How to Win at Blackjack

Blackjack is a game in which players and dealers are both dealt two cards. The aim is to accumulate cards that total as close as possible to 21 without going over. The game is played with one or more 52-card decks. Unlike poker, the suits of the cards have no significance in this game; only their numerical value matters. Card 2s always equal two points, card 10s (Jack, Queen, and King) are worth ten, and an Ace can count as either 1 or 11.

There is only one way to win blackjack – beat the dealer. This is accomplished by getting a higher hand value than the dealer, and also by never busting. While some people believe that a player can count cards and improve their chances of winning, it is important to remember that the odds are still against the player.

Effective bankroll management is essential to long-term success in blackjack. A player should set a budget for each blackjack session and predetermine the amount that they are willing to risk per hand. This will help to prevent emotional decisions that can lead to over-spending and potential financial strain. A good rule of thumb is to start small and gradually increase the size of your bets as your confidence in the game increases.

When playing blackjack, it’s a good idea to split any pairs that are dealt to you, such as two eights or two threes. This will give you a chance to increase your payouts and also lower the house edge. Typically, splitting aces and eights will result in significant gains for the player, especially when the dealer has a weak upcard.

Another great strategy for improving your blackjack game is to practice counting cards. There are many different card counting systems available, but the basic principle is to keep track of the running count and the true count. The running count is the number of high cards dealt minus the number of low cards, while the true count takes into account the number of decks remaining.

In blackjack, it’s important to know when to hit and when to stand. Generally, it’s best to hit a hand with a value of 12-16, and stand on any hand that is below 17. However, this isn’t a hard-and-fast rule; there are exceptions.

It’s also important to avoid side bets, as they give the casino an extra 6% edge. The only exception to this is if you are confident that the dealer has blackjack, in which case you can place a bet of up to twice your original bet amount and receive only one additional card. Buying insurance, on the other hand, is generally a bad idea as it gives the dealer an advantage over you.