# How to Reduce the House Edge in Blackjack

Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games. It is played with a conventional deck of 52 playing cards and the object of the game is to beat the dealer’s hand by scoring 21 or as close to 21, as possible without going over 21. It is a simple game that can be played by anyone with a little knowledge and understanding of the rules.

#### The House Edge

As with any casino game, the house or casino has a mathematical advantage over players in the long run, but this can be reduced to a small percentage by playing blackjack according to basic strategy. This is done by determining the optimal way to play every combination of player hand and dealer up-card, taking into account the odds of each outcome.

#### Basic Strategy

The most efficient way to play blackjack is to use the standard basic strategy, which was developed by a computer that analyzed millions of rounds of blackjack. This strategy determines when to hit, stand or double down and is based on the points total in a player’s hand and the visible card of the dealer.

There are a few strategies that can be used to reduce the house edge, including card counting and increasing your bets in favorable situations. Both of these methods can turn the odds in your favor, but both should be used carefully.

#### Card Counting

If you have some card counting skills, you can significantly decrease the house edge in blackjack. This can be accomplished by observing the dealer’s behavior and learning what they are likely to do. It is also possible to estimate the dealer’s hole card by studying their face-up cards.

#### Insurance

In a game of blackjack, the dealer is allowed to offer insurance on their ace against an opponent’s natural (a two-card 21). This insurance bet costs 50% of the initial bet and pays twice as much if the dealer’s first card is an ace. The dealer must check for the presence of an ace under the ten, and if she does, she will pay insurance to anyone who had bought the bet.

This option is only available on the first two cards and must be chosen at the beginning of the hand. If the dealer does not have a natural, the bet will be forfeited and the round will be completed.

#### Splitting

You can split your cards into two hands by clicking on the arrows. The dealer will then deal you another card for each of the new hands, which are played independently from each other. This is a very common practice in online casinos and it is very easy to learn.

#### Double Down

This is the same as doubling your wager, but it is possible to double your original bet multiple times during the same hand. In some cases, this can be very profitable.

Unlike other casino games, blackjack is not a team sport like poker. The player at the table only has a limited amount of money to gamble with, and his bankroll is the maximum that he can afford to lose.