How to Beat the House Edge in Blackjack

Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games. It has a house edge of around half a percent, which is lower than the majority of other casino games. However, there is a way to beat it by following the right strategy and making smart decisions at the table. The game starts with players placing bets, using chips purchased from the dealer. Once everyone is ready the dealer deals each player and herself two cards each. The player then needs to work out the value of their hand and that of the dealer. They must decide whether to ask for another card (hit), or stick with their current hand (stand).

There are also a number of side bets in blackjack, such as insurance and the double down. These can be risky and should only be made if the player is confident they can win. Generally speaking, it is better to skip these bets and focus on playing the main game.

Once the player has decided to stand, hit, or split they should look at their hand and that of the dealer. If the player’s hand is higher than that of the dealer, they should stay. This will protect the player’s money from being stolen by a big loss or by losing to the dealer.

If the player has a hand that is worth 17 or more, they should always stand. This is because if they ask for an additional card they will increase their chances of going bust. The dealer will also have more chances of getting a better hand than the player’s.

The most important thing to remember when playing blackjack is to have a clear understanding of the rules and the strategy. It is essential to know the values of each card – face cards are worth 10, card numbers are worth their printed value, and aces can either count as 1 or 11.

It is important for new players to practice their basic strategy on the free blackjack charts that are available online. These charts have been designed to help the player make the best decision based on their hand value and the dealer’s upcard. They also suggest when the player should double down, split or surrender if those options are available at the table.

The most common mistake that new players make is to try and get too complicated with their play. It is better to focus on the basics and then move on to more advanced strategy as the player becomes more familiar with the game. The game of blackjack is not an easy one to master, but it can be very rewarding if played correctly. It takes practice and dedication to commit the strategy to memory, but it is definitely possible if you are willing to put in the time. Vegas was built on guys who looked at their wallet-size basic strategy chart a few times while they were doing a handstand in a hurricane, or giving their drink order to a waitress whilst listening to Count von Count serenade them on Sesame Street!