Blackjack is a card game played between players and the dealer on a semicircular table. It typically seats 7 players (or “spots”) but can accommodate fewer or more, depending on the casino and table. The dealer stands behind a chip rack and deals two cards to each player and one to herself, face up. Players act in turn, choosing whether to stand, hit, surrender or double down. The dealer acts last, and must hit on 16 or less and stand on 17 through 21. The dealer pays the winner of each hand one-to-one on their wager. If both hands have the same total, it is a push and neither wins nor loses.
There are many different strategies for playing blackjack, but at its simplest level the objective is to beat the dealer. This can be done by getting a hand value of higher than the dealer’s or by having a better first two cards (blackjack) than the dealer.
Those with a good understanding of basic strategy can significantly reduce the house edge. The key is to understand the value of each card and learn to count them. Cards numbered 2-10 are worth their printed values, while aces can be valued as either 1 or 11. The best strategy is to play for the big money hands, which are those that contain an Ace and a ten-valued card (or a pair of tens).
Before you start your blackjack adventure it’s a good idea to do some practice. You can find plenty of online games that let you test your skills. It’s also a good idea to get familiar with the rules of the game and its history, as there have been some significant changes in the game’s rule set over time.
If you have a great deal of experience dealing cards, you might want to consider working as a blackjack dealer in a real casino. However, it’s important to remember that a job as a blackjack dealer is not easy and involves long shifts, often on weekends and holidays. Besides the long hours, there are frequent exposures to secondhand smoke and fumes in casinos.
In addition to learning the game, blackjack dealers need to be able to perform simple math and follow detailed procedures. They must also be able to communicate effectively with guests, both in person and over the telephone. If you have the right qualities, this is an excellent career choice.
In blackjack, the dealer checks her hole card using a special viewing window before anyone makes an insurance wager. If she has a ten underneath, she has blackjack and collects everyone’s original bets. If she doesn’t, the side bets get paid out at 2 to 1. Then, the dealer sweeps the table, shuffles the deck and starts a new round. If the dealer has a blackjack, everyone loses their original bet. A push is a tie, and the original bets remain in the betting circle to be placed on the next hand.