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How to Win at Blackjack

If you want to win at blackjack, you need a solid strategy. This is true whether you’re a casual player or a professional card counter. The game is easy to learn, but mastering it requires a good understanding of probability and the math behind it.

The goal of blackjack is to get a higher hand value than the dealer without going over 21. If you do, you win. If the dealer has a hand closer to 21 than yours, it’s a tie and you both lose.

To do this, you must draw cards until your hand has a value of 17 or more. Each player’s turn ends when their third card is dealt. At that point, the player can choose to stand, double, or surrender (when available).

If you have a total of 21 from your first two cards it’s a blackjack and you win 1.5 times your bet. If the dealer has a blackjack, you also win 1.5 times your bet. However, if the dealer has a 10 underneath, you’ll lose your insurance bet and your original stake.

The best strategy is to stay on a hard 17 or higher, regardless of what the dealer is showing. It’s possible that you’ll receive an Ace, 2, or 3, but it’s much more likely that your next card will be lower than the dealer’s, so doubling down isn’t beneficial.

In addition to staying on hands, it’s important to split certain pairs of cards, such as two eights and two aces. This is a great way to make more money than you would by simply hitting, especially if the dealer shows a nine or an ace.

Another strategy is to buy insurance if the dealer has an ace. When you buy insurance, you’ll place a second bet equal to your initial wager and the dealer will check her hole card. If she has a ten underneath, you’ll lose your original bet, but if she doesn’t have a ten, you’ll get paid 2 to 1 on your insurance bet.

Many players also use a simple betting system to improve their chances of winning at blackjack. This is called the Martingale system, and it involves increasing your bet each time you lose a hand until you win. While this method works well in theory, it’s not recommended for most players because it can drain your bankroll quickly.

Another important thing to remember is that you must always play within your bankroll. While it’s tempting to increase your bet size after a few wins, you should be careful not to overextend yourself. If you’re new to blackjack, start small and work your way up slowly. This will help you manage your money better and end each session with a profit. In addition, it’s a good idea to set limits for your blackjack sessions so you won’t spend more than you can afford to lose. This will help you stay in control of your money and enjoy the game more.