Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games played in the world. This classic game has a long and storied history and is easy to play.

The objective of the game is to beat the dealer’s hand by drawing cards with a total value higher than the dealer’s, or less than 21, without busting (going over 21). Players make bets and the dealer deals two cards face up.

Those cards are then compared to each other and to the player’s hand. The highest total wins, and if the dealer’s hand has more points than the player’s it is called a push. If the player and dealer have a hand that is equal to the other, it is called a tie and the player retains their bet.

When the dealer’s card is the ace, players may opt to buy insurance. This costs 50% of the initial bet and pays 2:1 if the dealer gets a blackjack.

A player can also choose to split the hand, doubling the initial wager. The player then plays two hands, each with its own set of rules.

The dealer acts last and must hit on 16 or less and stand on 17 through 21. She must check her hole card (using a special viewing window) and if it is an ace, she has a blackjack. The dealer then takes her bets and the game continues like normal.

There are several ways to play a hand, but the best way is to abide by the basic rules. Besides the main betting options, you have the option of hitting or standing, and splitting a pair.

HIT – If you believe your first two cards have a value that will beat the dealer’s, you can “hit” by scraping them off the table or tapping them with your finger. The dealer will then give you another card.

STAND – When your first two cards have a value that is not as good as the dealer’s, you can “stand” by scraping them off the table or indicating to the dealer that you do not want any additional cards. The dealer will then give you a new card and place it next to your original cards.

You can also choose to surrender your hand, which only returns half of your original stake if the dealer’s first card does not produce a Blackjack. This is a great strategy for players who have a lot of low-value chips and wish to save money on the bets they’ve already made.

Insurance

There is a chance that the dealer will bust, and this can be a serious blow to players. If the dealer has a ten underneath her ace, she will have a blackjack and the players who bought insurance will get paid 2 to 1 on their bets.

In 2003, some casinos started to reduce the payout on a player’s blackjack from 3 to 2 to 6 to 5. This was widely opposed by longtime blackjack players.

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