Blackjack is a card game where players wager money on the cards. The goal of the game is to get as close to 21 as possible, without exceeding the amount of bet. If the dealer’s hand is closer to 21 than the player’s hand, the player loses his or her bet. This also holds true if the dealer busts.
Players can also place insurance bets. Insurance wagers are worth half of the original bet. If the dealer has a blackjack, insurance pays two to one. If not, the insurance bet pays out at half the original bet. The game then proceeds as normal. If the dealer doesn’t have a blackjack, the player who purchased the insurance bet wins.
Another way to increase your chances of winning in blackjack is to split a pair. Pairs are worth ten, so splitting them is a great way to get into a high-value range. Another way to split a pair is to split the hand into two. The dealer will split the pair into two separate hands, and the player can play each hand separately. Alternatively, you can choose to surrender your hand completely. This is done verbally, and will result in the loss of half of your wager.
Blackjack can be played at home as well. You don’t need a fancy table to play at home. Just make sure you get your friends and family to play with you. Take turns being the dealer. The dealer’s turn can be passed clockwise or every five hands. The deck of cards should be reshuffled after each hand.
A gambler can also double down if he or she has a pair of tens or elevens. Most casinos allow this, but some restrict it to pairs of tens and aces. The signal for this is an additional bet placed next to the original bet. It is not a wise move to double down for less than the maximum bet, as it is a risky move.
After a player has dealt two cards, he or she must decide whether to “Stand” or “Hit”. If a player hits, he or she must stand on a seventeen or higher. Otherwise, he or she must hit again. If the total of his or her hand is twenty or more, the player has busted and is out of the game.
Players are also encouraged to split tens and aces. In most cases, they can receive only one extra card with an Ace, and this can make the hand a poor one. This is especially true if the two pairs are identical. However, it is still a good idea to split an Ace with a ten if the two cards are not identical.
There are several good books on blackjack strategy. Blackjack Blueprint by Rick Blaine covers basic strategy and many types of counting systems. The book also discusses money management strategies. Professional Blackjack by Stanford Wong discusses the importance of waiting for a favorable deck, which is known as Wonging. Another excellent resource is Wikipedia’s Blackjack page.