Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games. Its appeal stems from its simple rules, which have remained identical across casinos, and the fact that it is a game of skill in which players can reduce the house edge to near-zero levels. Using the right strategy, players can beat the dealer in most hands and walk away with a profit. However, many players make mistakes that cost them money. Some of these mistakes include playing under the influence of alcohol or when tired, playing without a basic strategy in place, and betting more than they can afford to lose. If you want to improve your blackjack game, follow these tips.

Know when to walk away

While it’s tempting to increase your bet size when you’re winning, you must remember that the house always has an advantage in gambling. If you’re losing a lot of bets, you’ll quickly run out of chips and will have to walk away. Instead, increase your bet size in increments. For example, if you win two $5 bets, then raise your bet to $10. This way, any potential losses will be offset by your wins and you won’t be chasing your losses.

If you’re new to the game, it’s best to start out with the minimum bet and work your way up as you gain experience. This will help you avoid a big loss and still have enough money to play for longer periods of time. Moreover, don’t let other players at the table dictate how much you should bet. There’s nothing worse than getting dealt two aces and not having the money to split them, then busting your hand.

Learn the basics of card counting

If blackjack is your passion, you should spend a lot of time learning the game’s rules and strategy. You can even buy books and online articles that explain how to count cards. It’s also a good idea to practice counting cards with a single deck before you play in a real casino. It’s easier to keep a running total than it is in multi-deck games, and it gives you more insight into how to adjust your betting pattern according to the count.

The higher your running total, the greater your advantage will be. A good strategy is to raise your bet size when the count is positive and decrease it when it’s negative. You can also practice keeping a true count, which is more complicated than the running total and reflects how many decks are in play. This is a strategy used by professional blackjack players and can give you an edge over the house. It can be difficult to master, but it’s well worth the effort. The book “Blackjack Blueprint” is a good guide to learning how to count cards. It can be a bit overwhelming for beginners, so you should study the charts carefully before applying them to the actual game. You can print out the charts to take with you to the casino and refer to them as you play.