Blackjack is a game that requires both skill and luck. While there is a certain amount of luck that can help you get into the game and win hands, it’s not enough to give you a winning edge over the dealer without a strong strategy. This is why blackjack is a game that is dedicated to improving the player’s odds through strategies and side bets. While there are certainly a lot of things to learn, it is possible to master this game with a little effort.

There are a few basic blackjack strategy charts that will show you when to hit, stand, or double down depending on your hand and the dealer’s up card. These are available online and in print, and they can be used right at the table. They are based on research and simulations of millions of blackjack hands, so you can be confident that they will help you improve your chances of beating the house edge.

To start off, you should learn the rules of blackjack. The game is played between you and the dealer, so the other players at the table are not a factor in your decision making. The goal of the game is to reach a hand value of 21 or closer than the dealer’s without going bust. A hand of an ace and a ten valued card is called a “blackjack” or a “natural,” and it beats any other hand. If you and the dealer both have a natural, the result is a push (tie) and neither party wins.

Once you know the rules of the game, it is time to learn some basic strategy. There are many free resources to use, including blackjack strategy charts that will show you when to double down, split, or even surrender. Some of these charts will also tell you what type of side bets to make if your blackjack game supports them.

One of the best ways to improve your blackjack strategy is to practice counting cards. A simple way to do this is to take a deck of cards and turn them over one by one, adding the values to a running total. When you are able to do this quickly and quietly, you can increase your betting power by only playing when the count is in your favor.

Another strategy that is widely accepted is known as wonging or back counting. This involves watching the other players at the blackjack table and only sitting down when the count is in your favor. Casinos are aware of this, and they watch out for players who hang around a blackjack table waiting to play when the count is favorable. This method will reduce the number of hands you lose, but it is not foolproof. You will still lose some hands, so you should continue to learn and practice. If you are able to perfect your basic strategy, it will give you the advantage you need to beat the house edge.