How to Win at Blackjack


Blackjack is a card game where players bet against the dealer. The player’s goal is to get a hand value of 21 or less. If your hand total is higher than the dealer’s, you win and are paid out 1 to 1. If your hand is equal to or exceeds 21 it’s a push, meaning neither you nor the dealer wins.

There is no guarantee that you will win every hand, even when using strategic gameplay. However, there are ways to improve your chances of winning by limiting your losses and increasing your win streaks. This includes proper bankroll management, which involves setting your bet size relative to your budget and avoiding chasing after your losses. It’s also a good idea to use the strategy table found in this article to help you make more informed decisions.

Whether you’re a newbie or an experienced blackjack player, it’s important to understand the basic rules of the game. If you don’t, you may be making mistakes that can affect your overall success. These mistakes can include second-guessing your decisions and playing by instinct rather than following a strategy.

Before you play, it’s important to set your limits and stick to them. This will prevent you from gambling more than you can afford to lose and avoid putting yourself under any unnecessary stress. Typically, you should aim to wager one to two percent of your bankroll per hand in order to minimize risk.

The game begins when each player makes their bets and the dealer deals them two cards – one face up, the other face down. The player must then decide whether to stand, hit, double down, or surrender. If the dealer shows a 10, the player must always hit, while with a 2, 3, or 4 it’s usually best to split.

A hard 11 is a strong starting point in blackjack, so it’s generally worth doubling down when the dealer has a 9 or lower. On the other hand, you should only hit when you’re confident that the next card won’t cause you to bust.

Getting a blackjack on your first two cards is the most common way to win at blackjack. This is known as a natural blackjack and pays out at better odds than other types of wins, such as a pair of tens or the dealer’s ace.

Roger Baldwin, Wilbert Cantey, Herbert Maisel, and James McDermott, often referred to as the Four Horsemen of Aberdeen, developed the first reasonably accurate basic blackjack playing strategy. Their research used hand calculators and demonstrated that a player could achieve the best odds of winning through a well-tuned strategy. Their work is still widely regarded as the foundation of modern blackjack strategy.