Blackjack is a game of chance and luck, but if you use your brain, you can improve your chances of winning. A good blackjack strategy will not only help you win more often, but also ensure that your wins are bigger than your losses. It is important to know how to play your cards and when to hit, stand or double down. In addition, you should also be aware of how the game’s rules affect your odds of winning.
In blackjack, the player must ask for another card (hit) or stick with their current hand (stand). They can also choose to double down, which increases their bet by up to two times. This option is only available for certain hands and it is usually best to avoid doubling down on soft hands or pairs.
If the dealer shows a 7, you should always hit. Otherwise, you should stand on anything below an eight or a 12. It is important to remember that your goal in this game is to get closer to 21 than the dealer. If you get closer, you will beat the dealer and win the hand. If you go over 21, you will bust and lose the hand.
One of the biggest mistakes that many players make when playing blackjack is increasing their bet size every time they win a bet. This can cause you to lose a large amount of money in a short period of time. It is better to increase your bets in small increments so that you can minimize your losses and maximize your wins.
Card counting is an excellent way to improve your odds of winning at blackjack. To start, you can practice keeping a running count by using a single deck of cards and adding up the values of each card as you flip them over. It takes a lot of practice to keep a running total quickly and quietly, but once you’re comfortable with it, you can move on to more advanced techniques like the true count.
You should only surrender if you have a hard total of 16 versus the dealer’s up-card of 10. A “hard” total is one that does not contain an ace, which can be counted as 1 to avoid busting your hand.
A basic blackjack chart will tell you what to do in almost all situations, so memorize it and stick with it. This will ensure that you are making the right decision based on the situation and the dealer’s card. It is best to print the chart and keep it near you when you are playing, so that you can quickly refer to it.
It is also a good idea to practice by saying the correct strategy out loud. This will help you to more fully understand it and will prevent you from making decisions based on your feelings, which can lead to disastrous results. You can also use a set of blackjack flashcards to help you learn the strategy.