# How to Beat the House Edge at Blackjack

Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games, and it can also be one of the most profitable. But there is more to mastering blackjack than knowing the rules and etiquette. The best blackjack players know how to use math formulas and sharp decision-making to tilt the odds in their favor.

#### Blackjack Basic Rules

Blackjack, also known as 21, is a card game played between a player and the dealer. The goal of the game is to build a hand of cards that totals as close to 21 as possible. To do this, the player must either ‘HIT’ or ‘STAND’ after each of their own cards are dealt. The dealer, on the other hand, must draw more cards until he or she has a total of 16 or less and must stand on any hand that is 17 or more.

When a player has an ace up and the dealer has a 10 face-up, the player can choose to take insurance, which is a bet that the dealer will have a blackjack. This bet costs half the player’s original bet and pays 2-1 if the dealer does have blackjack. This bet is not an automatic win, however, as the player must still beat the dealer’s hand.

Unlike other casino games, blackjack is actually symmetric for the dealer and the players, and this makes it one of very few games that allow for an optimal strategy that reduces the house edge. Obtaining such a strategy, however, is not an easy task for the mathematicians who have studied the game. Most importantly, calculating probabilities of gaming events in blackjack requires counting the number of cards of specific values (especially tens) that are being dealt, but this information cannot be known for sure until all the cards have been played.

In addition, the probability of a given outcome can vary with the composition of the deck, and this complicates matters. To avoid these difficulties, mathematicians have developed a series of mathematical methods based on approximations that allow for the calculation of optimal strategies without the need for knowledge of the exact number of cards that will be dealt.

#### Top Blackjack Tips

You don’t have to be a math whiz to play smart blackjack and turn the tables in your favor. ReadyBetGo has made a special arrangement with blackjack expert Henry Tamburin to give our visitors three months free access to his Blackjack Insider Newsletter. This monthly e-newsletter features trips to major gambling destinations, expert blackjack strategy, and tournament news.