The Basics of Blackjack
Blackjack is a table game that involves a combination of skill and luck. The skill part has to do with knowing basic strategies that will allow you to play better than most other players. The luck part has to do with understanding when to hit, stand or double-down based on the dealer’s up card and your own hand.
Blackjack can be played with one, two or up to six cards per player. The goal is to get a better hand than the dealer. A better hand is one that combines an ace with a 10, Jack, Queen or King, also known as a blackjack or a natural. A blackjack pays 3 to 2 and is the best possible hand.
Before a hand begins, the dealer is dealt two cards. Typically, the first card is placed face down and the second card is slid underneath. The exact dealing protocol varies from place to place, but in general the dealer will look at the card for a few seconds before continuing the hand. Watching for a tell is important in blackjack because the way a dealer looks at his or her card can reveal what kind of hand they have.
The dealer must stand on soft 17 and he or she will generally take an ace or value 10 as their hole card. Some games offer the option of insurance which is a side bet that wins if the dealer has a blackjack. Insurance is usually a bet equal to half of the player’s original stake.
When it comes to blackjack there are a lot of different terms that you should familiarize yourself with. Some of these terms have specific meanings in the game while others are simply part of the lingo that blackjack enthusiasts use to describe their favorite pastime.
Getting familiar with these terms will make it easier for you to understand what other players are saying at the table and what is going on during a hand. A few of the most important blackjack terms include:
Another term that is useful to know is ‘hit’. This means you want to draw more cards and is done by extending your palm towards the cards on the table in front of you as though you were “scratching an itch.” The dealer will then deal you another card from the shoe and you can continue hitting until you are satisfied with your hand or you go over 21 (bust).
There are also a number of other blackjack terms that you should familiarize yourself with, such as:
If you are new to playing blackjack it may be helpful to read a blackjack strategy guide. This will help you learn the rules of the game and how to bet effectively. A good blackjack strategy can reduce the house edge to less than 1%. Some of the most effective strategies involve counting cards and a basic betting system. You can find a great blackjack strategy guide on the Internet and there are also many books that explain the technique in detail.