How to Win at Blackjack


Blackjack is a casino game that is played with a deck of cards. The value of each card is the number printed on it (either one or two for face cards, or ten for an ace). The object of blackjack is to get a hand that totals as close to 21 as possible without going over. Players are dealt two cards, and can choose to “stand” (stop drawing cards) or to “draw” (request more cards) based on a set of rules.

If a player has an ace and a ten-value card (blackjack) in their initial two-card hand, they win automatically. This is known as a “natural.” The dealer then pays the player one and a half times their bet. This is a large advantage for the player, and is considered the best hand in the game of blackjack.

A player can also choose to take insurance on their blackjack hand if the dealer shows an ace in his or her upcard. However, in the long run, this bet loses money because the dealer has a blackjack less than one-third of the time. Taking insurance should be avoided.

Another strategy is to increase your bet size when you know that there are fewer tens in the deck. This makes a hand of 12 a good one to stand on because you will not lose if the dealer draws a ten-value card (you will “push”). It also makes a weak soft total of 17 more valuable to hit, since you will only lose if the dealer busts.

If you want to hit again, then extend your palm near the table and gently scratch it, as if you were “scratching an itch.” This signals to the dealer that you wish to draw another card. The dealer will then deal you one card from the shoe, face up. This is called “hitting,” and you can continue this process until you have a better hand or you bust.

Another way to improve your blackjack game is to learn how to spot tells from the dealers. A professional dealer should be able to hide his or her tells, but a newcomer may need some practice before being able to read the dealers’ body language. Some of the most common tells include a tense posture, a nervous glance over the top of the shoe, and a shaky hand. These signs can all be indicators that a dealer has a weakness, and you should avoid betting against him or her in these situations. A dealer who is trying to hide a tell will be very quiet when dealing out the cards. This will prevent other players from picking up on the dealer’s bluff and becoming suspicious. Eventually, you will be able to read the tells of any dealer. You will be able to make more accurate decisions and improve your chances of winning at blackjack.