Whether you’re at a blackjack table in a casino or at home, there are a few basic rules to know. The object of the game is to beat the dealer’s hand. If you get a hand with a value of 21 on the first two cards, you’ve won the hand. If you don’t, you’ve lost. The dealer’s hand must hit if it’s below 16, and stand if it’s above 17. If you’ve won, your bet is returned. If you’ve lost, half of your bet is forfeited.
Blackjack is played with a standard 52-card deck. You can either play one player at a time or a team of players. Players start with an equal number of chips. A game of blackjack usually takes place at a table with two to seven players. If there are more players, the game can be played in tournament format. A tournament consists of several rounds with one or two players qualifying after a set number of hands are played.
The game is played using one to eight 52-card decks. The deck is shuffled after each hand is played. The number of decks used varies by casino. You can also play with a single deck if you prefer. If the deck contains fewer tens than you’d like, you can increase your starting bet.
The hand that’s considered to be the best is called a “perfect” hand. It’s made up of an ace and either a Jack or a Queen. The perfect hand is not blackjack, but it’s a good way to beat the dealer’s hand. It also pays out at a higher rate, at 2 to 1.
Blackjack is also played with an insurance bet. The insurance bet is a wager on the dealer’s ace. If the dealer’s face up card is an ace, you’re allowed to take insurance, which costs half of your original bet. If the dealer’s face up card reveals a ten, you lose your bet. The dealer can hit or stand.
The best time to make an insurance bet is when the count is high, as the odds of the dealer’s card being a ten are better. If the count is low, you’re best off avoiding the insurance bet. You’ll lose money on the insurance bet in the long run. You can also double your original bet if you think you have a good chance of winning.
Some casinos allow players to split aces, but they must do so with the same rank of ace. If you’re splitting Aces, you are generally only permitted to receive one additional card on each hand. However, there are rule variants that allow you to split non-matching 10-value cards. These rule variants can reduce the house edge by 0.03%.
Blackjack can be played at home with a regular 52-card deck or online. You can find games using a single deck, double deck, 4 deck, 6 deck or 8 deck. Blackjack tournaments may be played over several rounds. In these tournaments, the player who has the highest chip count at the end of the round is the winner.