# Day: May 9, 2024

#### A Beginner’s Guide to Blackjack

Blackjack is a card game played on a semicircular table with varying numbers of seats, from two to 12. Players place their bets in the center of the table and the dealer deals two cards to each player, face up. The players then decide whether to hit, stand, or split. If a player’s hand has an Ace with a picture card or 10 (a “blackjack”), they win and are paid even money on their bet. Players lose when they bust or their hand is less than 21. The dealer also loses if they bust or their hand is less than blackjack.

Before the advent of computer analysis, it was believed that blackjack was a game of chance and luck, and that there were no strategies to increase a player’s chances of winning. However, mathematical analysis has proven that there is a best play for every hand-hit, stand, or split-regardless of the dealer’s up card. This basic strategy was devised in the 1950s by four US Army engineers using simple adding machines and later refined with computer simulation of millions of blackjack hands.

During the game, players must be careful to keep track of the total value of their hands. The cards are worth their face value, plus a number of points depending on the type of card. For example, an ace can count as either one or 11, and a picture card counts as 10. A player’s goal is to get as close to 21 as possible without going over.

Once the players have decided whether to hit, stand, or split, they must then decide if they want to purchase insurance from the dealer. The dealer will then check their hole card for a ten underneath; if they have a ten, the dealers get a blackjack and pay everyone who bought insurance 2 to 1. If the dealer doesn’t have a ten, she must take everyone’s original wager and the game continues like normal.

The dealers will then have everyone play out their hands. If your hand is closer to 21 than the dealer’s, you win and are paid an amount equal to your initial bet. If your hand is higher than the dealer’s, you push and the dealer’s bet remains on the table. If you’re too greedy and go over 21, you lose and are busted.

The dealers will then reveal their own cards and continue to hit on 16 or lower, and stand on 17 through 21. Players can then decide to stand, hit, or double down based on predetermined rules. Players can also choose to surrender, which gives up their initial bet but does not affect the dealer’s action. However, players should never increase their bets because of the playing decisions of other players at their table, and they should always stick to basic strategy regardless of what the dealer has up. This will maximize their profits and minimize their losses.