How to Play Blackjack

Blackjack is a card game in which you compete against the dealer. The goal is to get closer to 21 than the dealer, without going over. You can make a variety of bets to improve your chances of winning. In addition to standard bets you can also place Bonus Spin side bets in Blackjack Spin, which pay out a fixed amount depending on the number of aces in your first two cards.

The game begins with each player being dealt two cards. They may then choose to hit (ask for an additional card) until they are satisfied with their hand or bust. The dealer also receives two cards, one face up and one face down. The dealer will then ask each player whether they wish to buy insurance. This is a side bet that pays 2 to 1 if the dealer has a blackjack.

Once the players have made their bets, the dealer will check his cards and then either stand or draw additional cards until he has a hand of at least 17 or busts. The dealer will then pay out any players who have a blackjack and collect the insurance bets.

Players can also double any pair of cards (except Aces) to create two new hands. Alternatively they can split pairs of two cards of the same value, and each of these hands will receive an additional card. This can result in hands with a higher total than 21, but not blackjack. A player can also make a side bet, usually a maximum of half their original stake, on any of the three options available to them.

You can also choose to surrender if you are not happy with your hand. This gives you back half your original bet and prevents the dealer from taking your blackjack. You should only surrender if you think that the dealer has a good chance of having a blackjack, or if your hands are extremely bad and you can’t improve them.

Expert blackjack players exploit opportunities to maximize their wins. They will double and split far more often than novices, meaning that they will bust more frequently, but will also win a lot more money. This makes them a better investment than novices who play too conservatively, afraid to risk their money on hands that they can’t improve.

Casinos sometimes reduce the payout for blackjack to only 6:5, which increases the house edge and hurts players. Always look for games that pay 3:2 or higher. You can find these in many online casinos.