How to Win at Blackjack

Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games. It is a game of strategy and chance where the player’s goal is to win by getting closer to 21 than the dealer, without going over it (known as busting). The game is played using one to eight 52-card decks. The cards have different values. Number cards (2-10) have the value printed on them, face cards (Jack, Queen, King) have 10 points, and aces can either be valued as 1 or 11. Practice playing the game with a friend to get familiar with the rules before you play for real money.

It is a good idea to set your betting limits before you sit down to play Blackjack. This will prevent you from chasing losses and will help you make wise decisions about when to hit, stand, or double down. It also helps you avoid the temptation to increase your bets when you are winning, which is a common mistake that many Blackjack players make.

Some Blackjack strategies involve counting cards. This involves keeping a running total of the card values as you deal them, and then increasing your bets as the count gets higher. The most popular counting system is the Hi-Lo method, but other methods exist as well. Card counting is difficult to learn, and it takes a lot of practice before you can actually use it to gain an advantage in the game.

Another Blackjack strategy is to split pairs of eights and aces when the opportunity arises. This will give you two starting hands that are better than the dealer’s, which can result in more winning hands for you. In addition, splitting these two cards will help you make the most of your winning hands when you do hit them.

You should always hit when your cards add up to 11, unless the dealer has a very strong face card. You should also hit when your cards are better than the dealer’s, especially if they are aces or 10s. Finally, you should hit when the dealer has a weak card and you are confident that the next card won’t cause you to go bust.

It is also a good idea to double down when the opportunity arises. Doubling down allows you to increase your bet by requesting only one additional card. This is a great way to improve your chances of hitting a strong hand, and it can be a very profitable move if done correctly.

It is important to understand when you should hit, stand, or double down based on your cards and the dealer’s upcard. You can find a Blackjack strategy chart online or in many books that will show you exactly what to do in each situation. These charts will even tell you when to surrender if that option is available. However, don’t deviate from the strategy based on your feelings; this will defeat the purpose of using a chart. Instead, take your time to study the chart thoroughly, and try saying it out loud as you read it.