# How to Beat the Odds at Blackjack

Blackjack is one of the most popular card games at casinos and online. Its appeal lies largely in two things: it is easy to learn and its house edge can be brought down to less than 1% when a player follows a basic strategy. The game also allows for a lot of player choice – players can hit, split, double down or even surrender depending on the version they are playing.

The odds of getting a blackjack in any given hand are calculated by using the probability of drawing an ace multiplied by the probability of pulling out a ten-valued card from a deck of freshly shuffled cards. This is a mathematically correct way to calculate the odds of winning a specific hand, and it is used in a lot of card game rules.

If you have a total of 17 or higher, you should always stand and not request further cards as this will increase your chances of beating the dealer. However, if you have a pair of 2s or 3s, it is better to split them as this will give you more chances against the dealer. In fact, splitting a pair of 4s will improve your chance of making a blackjack by about 5%.

Many players are tempted to double down when they have a high starting total such as eight. However, doubling down is a risky move that will likely lead to more losses than wins. Similarly, players are often tempted to split when they have a low starting total such as four. This is also a bad idea as you will lose half of your money and still only win the same amount.

It is important to set a bankroll before you play blackjack and stick to it. This will prevent you from chasing your losses and will help to save you from costly mistakes. You should also be sure to play when you are in the right frame of mind. If you are unsure about your playing ability, try practicing with a friend who can act as your mentor.

Don’t try to cheat the system by increasing your bet value after every loss. This is known as the Martingale System and it can prove to be very expensive if you have a long losing streak. Also, remember that your winning streak doesn’t influence the odds for your next hand.

Lastly, it is best to only use a few strategies that you can adapt to different situations. Trying to find “cheats” to improve your odds will only hurt you in the long run and could land you in trouble with the casino. It is much better to take the time to practice and learn a strategy that will work in most scenarios. Then, you can start bringing home those big payouts! Good luck and have fun!