Blackjack is a card game played between the dealer and one or more players. Each player is dealt two cards and must decide whether to hit (ask for an additional card) or stand (keep the current hand). In addition, players may split, double down, and surrender. The objective of the game is to beat the dealer by having a total that exceeds his or hers without going over 21. A basic strategy reduces the house edge to less than 1% (rules dependent).

Each card has a value of either 1 or 10 for face cards, or the player’s bet amount (which pays 3:2 in blackjack). The game is played with one or more standard 52-card decks. The dealer deals each player two cards and then faces up a card that is either an ace or a 10. The player can then choose to take the insurance bet if the dealer has an ace showing, which pays 2:1. The dealer then checks his or her own hand for a blackjack.

It is a good idea to learn the rules of each table before playing, and the best way to do this is by reading the rule book. Once you have a solid understanding of the rules, you can then focus on making smart decisions and improving your chances of winning.

While it is tempting to increase your stakes when you win, this can be a very costly mistake. It is better to maintain your bet size and only increase it when you are confident that you can win more than your losses. It is also important to set a bankroll before playing, and stick to it. This will prevent you from getting emotionally attached to your wins and losses.

When to hit

A good time to hit is when you have a hand that is close to 21 but has no chance of busting. Typically, this means hitting when you have an 11 with a 5 or 6 or a 12 or 13. You should also hit when the dealer is showing a seven or higher.

When to stand

Depending on the situation, you should stand when you have a strong hand. This is generally when you have a 17 or more and the dealer has a 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, or 10. In most cases, you will want to stand when you have a hard 15 or 16 against the dealer’s 10, 11, or 12.

It takes time to learn the game and develop a blackjack strategy. It is important to practice the strategy as often as possible, and to review the strategy periodically. It is important to remember that the game of blackjack is not for everyone and it is not for people who cannot control their emotions. It requires a lot of attention and self-discipline, and many players struggle with it. However, if you are willing to put in the work, it is possible to master the game and become a winning player.