Understanding the Basics of Blackjack

Blackjack is one of the most popular casino card games. It’s also one of the easiest to learn, with basic rules that are universally recognized. The goal of the game is to have a hand total closer to 21 than the dealer without going over. It seems simple enough, but there are some nuances and strategies that need to be understood before playing the game for real money.

The first thing to understand about blackjack is the cards’ values. All face cards (Jacks, Queens, Kings) are worth 10 points. Aces can be worth either 1 or 11 points depending on how you play the hand. The other cards have their respective values: 6 – 6, 8 – 7, 5 – 4, 3 – 3.

When a player is dealt two matching cards they have the option to “split”. This means that the dealer will deal another card to each hand, which are then played independently as two separate hands. Splitting pairs can include two aces, two cards with the same value, and even two matching 10’s. When splitting a pair you will not receive additional cards, and can only draw from the deck once. You can also choose to “Double Down” after splitting a pair. This increases your original bet amount by 2x, but you will only receive an additional card once again.

Players can also choose to “Stand” if they are happy with the strength of their hand. This is the safest move if the dealer’s up card is 6 or lower, but it isn’t a good idea if the dealer has a 7 or higher up card. You can also choose to “Hit” if you think that your hand is likely to beat the dealer’s, but you should never hit a 16 or less as this will almost certainly bust you.

Once all of the players have decided on their course of action the dealer will check his or her hole card through a special window in the table. If the dealer has a 10, they will pay out all of the insurance bets and continue with their hand. If the dealer does not have a blackjack all remaining bets will push, meaning that they will simply get their original stake back.

Unlike many other casino games, blackjack is played against the house and not against the other players at the table. It’s important to remember this because if you get too caught up in what other people at the table are doing, it can affect your play.