How to Beat the House Edge at Blackjack

Blackjack is a card game played between the dealer and the players. Each player places a bet and is dealt two cards. Players then decide whether to hit, stand, double, split or surrender their hand in accordance with predetermined rules. A winner is determined if the player’s hand totals higher than the dealer’s or if the dealer busts. In the event of a tie, the dealer wins the bet.

The house edge of blackjack can be reduced to less than 1% by following basic playing strategy and employing proper bankroll management. A key aspect of this is to set a win limit before the first hand is dealt and avoid betting more than you can afford to lose. This will prevent you from making emotional decisions that can lead to financial ruin.

Aside from learning the odds of each hand, a player can improve their chances of winning by memorizing a basic strategy chart. This will show them the optimal move for each hand situation based on their initial cards and the dealer’s upcard. You can print this chart out and keep it with you at the table to consult as needed. It’s also a good idea to play only in casinos that offer blackjack games with a fixed paytable to further improve your odds.

It is generally recommended to double down when your initial two cards add up to 11 or more, and the dealer’s upcard is a value between 2 and 6. This will give you the best chance to improve your hand further with an additional card. A good rule to remember is that aces can be counted as either 1 or 11, so doubling down when the dealer’s upcard is a low value will still give you a strong starting hand.

Another tip is to always split a pair of eights and aces, no matter what the dealer’s upcard. This will increase your chances of hitting a high-value hand, which will beat the dealer’s hand and yield a large payout. It is also recommended to never take insurance as this will reduce your winning potential by an amount equal to your original bet.