How to Beat the House Edge in Blackjack


Blackjack is a card game that pits the player against the dealer. The object is to beat the dealer by having a higher, unbusted hand. Players may also choose to buy insurance or surrender. In some casinos the player may even be able to double or split pairs of cards. A good basic strategy will reduce the house edge to less than one percent. There are many variations to the rules of the game, and the game has become popular among mathematicians and other intellectuals who like a real chance at beating the house.

Blackjack requires a lot of skills, and the dealer must be familiar with them all. In addition to knowing how to deal cards, a dealer must be comfortable on their feet, and should be capable of counting and paying out bets quickly. They must also be aware of any special rules that apply to the game, and be on the lookout for players who are trying to cheat the casino or their fellow dealers.

Typically the dealer will reveal their face up card before beginning play in a round of blackjack, and players are then given the option to take insurance or surrender. Insurance is an additional wager that is paid out if the dealer has a blackjack, and surrender is a way for players to forfeit their initial bet in order to avoid losing to the dealer.

A player’s goal is to get their hands closer to 21 than the dealer’s, and if they beat the dealer they win. If the dealer busts, they lose, but if the player also busts then it is a push and neither party wins.

The best strategy for a player is to follow the charts describing basic blackjack rules. These rules won’t give a player an absolute advantage over the dealer, but they will make it nearly impossible to be incorrect in their decisions. Novices in particular tend to play their hands too conservatively, refusing to hit when they should have, and failing to double down and split as often as they should.

Another common method of gaining an advantage in blackjack is to count cards, which is done by assigning values to each card in the deck. This makes it easier to remember which cards have already been played and what the player’s next move should be. Card counting is a difficult skill to master, and it’s important for players to be careful not to reveal any information to other players at the table.

Most of the rule effects used in this calculator are based on Peter Griffin’s Theory of Blackjack, and Arnold Snyder’s definition of standard blackjack rules. These rules are considered advantageous, disadvantageous or neutral to the player (neutral rules result in a zero house edge). Other than doubling after splitting allowed and presplitting aces allowed, all other rule variations are disadvantageous to the player. This is why it’s important to stick with the basic rules, unless you have a specific strategy that you are trying to implement.