How to Beat the House Edge at Blackjack

How to Beat the House Edge at Blackjack


Blackjack is a casino card game that involves beating the dealer. Players are dealt two cards face up, and the dealer gets one card facing down and one card exposed. The goal of the player is to have a hand value of 21 or as close as possible, without going over. If the player busts, he loses. The player can hit (take another card), stand, split pairs, or surrender in certain situations. The dealer can also hit, but he cannot split.

Blackjack rules vary from place to place, but most Las Vegas casinos and online blackjack games play with American blackjack rules. The game is played with six to eight decks of cards. A player can count the cards as they are dealt by keeping a running total and adding up values of each card. The most common counting system is the Hi-Lo method, but there are many others. The higher the count, the more advantage a player has in betting. Casinos are wise to this, however, and will often use multiple decks simultaneously. In this case, it is best to practice with just one deck and divide your running total by the number of cards used in the deck to get a true count.

In addition to learning basic strategy, a blackjack cheat sheet can help you improve your odds of winning. These charts are based on millions of hands played and provide the optimal decision for each blackjack situation, including whether to hit or stand. They can also help you decide when to double down or split pairs, based on the dealer’s upcard.

A good starting point is to decide how much money you are willing to spend playing blackjack and stick to it. This will prevent you from chasing your losses when you’re losing and keep you from making costly mistakes when you’re playing well. You should also learn to size your bets correctly for each hand. This will allow you to take advantage of your winning streaks and minimize your losses when you’re on a losing streak.

Depending on the specific rules of a particular casino, a good blackjack player can reduce the house edge to less than one percent by using basic strategy and counting cards. The latter involves establishing a point system for the cards and then keeping track of them as they are dealt. This allows the player to increase his bets when the count is positive and decrease them when it is negative.

When you are dealing with blackjack, remember that the dealer must always hit on a soft 17. You should only split a pair of 8s or aces when the dealer has a weak card. Otherwise, you will most likely lose your bet to the dealer. If the dealer has a weak card and you have a strong hand, you should stand. Otherwise, you should surrender. This will give you half of your bet back. Unlike most casino games, you do not lose your original bet when you surrender.