How to Beat the House Edge at Blackjack


Blackjack is a card game played against the dealer. The goal is to get a hand that is closer to 21 than the dealer, without going bust. To achieve this, the player needs to be good with numbers and have a solid strategy.

Unlike most other casino games, blackjack has a built-in advantage for the house that will play out in the long run. However, this house edge can be brought down to less than 2% with an understanding of the game’s rules and basic betting strategies.

In blackjack, players are dealt two cards and then choose whether to hit (ask for another card) or stand (stick with their current hand). The dealer also receives two cards, but one is face up and the other is face down. In most cases, the player will want to ask for another card if they are certain that their current hand will not go bust, or if they are willing to run the risk of the dealer getting a better hand.

The player’s options for hitting and standing are based on their point total, and the dealer’s visible card. These decisions are governed by what is known as “basic strategy.” The odds of hitting and standing are calculated by computer analysis to produce a probability chart that determines the best move in every situation, including when to split or double down.

In addition to the basic strategy, it is important to understand when to make side bets and how much to bet on each hand. While these bets are often offered by casino operators, they are not always fair to the player. In general, these bets are designed to increase the casino’s edge, and should be avoided whenever possible.

Some players choose to count cards while playing blackjack. This requires a deep understanding of the game and a skill in keeping track of how many cards have been dealt from, for example, a six-deck shoe. Using a basic counting system can raise the probability of a player winning by increasing their bet size as the count rises.

It is also important for blackjack players to know how to manage their bankroll and to stick to it. This will prevent them from making unwise decisions that can result in huge losses. This is especially true for beginners, who should avoid high-stakes games, and instead focus on building their bankroll gradually. A smart way to do this is by setting a budget before starting to play and then raising it as their skills improve. This is the best way to ensure that they have enough money to have fun for as long as they wish.