Blackjack is a game of chance and skill. By applying basic Blackjack strategies, managing your bankroll and understanding the odds you can increase your chances of winning. The objective of the game is to beat the dealer, by getting a hand value closer to 21 than theirs without going over. If you do not beat the dealer, you lose.

A player’s hand is made up of two cards, which they can choose to hit or stand. They can also double down on a strong hand or split if they have two matching cards. The dealer then draws cards for their hand until they reach a total of 17 or more. The dealer must always hit on a soft 17.

In blackjack, the goal is to get as close as possible to 21 without busting. The game is played with one to eight decks of standard 52-cards. The cards in the deck have different values, with number cards (2-10) scoring their face value, aces count as either 1 or 11, and the King, Queen, and Jack all score 10. The dealer’s hand is evaluated after each card is dealt. If their hand is higher than yours, you win; if it is the same, you push and you do not win or lose money.

Using the correct strategy can help you avoid making costly mistakes. In addition to utilizing the proper strategy, you should also keep in mind that blackjack rules and variations vary from one casino to another. Some have different side bets and rules that can significantly change the odds of your winning.

If you have a weak hand that is unlikely to beat the dealer, you can use the surrender option to save your bet. This is a great way to cut down on your losses and recover half of your bet. This is not available at all tables, but if it is, it should be used as often as possible.

Many players try to count cards in order to improve their chances of beating the dealer. This is not a guaranteed way to win, but it can help you know how many high and low cards are left in the deck. However, it is important to understand that counting cards can be a big disadvantage when you play in a live casino, because the cards are shuffled long before the dealer gets to them.

The ace is the most versatile card in a blackjack hand. It can be worth 1 or 11, depending on the situation, and it can also be part of a pair or a blackjack. Getting a blackjack pays 3:2 at most casinos, so it is worth trying to get one whenever you can.

You should double down only when you are certain that the next card won’t cause you to bust, or if you have a soft hand (one that includes an ace). It is also recommended that you never take insurance, as this bet increases the house edge by about 1%.