How to Count Cards in Blackjack


Blackjack is one of the most popular casino card games. The game’s rules are simple and easy to learn. There are also a number of strategies that can help you win more often than the dealer. One of these techniques is card counting. Despite the fact that some players think that card counting is a dishonest way to win, it can actually be used to give you a slight advantage over the dealer.

The basic goal of blackjack is to have a hand value closer to 21 than the dealer’s without going over it. In most blackjack games, players compete against the dealer only. Other players at the table are of no concern to the player; they simply play against the dealer.

Once the cards are dealt, each player has the option to stand, hit, or double down on his or her hand. Some casinos limit the card ranks that can be split and may also restrict the option to double after splitting a pair. Once the player’s hand is played, it is compared to the dealer’s and, if the player’s hand is higher than the dealer’s, the player wins the round. If the dealer’s hand is higher than a player’s, he or she will pay out the winning player one and a half times his or her original bet. If the dealer’s hand is lower than a player’s, the dealer will sweep the winning hand’s bet and the original bet will be returned to the player.

A player can also take insurance, although this bet loses money in the long run. This is because the dealer has a blackjack less than a third of the time. In addition, if the dealer has an ace, he or she must hit, so taking insurance is not worth it.

If a player has an ace and a ten-valued card (or a picture card) and therefore has a total of 21, it is called a natural or blackjack. This beats all hands except another blackjack. If the dealer has a blackjack, the hand is a push, and the player keeps his or her bet.

It’s important to know how to count cards before you start playing blackjack. This will help you determine which tables are more favourable to you and increase your chances of winning. This is especially true if you know how to count the decks that are dealt.

If the dealer has an ace in the hole, you should hit because it is unlikely that they will have a ten-valued card. However, if the dealer has a ten-valued card and an ace in the hole, you should stand because this is a very strong hand and will win more than you would by hitting. If you have a ten-valued card and a face card, you should always split pairs of 8’s and never split 5’s or faces. You should also always double your bet when the dealer has an ace up and you have a soft 18 or below against them.