Understanding the Basics of Blackjack


Blackjack is a card game played by one or more players against a dealer. It is considered to be the most popular casino table game worldwide. The objective of the game is to beat the dealer by accumulating cards that total as close to 21 as possible. In the beginning of a hand, the dealer and the player are each dealt two cards. If the player’s total surpasses 21, they win; if it is equal to the dealer’s (known as a push or tie), the dealer wins; and if the player busts, he or she loses their original bet.

In a typical casino, the dealer will deal each player and himself or herself two cards. The player will then decide to hit (request more cards) or stand (stop drawing cards) based on the rules of the specific table. The dealer will then act based on their up-card and the player’s hands. In most games, the dealer will hit on 16 and stand on 17 and higher.

The game has a number of different side bets that players can place alongside their main bet. These can include betting on the dealer having a blackjack, the value of their own hand relative to that of the dealer’s, or whether they will bust. Some of these bets are called insurance bets, and are a big money-maker for the casinos. For those with a strong understanding of the game, these bets can sometimes be profitable for players who know when to make them.

Another important aspect of blackjack is recognizing when to split pairs of cards. Usually, a pair of fives is a good candidate for splitting, as it gives the player a very strong total of 20. However, if the pair consists of face cards or tens, they should not be split. In these situations, it is much better to double down.

Once all the players have acted, the dealer will reveal her hole card. If she has a ten underneath, she has a blackjack and will take everyone’s original bet. Those who had purchased insurance will be paid 2 to 1 on their wagers. If the dealer does not have a ten, she will continue to play her cards and will deal out the remaining cards.

Having a strong understanding of the rules and payouts of blackjack is essential for any dealer. Without these skills, the game can quickly become a confusing mess. It is also important for dealers to be able to perform mental math and follow a set of procedures in a consistent manner. For these reasons, many dealers go to dealer school in order to prepare themselves for their careers. These schools are typically run by the casinos in which they work, and often last from eight to 12 weeks. After completing the course, dealers are eligible to apply for positions at those casinos. Those who are especially skilled can eventually advance to gaming manager positions. In this position, they oversee the activities of all dealers and customer service staff.