How to Beat the Dealer at Blackjack

How to Beat the Dealer at Blackjack


Blackjack is a casino game in which the objective is to beat the dealer by getting a higher total than him/her without going over 21. It is usually played at a table of 2-7 players with one to eight 52-card decks. The number cards (2-10) score their value, the face cards (Jack, Queen, King) have 10, and the Ace can be counted as either 1 or 11.

It is important to remember that blackjack is a game of chance as well as strategy. But a good understanding of probability can make a significant difference in your winning potential. For example, a computer analysis of a player’s hand and the dealer’s up card has shown that for every possible combination of cards, there is exactly one play (hit, stand, split, double, surrender) that yields the highest probability of success.

To increase your chances of beating the dealer, always hit when your cards add up to 11, and stand only when you have a 16 or higher. If the dealer shows a 10 or an ace, double down if the table rules allow it. Splitting 8s and aces is also a sound strategy, as it results in more favorable outcomes than hitting. This is especially true if the dealer has a strong upcard, like a nine or ten.

In addition to focusing on your own hands, you should also pay attention to the other players at the table. But don’t let the decisions of others influence yours, says blackjack author Frank Scoblete. “You’re playing your own game, against the dealer and other players at the table, but not against the world.”

Another great way to improve your odds of winning is to keep your betting level constant. Progressive bet increases, in which you increase your bet amount after each loss, can get expensive quickly. Keeping your betting level consistent is a much better way to control your bankroll and end a gaming session in the black.

Effective bankroll management is essential to long-term blackjack success. Set a budget for each blackjack session and predetermine the amount you are willing to risk per hand. It’s generally recommended to bet no more than one to two percent of your total bankroll per hand to minimize risk.