# Blackjack Basic Strategy

Blackjack is a card game where you compete with the dealer. To win, you must beat him or her with a hand value of 21 from your first two cards. This is not as easy as it sounds.

Basic strategy is based on mathematical calculations that reduce the house edge significantly. The right moves will increase your chances of winning.

## Basic strategy

Blackjack basic strategy is a set of rules that shows the optimal decisions players should make in different situations depending on their hand and the dealer’s up card. Using the correct strategy will reduce your losses and increase your profits. However, it is important to practice responsible gambling and always play within your budget. You should also not be drinking during the game and stay sober in order to make clear decisions.

The original basic strategy was devised by four US Army engineers in the 1950s. Their work was later refined by mathematicians and statistical experts, including Edward O. Thorp, who tested their suggestions on an IBM computer and found them to be accurate. Thorp also invented the first card counting system, which allows players to boost their odds of winning.

Basic blackjack strategy charts cover all possible playing decisions except insurance and doubling down after splitting. They include a chart for hard, soft, and split hands, as well as a chart for hitting, standing, and surrendering.

## Variants

Blackjack has many variations, with each one involving different rules and payouts. Some variants offer special side bets or bonus payouts, while others change the rules of the game to increase player enjoyment and the chances of winning. For example, some casinos allow players to split pairs a maximum of three times or double down on all cards other than aces. Some also offer higher payouts on certain suited or offsuit combinations of blackjack.

Some blackjack variants require dealers to peek for blackjack and not to stand on soft 17. Other variations include Double Exposure, which lowers the house edge but makes the dealer’s advantage higher. Some variations even let players win big jackpots if they make the correct decision. However, players should avoid side bets as they generally come with high house edges. This is especially important when it comes to insurance bets. The best way to win blackjack is to stick with the basic strategy.

## Side bets

Side bets are a great way to add more variety and excitement to your blackjack game. They usually require a small wager and pay large payouts. However, they come with a higher house edge than the standard game. Therefore, they should be viewed as a bit of extra fun and not as a viable method for boosting your winnings over the long term.

One of the most popular blackjack side bets is Poker, which pays out if your first two cards match the dealer’s face-up card. It also pays out if your cards form a pair, and the payout increases with the quality of the pair you create. It is worth noting that the payouts for this side bet can vary from casino to casino. Another popular side bet is suited three of a kind, which requires the player to have all three matching cards. This side bet has a much higher house edge than other blackjack side bets, but it can still pay out at up to 25:1 odds.