The Basics of Black Jack
Black Jack is a casino card game where players compete against the dealer to get a hand value of 21 or close to it without going over. It is played with one standard international deck of cards, without jokers, which is dealt face down to each player and dealer. Typical rules include aces counting as 1, face cards as 10, and other cards at their index value. In addition to trying to get a better hand than the dealer, players can also place side bets. The most common are insurance bets, which lose money on average, and blackjack side bets, which win only if the dealer has a blackjack.
Before the cards are dealt each player has the option to place a side bet called insurance, which pays out 2:1 if the dealer has a blackjack. Some games also allow players to split pairs of two identical cards. If a player has a pair of aces they should always split them, as this can make the hand more valuable in double down situations. A pair of 5s should not be split, however, since the extra card can often improve a hand’s odds against the dealer.
After each player has decided what to do with their hand, the dealer will reveal his or her face down card and take a look at the players’ hands to see if they have blackjack. If the dealer has a blackjack the player’s bets are lost, if not they will push (get their original bet back and receive that same amount from the dealer).
In some cases, the dealers will expose a second card to see if they have blackjack and, if they do, all remaining hands will be busted and be collected by the dealer. If the dealer has no blackjack or a higher hand than the player, the hands will push.
Blackjack rules vary from game to game and even within a single venue as determined by casino management. Some games do not allow splitting, and some allow only certain totals to be doubled down on. Other rules, such as the no peek rule (which prevents a dealer from seeing a players’ first card when they are dealing) and reduced payouts on blackjacks (6:5 instead of 3:2) increase the house edge by about 1.4%.
The most important part of blackjack strategy is learning basic strategy. The best way to do this is to practice online using a free Blackjack game and, in some games, by turning on the Advice feature (speech bubble) in the bottom right corner of the screen while playing. This will tell you what move will give you the highest statistical chance of winning a given hand. It won’t guarantee you will win every time, but it should help you be more successful in the long run!