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The Basic Rules of Black Jack

Blackjack is one of the most popular card games in the casino and is played worldwide. The objective of the game is to beat the dealer. It can be done by drawing a hand value of 21 on your first two cards, or by getting a higher hand total than the dealer’s. If your hand is higher, you are paid one times your wager. If your hand is equal to the dealer’s, it is a push and you keep your money but don’t get paid. The round then ends and the deck is reshuffled for another round.

The dealer is a computer that follows a prescribed strategy. This eliminates the need for players to hold beliefs about the dealer’s behavior that deviate from one another, which is a major cause of regret. It also prevents the dealers from making mistakes in their play that can be blamed on player errors or the dealer’s mood.

There are some important rules that must be followed in order to maximize your chances of winning. The first is to never split a pair of cards that have a value of 10 (except for Aces). This rule reduces the house edge by 1.4 percent. You should also never double down unless the dealer has an ace showing and you have a strong hand. In addition, you should always stand on 16 unless the dealer has a seven or better.

You may place a side wager, called insurance, on the deal of an ace. This bet is half your original stake and pays 2-1 if the dealer has blackjack. This bet is not a good idea for most players because it loses in the long run. The dealer has a blackjack less than one-third of the time.

Some rules of blackjack are based on common sense while others are a result of math and statistics. Some of the more common rules include:

If the dealer has an ace showing, you can make an “insurance” bet of up to half your original bet. This bet is placed on an “insurance bar” above your cards and pays out 2 to 1 if the dealer has blackjack. Some casinos pay the insurance bet immediately, while others wait until the end of the hand.

You can also place a “surrender” bet, which is half your original bet and lets you give up the hand before the dealer checks for blackjack. This rule reduces the house edge by 0.624 percent, but it can be abused by beginners who don’t understand basic strategy.