Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games and has a reputation for being a game of skill. However, some players still make mistakes that can cost them money. These mistakes can be avoided by following a few simple rules. Some of these rules include: knowing when to hit, when to stand and when to double down. Having a basic strategy in place will help players maximise their chances of winning and minimise the amount they lose.
The goal of blackjack is to beat the dealer by acquiring a hand with a value higher than theirs or getting 21. To do this, players must count the values of each card that they receive. Cards from 2-10 are worth their face value, while aces have a value of 1 or 11. To count the values, players must keep a running total and subtract each card as it is drawn.
It is also important to know when to split and when not to. For example, it is generally a good idea to split aces if the dealer shows a 7 or an 8. Similarly, splitting two eights will give you a very strong hand and should be done whenever possible. However, you must be careful not to over-split as doing so can increase the house edge and decrease your chances of winning.
Another way to increase your chances of winning is to learn how to count cards. This will allow you to make better decisions about when to hit, stand or double down based on the cards that you have and the dealer’s up card. In addition, counting cards will also let you know when to change your bet size based on the outcome of previous hands.
Finally, it is essential to understand the house advantage in blackjack. This is the percentage of the total bet that the casino will win over time. This is different from the house edge in other casino games because it is based on mathematical calculations and not luck. The house edge in blackjack can be reduced to less than 1% by following a perfect strategy.
To achieve this, you need to be able to think clearly when playing the game. For this reason, it is best to avoid alcohol and play only when you can concentrate. It is also a good idea to practice by using a computer programme or playing with friends before you start to play for real money. Finally, it is important to walk away when you are making a profit, as this will help you avoid the temptation of continuing to play even when your luck turns against you. This is a common mistake that many players make and can be avoided by simply setting a limit for how much you want to spend and cashing in when you have reached this limit. It is also a good idea to set up a bankroll before you begin playing, as this will ensure that you don’t spend more than you can afford to lose.