As the previous posters stated, learn the correct basic strategy. There is only ONE correct basic strategy in the game of Blackjack. There are some minor variations to the strategy depending upon rules variations, number of decks, etc., however, I suggest just learning and memorizing this strategy prior to ever playing for any significant amount of money. To simplify the process, just stick to the 6 Deck Shoe Game where you are allowed to double on any first two cards--including doubling down on a split pair.
Currently, the 6 or 8 deck game (6 always preferable to 8) is by far the most prevalent game in casinos throughout the country. The only other major rule variations are, Dealer Must Hit Soft 17 (unfavorable to the player) and whether or not Surrender is allowed, (favorable to the player). Any time the casino gives you an additional option in how you play your hand this is advantageous if you know the correct play in any given situation.
Many casino gift shops actually sell a credit card sized chart with the correct basic strategy rules. Casino bosses and executives are happy to let you use these at their tables because you will still be at a one to two percent disadvantage on their game if you follow it to the letter. I have attached a photo of a Basic Strategy card at the bottom. I see one play that is to my knowledge incorrect. The card says you should always double down on Soft 19 against a dealer 6. While this is an advanced play to a card counter in certain situations, it is not correct to always do it and I recommend that you NEVER do it.
If you plan to be more than a casual player then you should learn the basics of counting cards. Count systems are actually easy to employ with practice--even in games of 6 or 8 decks. I will highly recommend two books. You will probably have to order from Amazon if you want them:
"The World's Greatest Blackjack Book" Revised and updated edition, by Lance Humble, PHD and . . .
"Blackjack, A Winner's Handbook, by Jerry L. Patterson (last updated in 1990 to my knowledge).
There are many other excellent books available on the game but these are my personal favorites. Keep in mind that both books contain considerably outdated information, however, overall they are informative, educational, and especially in the case of Humble's book--a good read.
MOST IMPORTATLY, No matter what level of skill you attain in the game, NEVER NEVER NEVER make the mistake of thinking card counting and all the other technical skills for the game will make you unbeatable. Blackjack strategy is pure mathematics but this math is based upon Long-Term statistical computer simulations of millions upon millions of hands. Trust me, you will NEVER get into the long-term. This is what makes Mr. Patterson's book an essential for any serious player.
MORE IMPORTANT THAN ANY OF THE ABOVE INFO for Blackjack or any other form of gambling.
Know that regardless of you skill level in the game, psychological control, self control, proper money management, and keeping your head on your shoulders when gambling is 99.5% of the game---not the .5 to 1 percent advantage you may gain over the house as an accomplished counter. Any major casino in the US, i.e. MGM/Mirage Resorts or Harrah's properties know that most counters are no threat whatsoever. They will tolerate your skills and your wins in most cases for a very long time because they know that eventually the counter will beat himself worse than any other player when he hits that unavoidable and very long losing streak. The counter will play into this streak foolishly thinking he will dig out because of his advantage. If I had known this 25 years ago, I would be a wealthy man.
Only the extremely rare professional who has both the bankroll, and the psychological Control on a consistent basis will be barred from any decent casino in the US. I have been asked to leave many times--especially in Downtown Vegas, or Laughlin, and other places. I have been shuffled up on and I have had the shoe cut in half countless times and dumpy places. But, I have NEVER been officially barred from any casino. The reason for this is because I am unfortunately not one of those rare people who has managed to keep my head and manage my money consistently over the years.
I hope this helps anyone who aspires to become an accomplished player in the fascinating and exciting game of Blackjack.