# Basic Blackjack Strategy

Blackjack is a game of strategy, chance and skill. It has become a popular casino card game in which the player attempts to beat the dealer by having a hand with a higher point value than the dealer’s without busting. The game has many rules, procedures and codes of conduct that must be followed in order to maintain the integrity of the game and protect the players. It is also important for the player to have a clear understanding of basic blackjack strategy.

Basic blackjack strategy refers to a specific series of plays that should be made in every situation in the game. It varies by casino and table, but the general idea is to make the best possible play based on the cards you have been dealt and the dealer’s up card.

For example, if you have a hard 11, it is usually best to double down on that hand because it is one of the strongest starting hands in blackjack. Similarly, it is often best to split pairs of 8s and Aces, depending on the dealer’s up card. However, if you have a weak hand such as 9s and the dealer shows an Ace, it is generally better to just stand.

Another thing that should be kept in mind when playing blackjack is the house edge. This can be lowered by following basic blackjack strategy and not deviating from it based on your feelings or the current table conditions. Having a basic strategy can reduce the house edge to less than 1%.

Side bets in blackjack have become very popular, but they are not a good way to win money. These bets are placed at the same time as your main wager and are generally based on probability. Examples of these bets include predicting whether the dealer will have blackjack, a pair or triplet, or that the player will bust.

In the early years of blackjack, the game was viewed as too complicated to be analyzed mathematically. This changed in 1956 when Roger Baldwin, Wilbert Cantey, Herbert Maisel and James McDermott, referred to as the Four Horsemen of Aberdeen, developed the first reasonably accurate basic blackjack strategy. They used hand calculators to determine the best play in each situation, and they proved that blackjack offered the best odds for the player if played correctly.

Blackjack has evolved into a very complex game with many different betting strategies. Some of these techniques, such as shuffle tracking, can be extremely difficult to master. Blackjack is a great game to learn with friends and family, but the best way to maximize your chances of winning is by sticking to basic blackjack strategy.

It is also important for the player to manage their bankroll. Before sitting down at a table, the player should decide how long they want to play and set their bet limits accordingly. It is also recommended that the player practice with virtual money before making any real money bets. It is a good idea to avoid progressive betting, where the bet is increased after each loss, as this can get expensive very quickly.