The Basics of Blackjack


Blackjack is a card game that involves players and the dealer. It uses one or more 52-card decks. Number cards have their face value, while jacks, queens, and kings are worth 10 points. Aces can be either 1 or 11.

If your first two cards total 21 and the dealer doesn’t have a natural, you win. This is known as a push and you receive your original bet back.

Basic strategy

Blackjack basic strategy is the best way to minimize the house edge. It has been proven mathematically through a computer simulation that played several hundred million hands of blackjack. It determined which decisions are the best for the player, given every possible combination of starting player hand and dealer up card.

It’s important to remember that blackjck is a game of probability, and winning and losing streaks are normal. Keeping a positive mindset will help you make better decisions and maximize your chances of winning.

Another important factor in blackjack is bankroll management and knowledge of the house edge. Never bet more than you can afford to lose, and don’t fall for the “hot streak” myth. The odds don’t change just because you’re winning a few hands in a row, or because you feel lucky. In fact, a losing streak can actually increase your risk of a big loss. Avoiding alcohol is also a good idea because it can lower your inhibitions and lead to risky play and betting.

Insurance bets

Insurance bets are always a bad idea in blackjack. While they may seem like a good choice when the dealer’s up card is an ace, you have less than a one-in-three chance of winning your insurance bet. Unless you are an expert card counter, this is a losing bet in the long run.

If you have blackjack and the dealer has an ace, the dealer will ask if you want even money. This is not the same as insurance, but the maths and house edge are identical.

The only time a player should take insurance is when they have a true count of +4, which indicates a deck rich in Tens. Otherwise, the player is better off just betting on their own hand. Many players are encouraged to make an insurance bet by more experienced blackjack players, but it is a bad idea. The best way to minimize your losses is to learn basic strategy and use the proper etiquette.

Rules of etiquette

The rules of etiquette in blackjack can help you navigate the game with finesse and respect. They include avoiding distractions, properly handling cards, and managing your bets. It is also customary to tip the dealer during the game or when you leave. However, be aware that the appropriate way to do this varies depending on the casino you’re playing in. It’s also important not to offer unwanted advice at the table.

It’s also important to maintain a spirit of good sportsmanship. This means congratulating other players on their wins and accepting losses with grace. If you do happen to encounter a dispute at the table, address it calmly and diplomatically. This will prevent conflicts from escalating and negatively affecting the gaming experience for everyone at the table. Also, be sure to avoid touching other people’s chips and cards without their permission. This is considered inappropriate and can cause confusion for other players. In addition, always use one hand to pick up your own cards (unless they’re being dealt face down) and keep them visible to the dealer and surveillance cameras.


Chips used in blackjack can be made of different materials. Some are molded in plastic and weigh about 10 grams each while others are made of heavier composite or clay chips. Some even contain a metal insert to make them more heavy. These heavier chips are easier to stack and are often preferred by players as they produce a more authentic casino sound. They are also available in different colors. In addition, casinos sometimes offer chips denominated in 888 or 8 as they are considered lucky numbers for the Chinese community.

Some chips do not have denominations as they can represent different values simply by dividing or multiplying the face value (e.g. a $5 chip can be a dollar or five pennies). Some dealers may allow players to convert cheques of lower denomination into higher ones, but only if they are running short on these chips and it would halt the game for too long as the dealer waits on casino personnel for more.