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There are blackjack charts for single decks and for multiple decks. Reading and understanding blackjack charts significantly lowers the house's edge. The charts are always available in any blackjack casino.
The charts are an important guide since they tell what you are permitted to do as well as what the house is permitted to do. By knowing what you are permitted to do and knowing also what the house is permitted to do or not do, you are equipped with important skills on what moves you can make and still be safe without the dealer cornering you.
All blackjack games require the dealer to hit 17. The player chases 21 without busting. The chart will guide you on how to play for instance when you hit 13, 14, 15, or 16. The player's hand is on the left side of the chart and the dealer's up card on top of the chart. The blackjack chart will tell you whether certain rules are allowed or not and this is what will determine how you play.
There are many rules governing blackjack which are played at every free casino and which vary from one blackjack game to the next and from one casino to another. The rules determine what you can do or can not do at any particular juncture.
Splitting allows you to separate your cards if the two cards dealt are the same. By splitting you ask the dealer to deal you another card to see how that card helps you move towards 21. Splitting is done when the cards dealt are high numbers either 8 or 9
Doubling down applies when you are dealt card that total 11 in which case you may add you bet to signify you are doubling. The purpose of doubling is to see if you could be able to get two cards which when paired with the first set of cards can give a ten and 11 to get the 21.
Surrender is an option you be permitted to make when you highly suspect that the dealer has a blackjack and you want to salvage half of your bet instead of risking loosing all of it. Some casinos permit it later in the game, others early, while others do not permit it at all.
Insurance - A player may be offered the option of taking an insurance equal to half of the initial bet if he suspects the dealer has a blackjack. The decision is based on the dealer's up card and it acts as a security for which reason the player will be paid half his initial bet if the player has the blackjack. The tragedy is that if the dealer does not have a blackjack the player looses all his bets plus insurance.