### The Basics of Blackjack

In the original game of blackjack, the dealer had no options and must stand on a count of 16 or less. However, the game quickly gained popularity after a 1956 rule change that eliminated the dealer’s option to stand on any count of 17 or higher. This change made the game more enjoyable for players, but also left the math of blackjack a mystery. Some casino owners believed that blackjack’s complexity made it impossible to be mathematically analyzed.

A player’s chances of winning a hand in blackjack depend on the dealer’s hand, so if the dealer’s hand is lower than his, they’re likely to lose the hand. A player may decide to hold on to a \$10 bet for the next hand, but if the dealer has a better hand, the dealer will win. Likewise, if the dealer has a higher-than-average hand, the player can keep their bet out for the next hand.

During a blackjack game, the player’s first two cards must total 21 to win. This is called a natural, and it means the player has a pair of 21-value cards. In this case, he wins the game three-to-two and gets one-and-a-half times the bet. If the dealer has a natural hand, the player’s bet is collected and the dealer collects the bets of all players.

If a player has two pairs of five-faced cards, he can split them into separate hands. However, if he has a pair of eights, he can split them into two hands and win. However, standing with a 16 is risky since he has to deal with a higher value hand. Alternatively, an Ace would result in a ‘push’ and the dealer would win the original bet.

During a blackjack game, the player can double down by placing an additional bet equal to the first bet. After splitting, the dealer will deal one additional card on top of the two hands and the player must decide whether to hit or stand. It is best to use this option when you are sure that a single additional card will help your hand. There is no limit to the number of hands you can win with split blackjack, but there are a few strategies to maximize your chances of winning.

When to hit or stand? Hit or stand means you can double your bet if your total is above 21. You can request another card by waving your hand or tap the table behind the dealer’s cards to signal a desire for another card. The same is true for standing and doubling on a soft 17.

In addition to side bets, blackjack has rules and codes of conduct. In the past two decades, blackjack side bets have become more popular. Blackjack side bets vary, but most of them require placing a bet at the same time as the main wager. You can also place a side bet on the first two cards dealt by the dealer or on the dealer busting. For card counters, insurance can help you beat the game.