Learn the Basics of Blackjack


Blackjack is a casino game in which you compete with the dealer to make the highest-value hand. You can do this by hitting (requesting another card) or standing (sticking with your current hand). If you hit and get a blackjack, you win. If you bust, the dealer wins. There are many variations to the game, but at a basic level the objective is to beat the dealer. The best way to do this is by having a hand value higher than the dealer’s, or 21. You can also improve your chances of winning by splitting, doubling down, or surrendering.

Whether you’re a fan of blackjack or just curious about the rules, there are plenty of online resources to help you learn the game. Some sites offer a blackjack simulator, where you can play the game without risking any real money. This is an excellent way to practice your strategy before you play in a casino.

There are several other things to keep in mind when playing blackjack, including the rule of 6 to 5. Some casinos reduce the payout for a Blackjack to 6 to 5, increasing the house edge and making it more difficult for players to beat the game.

In the casino, you can place side bets in addition to your main wager. These bets can include insurance, which pays 2:1 if the dealer has an ace up, and even money, which is paid 1:1 on a blackjack. It’s important to remember that these side bets increase the house edge of the game.

You can also use a computer to analyze the probabilities of your hands against the dealer’s. This will tell you whether it’s better to hit or stand, and when you should split. Then you can decide how much to bet. Using this information, you can minimize the house advantage and maximize your profits.

In two studies, we investigated how confidence in blackjack knowledge relates to psychological and behavioral outcomes. We manipulated participants’ blackjack confidence, and found that greater unjustified confidence was associated with larger bets (a measure of risk taking) and reduced use of hints designed to improve blackjack play (measure of information search and consideration). It was also related to more optimistic outcome expectations for winning at blackjack, and to lower anxiety levels. The authors wish to thank the participants of this research for their generous contributions. The studies were approved by the Wake Forest Institutional Review Board, and participants received written informed consent. The raw data underlying the conclusions of this article will be made available by the authors upon request. The studies were funded by the Office of Sponsored Research, Wake Forest University. All authors contributed to the design, execution, and analyses of this work. ES and AP were involved in study design and writing; AH conducted the studies; and RS wrote the blackjack program and assisted with analysis. All authors read and approved the final manuscript. This article was published in the journal Psychological Science.