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Blackjack Basic Strategy – Reduce the House Edge

Blackjack is a game in which the player and dealer each get two cards. The player’s goal is to beat the dealer by getting a hand value closer to 21 than the dealer’s.

The best way to increase your chances of winning is to learn basic strategy. This will improve your odds and help you make smart decisions.

Basic strategy

Using blackjack basic strategy is one of the best ways to reduce the house edge while playing the game. It can help you decide when to request another card from the dealer (Hit), stand, or split a pair of cards. It can also help you determine when to double down or surrender.

While it doesn’t guarantee that you will win, basic strategy is the most mathematically accurate way to play blackjack. It can lower the house edge by 0.50 percent or more, depending on how well you follow it.

Increasing your bet after losing a hand is known as chasing losses, and it’s one of the biggest no-nos in blackjack. Continuing to increase your bet after each loss will only lead to more losses.

Side bets

Side bets are a great way to make your blackjack game more interesting and fun. They also add a higher payout to your main bet and increase your overall winning potential. However, they do come with a higher risk and house edge. Therefore, you should only use them if you’re comfortable with the risk and enjoy bigger payouts.

There are several different types of side bets in blackjack, including Perfect Pairs, Insurance bets, and 21+3 bets (also known as poker hands or rummy). Each one has its own odds and payouts. Some can earn you multiple times your original stake while others offer a lower return, but the house edges are considerably higher than those of the main game. In addition, they can quickly drain your bankroll if you’re not careful.

Hit versus stand

When playing blackjack, knowing when to hit and stand can dramatically improve your chances of winning. This is a fundamental part of the game’s strategy, and one that can help you reduce the house edge to almost zero. Using the right strategy will also help you avoid mistakes like taking insurance, which can make your odds even worse.

The best way to determine when to hit is to use a blackjack strategy chart based on probability. This will not guarantee a win, but it can improve your odds. For example, if you have a soft hand of 16 and the dealer has a 5 showing, it is better to hit than to stand. However, if the dealer has a 6, then you should always stand.


Insurance is one of the most controversial side bets in blackjack. It is offered when the dealer has an ace and the player has a blackjack. The expected value of the insurance bet is negative, meaning that players will lose money on this wager over time.

Unlike other side bets, the insurance bet cannot be won independently of your main wager. This is a significant disadvantage over the long term. Moreover, it is not uncommon for the dealer to have a blackjack and still beat the player’s hand. This is why many more experienced blackjack players always decline insurance. They view it as a distraction from basic strategy and are better off just playing their own hand. Even though hedging against a dealer’s blackjack is not foolproof, it is possible to improve the odds of winning by doing some simple math.

Dealer’s face-down card

In blackjack the dealer is dealt two cards, one face down and one faced up. The dealing protocol varies from place to place and is determined by casino management. If the face up card is a ten or an ace players may make a side bet of half their original bet that the dealer’s face down card is a ten, thus creating a blackjack for the house. This side bet is known as Insurance.

Once all sides bets have been placed the dealer checks their face down card. If it is a ten then the dealer has Blackjack and all player bets lose except for any player blackjacks which push. If the dealer doesn’t have a blackjack then the hand ends in a tie, and all bets are returned without adjustment.

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