Blackjack is a game that requires some skill to master. There are a lot of things players can do to reduce the house edge and increase their odds of winning, including using strategies and side bets. But there is also a bit of luck involved in the game, so it’s important to keep your head on straight and not get caught up in what other players are doing.
If you’re dealt a blackjack (two cards of 21) it is often tempting to take insurance, which pays 2 to 1 if the dealer has an ace upcard. However, buying insurance is a bad idea from a statistical perspective, as it gives the dealer an advantage on every hand played. In fact, if you play an infinite number of hands, paying for insurance will cost you more money than you’ll win back from a blackjack.
Choosing When to Hit
One of the most important aspects of blackjack is knowing when to hit. In general, it is best to hit when your cards add up to 11 or less, since this will make it impossible for you to bust. You should also hit when the dealer shows a card that you think will make it hard for them to beat your hand, such as a seven or higher.
In addition to hitting, you can also choose to double down when your initial two cards are a pair such as four of diamonds or nines. This increases your bet by doubling it, and you will receive an additional card only after making the first bet. This bet can pay off big if you have the right situation, but it can also be dangerous to your bankroll.
Another way to improve your chances of winning in blackjack is to split pairs such as eights and fives. This will give you two separate hands, and each of them will have a better chance of beating the dealer than your single hand would. In addition, you should always split aces and eights when they are dealt to you.
Lastly, when you have a soft 18 or 19 and the dealer is showing a 10, you should stand. Choosing to hit in this situation will only give the dealer an edge of 2%, so it’s better to simply wait for your opponent to bust.