Casino gaming doesn’t have that many games that involve skill in how you play them. For the most part, the skill comes in betting wisely, and the outcome of the game is determined by pure chance. Casino gaming favorites like roulette and craps are ruled entirely by luck, so you have to know how to bet and when to walk away from the table to win big. That’s not the case with blackjack. Playing blackjack requires skill, and learning when to hit and when to draw will increase your chances of winning. The dealer has strict rules about when to hit and draw, and they’re designed to give the house a slight edge in the same way that all casino gaming does. If you learn how to play wisely, you can get the best possible odds that you’ll leave the blackjack table with a big stack of chips.

Blackjack is a simple mathematical game. The object of the game is to get as close as you can to 21 without going over, while having a total higher than the dealer’s hand. Aces are worth 1 or 11, face cards are worth ten, and all the other cards go by the number of pips. If one of your cards is an ace, you get the benefit of what’s called a soft total. For instance, an ace and a 7 is a soft 18. If you draw a card, a soft 18 can become an 8 if necessary to keep you from going over 21 and automatically losing your bet.

It’s always best to keep casino gaming strategies simple, because there are many distractions during a blackjack session, and the fast pace of the game can put additional pressure on a player. If a player has 11 or less shown on the cards, a hit is always called for because it’s impossible to bust. If the hand shows a total between 17 and 21, players should stand under almost any circumstances, because the amount of small cards in a deck that will yield 21 or less without busting is very small.

If the player’s hand shows between 12 and 16, looking at the dealer’s hand will give guidance towards how to proceed. Statistically, if the dealer’s card is a 7 or higher, the odds are in the house’s favor. Your odds are about the same whether you hit or not, but they are ever so slightly better for a hit, so it’s a smart move. If the dealer is showing a 6 or lower, the odds are heavily in favor of the player, and standing pat is the smart choice.

Soft totals should change your strategy. A soft 17 or lower indicates a hit is in order. A soft 18 or over still suggests the player should stand pat.

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