5 Basic Blackjack Strategies For Beginners

Blackjack is a popular casino card game in which players compete against the dealer. A player wins if his or her hand totals 21 or higher and the dealer busts. Players may also win a hand when the dealer has a lower total than 21. If the player or dealer have the same total, this is a push and neither loses his bet. Players can ask for more cards (hit) or stick with their current hand and not receive any additional cards (stand).

A high level of mathematics is often necessary to play blackjack effectively. Professional blackjack dealers use their competence in math to determine the winnings of players accurately and quickly, which maintains the momentum of the game. In addition, they use mental math to count the cards as they are dealt and communicate the status of their tables with customers.

Having the right strategies as a beginner is critical to decreasing the house edge and making money in blackjack. While learning basic strategy takes time, there are quick rules and tips that can make a big difference. Here are some of the most important:

1. Always split Aces and Eights.

This is a great way to reduce the house edge by eliminating one of the worst dealer cards from your hand. Splitting eights is especially beneficial because it gets rid of the lowly total of 12, which would otherwise beat your dealer.

2. Always double a hard 11 against a dealer upcard of 6.

Many beginners make the mistake of not doubling certain hands when they have good odds to do so. Doubling a hard 11 against a dealer upcard is a great way to improve the odds of hitting 21, and it only costs half of your bet.

3. Never split Fives or Faces.

Splitting fives or faces will not increase your chances of a better hand and should only be done when the dealer is showing a weak card, like an Ace. However, a six and an eight make a total of 20, which is much more likely to beat the dealer than a simple 11.

4. Avoid betting on insurance.

This side-bet is a major money-maker for casinos and is often misunderstood by players. Many players think they are securing themselves against a dealer’s blackjack, but in reality the remaining deck is rich in ten-value cards and this side-bet can actually be profitable for solid players.

A blackjack dealer must be able to communicate with players in order to explain the rules of the game and answer questions. This is particularly important if there are more than two players at the table. A dealer must also be able to keep track of the bets placed by each player, as well as the cards that are discarded and those that have been played. This requires excellent memory skills. In addition, dealers must be able to speak clearly and quickly so that the information is understood.