How to Beat the House Edge in Blackjack


Blackjack is a casino card game in which players compete against the dealer. The objective is to create a hand value that is closer to 21 than the dealer’s without going over. Players are dealt two cards and have the option to “hit” (take another card), stand (end their turn and not request any more cards), double down (double their wager, take a single card, and finish), or split (if their hand contains matching cards, separate them to make two hands).

Some casinos offer side bets that pay when the dealer has a specific type of card. Insurance is the most common, but there are many other side bets on the table. These bets can increase the house edge considerably.

The best way to minimize the house edge is to follow basic strategy. This will not guarantee that you’ll win every hand, but it will reduce the number of mistakes that you make. It will also save you money compared to the cost of making perfect play.

There are a lot of rules to remember in blackjack, but you should start by memorizing basic strategy. It will help you avoid a lot of the most common errors and will still give you a good chance to beat the dealer.

In addition to learning basic strategy, you should familiarize yourself with the rules of your particular table. You will want to know if the dealer has to hit on soft 17, for instance, and whether or not they will accept insurance bets. You will also want to find a table that pays blackjack at the standard 3:2 rate instead of 6:5 or even money, which increases the house edge.

Before the deal begins, each player places their bet. If a player has a total of 21 in their first two cards, they are awarded a victory, unless the dealer also has a natural. In the event of a tie, bets are returned to the players without adjustment. If the dealer has a blackjack, however, the player’s bet loses (but their side bet wins, since they are paid one and a half times their initial wager for a blackjack). In this situation, the dealer will collect all the remaining bets from players who did not have a natural and then collect any insurance wagers. This is known as a push.