How to Beat the House Edge at Blackjack


Blackjack is a game of chance and skill that has been played for centuries. The objective of the game is to beat the dealer. This is done by the player making a hand value that goes over 21. Some people mistakenly believe that this is not possible, but it is actually very easy to achieve. The key is to know when to hit and when to stand. Using basic strategy and card counting will help you beat the house edge.

The game is played on a semicircular table that can accommodate varying numbers of players. The most common tables hold up to seven players (or seven “spots”). The dealer stands behind the table and chip rack and the players sit on one side. The cards are shuffled either manually or by machine. After the shuffling process, the dealer will draw a card and make a hand (17 through 21). If you have a higher hand value than the dealers, you win and they pay you your wager. If your hand total is the same as the dealer’s, it’s called a push and you keep your money but do not get paid on your wager.

Some casinos reduce the payout for blackjack to only 6 to 5. This greatly increases the house edge and makes the game less profitable for players. Always check the rules before playing a table.

A blackjack dealer will usually explain the rules of the game to new players before they begin play. This is part of their job description and helps to maintain high customer service standards. They will also communicate with players through verbal and non-verbal cues to ensure they understand their decisions. For instance, they may nod their head to signal that they are listening and paraphrase what they hear to confirm they understood it.

In some games, the dealer will offer players “even money” on their insurance bets. This is not true insurance, but it helps the dealer avoid losing a large amount of chips if they have a blackjack right when dealing. They can then take the players’ original wagers and put them in the bank instead of paying out their insurance bets.

Another way that a casino can reduce the house edge is by offering multiple betting options. Many blackjack games now allow players to split their hands, double down, and even surrender certain undesirable two-card hands at no additional cost. These rules changes help players to improve their basic strategy and make more profit.

The most important thing to remember when playing blackjack is to have fun and not to be intimidated by the fact that the dealer has a big advantage over them. By following a simple strategy, you can reduce the house edge to as low as 0.5%. Colin is a professional blackjack instructor and runs the Blackjack Apprenticeship YouTube Channel. He has been counting cards for over 15 years and once ran a multi-million dollar blackjack team.