The Basics of Blackjack

Blackjack is a casino card game where players compete against the dealer. The goal is to have a higher hand total than the dealer without going over 21. The game is played on a semicircular table with one to eight seats for players and the dealer. A 52-card deck is used. Number cards (2-10) score their face value, the Jacks, Queens and Kings count as 10, and Ace can be treated as either 1 or 11. Players can choose to ‘HIT’ (take another card) or ‘STAND’ (keep the current cards). If the player has a hand of 21 or more, they win immediately. The dealer will then pay the player’s bet based on posted limits. In the event of a tie, bets are returned.

In some games, the dealer offers a side bet called insurance. This bet pays 2 to 1 if the dealer has an ace. Players can also place additional side bets, such as ‘Dealer Match’ which pays when the player’s cards match those of the dealer.

The dealer deals two cards to each player and then to themselves. If the first two cards of a player have a total of 21 (an ace and a ten-value card) this is a ‘natural’ or ‘blackjack’ and the player wins immediately. If the dealer has a natural, they collect all bets that do not have blackjacks, and the remaining bets push (win).

After each player has ‘HIT’ or ‘STAND’, the dealer takes their turn. The dealer must draw cards until they have a hand of 17 or more. The players then compare their hands with the dealer’s and whoever has a total closer to 21 wins. If the dealer has a hand of 21 or more, all bets that did not bust are paid out and the remaining bets push (win).

Blackjack dealers work in casinos and must stand for long periods, use their hands, reach with their arms and talk frequently with customers. They must be able to handle large amounts of money and may need to change the denominations of cash as patrons request it. They are exposed to second hand tobacco smoke and fumes in addition to moderate noise levels.

While there are many different strategies to improve your blackjack game, increasing the size of your bets will not significantly change the casino’s edge over you. Instead, it is better to learn a card counting system which allows you to predict future hands based on previous results. However, this system is complex and requires significant training to master. It is best not to play a blackjack game that pays 6:5 as this increases the house’s edge over the player considerably. A blackjack dealer’s salary ranges from $21,810 to $10 per hour depending on location and experience. This is above average for jobs in the US. Typically, blackjack dealers work in shifts, including evenings and weekends. The job can be stressful, especially if the casino is busy.