In Blackjack, the first two cards a player receives must be an ace and a ten-card. Both cards must have a count of 21 or more. If a player is dealt a natural, he/she receives one-and-a-half times the total amount of the bets placed by all players. If not, the dealer collects the bets from all players, and the player loses his/her chips.
The best hand in blackjack is 21, also known as a ‘natural’ hand. This is the result of an Ace plus any King, Queen, or Jack card, or any ten-card combination. This combination is almost unbeatable and is only tied with a dealer’s blackjack. In that case, the player’s bet becomes a push. The dealer always has the best hand in blackjack, so the dealer has the better hand.
The dealer shuffles the deck after each game. If the dealer cuts a card, the dealer must reshuffle the deck and add it to the deck. Many new players are puzzled by the dealers adding cut cards to the deck. However, the casino takes precautions to avoid this type of cheating. By limiting the depth of the deck, they discourage card counters from obtaining an edge. Therefore, casinos take measures to avoid card counting in blackjack.
While blackjack is a game of chance, strategy is key to winning. When betting, remember that the odds are in your favor if you play the right hand. The dealer’s cards affect all of your decisions. Always think about the value of the dealer’s cards and follow his/her advice. If you’re not sure which card to play, ask other players for their advice. This way, you’ll be able to win the game.
Insurance is a great way to protect your bets if the dealer doesn’t have a high hand. Players who place insurance bets will get paid two-to-one if the dealer doesn’t have an Ace. The insurance bet is a great way to make sure you don’t miss a single card – or two – during the game. However, there are some disadvantages to insurance bets.
Players who have a pair of tens or aces can also split those hands. This means that the player gets a second card on top of each hand. However, this is almost always a bad move for players, as splitting a pair of tens will not result in a Blackjack – the dealer will have to split the pair. Similarly, splitting a pair of aces and a ten will result in a hand of 21 and not a Blackjack.
There are a number of books and strategies available on how to win at blackjack. Rick Blaine’s Blackjack Blueprint explains the basics of basic strategy, various counting systems, and money management. Bryce Carlson’s Professional Blackjack explains the strategies of waiting for a favourable deck, or “Wonging.” A more modern version of this strategy is described in The Blackjack Life by Olef Vancura and Ken Fuchs.