front of the dealer’s table to signal to the dealer whether or not to stand, hit, or double down.

Statistically, the worst hand to play is a value of 16 because anything above that will bust the player.

#### The best hand to play is a value of 18-21 with a Hit

When you’re dealt a pair of 5’s, it’s generally better to split them than to stand on them. This makes it more likely that you’ll hit and get a high value hand.

It’s better to Stand on Soft 17 than to Hit and Draw more Cards – This is a common mistake that is not advisable for the player, but for the dealer.

In blackjack, the dealer’s face up card is not always visible to the players and can be hidden under a deck of cards. In addition, some casinos will have a special rule that allows the dealer to change his face up card after the first round.