Blackjack is a casino game where you bet against the dealer. The goal is to get a hand with a value of 21 or higher before the dealer does. The game of blackjack involves many nuances and a knowledgeable player can make an impact on the house edge. Although luck plays a large role in blackjack, strategy is also important. In addition to understanding basic strategy, players should also know when it is wise to hit, stand or surrender.

The most common mistake that blackjack players make is trying to improve their hands. This usually means asking for more cards, even if it is not a good idea. This can cause the player to bust, which means they lose their bet. A good time to hit is when the player has a total of 11 or less and the dealer has a 7 or higher. It is also statistically wise to hit when a player has an ace and a card worth 10 or lower.

A skilled player will be able to make decisions based on the total of their two cards and the dealer’s upcard. In order to do this, they should consult a blackjack chart. This chart will provide them with solutions for each situation. It can seem complicated at first, but once you learn the basic strategy it will be easy to understand the charts. It is a good idea to practice using a blackjack cheat sheet before playing for real money.

Another mistake that blackjack players often make is concentrating too much on the other players at the table. This can make them prone to following the herd and making poor decisions. In the end, it is a one-on-one game between the player and dealer. The decisions made by other players at the table should not affect your own play, says Frank Scoblete.

Some blackjack games have rules that can dramatically increase the house edge. One example is reducing the payout on blackjacks from 3 to 2 to 6 to 5. This change takes money out of the player’s pockets and makes card counting less effective. To minimize the house edge, players should always check the rules of their casino before they play.

It is also a good idea to stick with the basic strategy when practicing for real money. It is best to avoid any deviations, as this can decrease your chances of winning. Practicing the basic strategy by using flashcards is also helpful, as you can say out loud what the proper blackjack strategy is for each hand. This will help to solidify the strategy and prevent you from deviating from it based on your emotions or feelings. In addition, it is a good idea to avoid taking insurance on a dealer’s showing of an ace. This is because the odds are against you. If you do decide to take insurance, it should only be on a soft 18 or higher. If you have a hard hand, hit or stand, depending on the dealer’s upcard.