How to Beat the Dealer at Blackjack


Blackjack is a card game that involves players and the dealer. Each gets two cards, and the goal is to build a hand value that is close to 21 without going over. The game is played with one or more standard 52-card decks. Each card has a value; number cards have their prescribed values, face cards are worth 10, and aces are either 1 or 11 depending on the situation.

Despite its reputation as a game of chance, blackjack is actually a very scientific game. Computer analysis reveals that for every combination of the player’s hand and the dealer’s upcard, there is a mathematically correct play. Consequently, it is possible to beat the dealer at blackjack by following a set of rules, or basic strategy.

The first step in improving your blackjack skills is learning the basics. Then, once you know the rules, you can make better decisions based on the cards you have and the dealer’s upcard. This will save you money in the long run, even if it doesn’t guarantee a win on each hand.

If you’re a beginner, try starting out at an intermediate table. These tables are usually marked with a level of experience that’s suitable for new players, and they often have lower minimum bets. This way, you can slowly work your way up to a higher-limit table.

Another important thing to remember is that the only person you’re playing against in blackjack is the dealer. It’s easy to get caught up in how the other players at the table are doing, but it’s crucial not to let that affect your decisions.

A common mistake is to over-play your hands. This can lead to a lot of frustration, especially if you don’t hit the numbers you’re hoping for. Instead, be patient and follow the game plan you’ve established for each hand.

Always split 8s and aces, except against a dealer’s 10. This simple strategy will give you the best odds of winning against the dealer, and it allows you to improve your hand if you draw an ace, or cut your losses if you don’t.

If the dealer shows a 10, you should always double down, even if your initial hand is strong. This is a risky move, but it can pay off big if the dealer doesn’t have blackjack and you end up with a hand that wins.

It’s also a good idea to surrender if the table offers it. You can do this before the dealer checks for blackjack, or afterward, depending on the table’s rules. This can save you a lot of money in the long run, but it’s important to check whether this option is available at your local casino before you play. Some casinos don’t even allow it, so be sure to ask before you sit down. You can find this information in the table’s rules and pay special attention to the early and late surrender sections.