Blackjack is a card game in which players try to beat the dealer. The aim is to get a hand value of 21. To reach this goal, the player’s first two cards must be an ace and ten-card. There are also many variations on the game that add an element of player choice.
Blackjack can be played with one to nine decks of cards. Players sit on opposite sides of the table. If the dealer’s upcard is an ace, the player can choose to hit or stand. Once the dealer checks his hole card, the game continues.
Basic strategy determines when to hit and stand, when to double down and when to split. It can be customized to the number of decks used and the house rules. Whether you are playing a single or multiple deck game, basic strategy can reduce the house edge to less than 1%.
The blackjack hand that combines an ace with a ten-card is called a natural. A hand that combines an ace with any other card is a soft hand. Generally, a soft hand is not busted when the score is 17. However, some casinos will not allow you to split a pair of Aces.
Another rule, known as the Charlie rule, increases the house edge over eight fold. If the dealer has five cards with a total value of under 21, both the player and the dealer are considered pushes. This is usually a bad situation for the player. In addition, it makes card counting useless.
Some casinos will not permit a player to take insurance if the dealer’s up card is an ace. Insurance is a side bet that pays 2:1. The player is paid 2 to 1 if the dealer has blackjack, and is paid a full half of the original bet if the dealer does not have blackjack.
Many casinos now offer a 6:5 payout on blackjacks. This is a reduction from the traditional 3:2 payout. Since 2003, casinos in Las Vegas have been offering a 1:1 payout on single-deck games. Although this reduced payout is not available everywhere, it is common in casinos that have more than six players.
A woman from New York recently won $207,875 on a blackjack progressive table game. While the game is not as exciting as a regular game, it is a popular game in many parts of the country.
Blackjack side bets have become popular in the last two decades. These bets can be placed on a player’s bust or on the dealer’s bust. They are often purchased at the same time as the main bet. Several different blackjack side bets are now available at online casinos. One popular option is to bet on getting a pair of Aces as the first two cards.
Blackjack variations are not used often in standard blackjack. Instead, they are used in combination with traditional blackjack rules. For example, Spanish 21, which uses the same cards as blackjack, pays 3 to 2. You can re-double after splitting on the same hand.