How to Play Blackjack
Blackjack is a casino game that pits you against the dealer. You and the dealer each receive two cards, one face up and the other face down. You must decide whether to hit, stand, surrender or double down. A player wins if their hand totals higher than the dealer’s and does not exceed 21. If the dealer has a blackjack, all players lose their bets, except for those with blackjack, who push (get their original bet back).
To make a bet, place your chips in the betting areas marked on the table. You can only play if you have cash in front of you. You can ask the dealer to change it into casino chips, called checks, after he or she has finished dealing a round.
After each player has received his or her two cards, the dealer will reveal his own card. If the first two cards in the player’s hand add up to an ace and a ten-card, or a “blackjack,” the player automatically wins and is paid at odds of 3 to 2. The dealer also has a blackjack when the dealer has an ace up and an unbusted hand.
If your two cards make a soft or hard total, you can draw more cards to improve your hand’s value. However, you should never draw to a soft 17 because it will increase your chances of busting and losing your money. When you ask the dealer for another card, be sure that it will make your hand stronger and that you can afford to lose a small amount of your original bet if the next card is bad.
Some casinos offer 6 to 5 payoffs on blackjack, which increases the house edge and makes card counting impractical. The player can still beat the dealer by getting a blackjack, but insurance bets are generally losers in the long run. You should only consider making an insurance bet if you’re certain that the dealer has a blackjack. Fortunately, this is less than one-third of the time at most tables.