Blackjack is a card game played between a player and the dealer. To win the player must beat the dealer with a hand total closer to 21 than their own, but without exceeding 21. Players compete only against the dealer, not other players at the table.
To play blackjack, the dealer deals two cards to each player. The face up card is worth one point, while the face down card is worth nothing. The value of the other cards, including the aces and picture cards (Jacks, Queens and Kings), is equal to their numerical values. The combination of the first two cards is called a player’s “blackjack,” and it beats any dealer total except for a blackjack, which pays the player 3 to 2.
There are some other side bets available in some games of blackjack, such as insurance, which players may place when the dealer has an ace showing. Players should be aware that this side bet is a money maker for casinos, and they should avoid making it unless they are certain their dealer has a weak hand.
Doubling down is a betting option that is available only to players holding a two-card hand before another card is drawn. The player doubles their bet, and they receive one additional card. When the dealer has a high-value card, such as an aces or picture cards, it is often a good idea to double down.
When the dealer has a weak hand, such as a five, it is a good idea to stay and hope for an improvement in your own card. If you are uncertain of your own strength, however, you can always hit. It is also possible to split cards, which increases your chances of improving a weak hand.
A dealer’s tells are a part of any blackjack game, and the best dealers have been trained to give their players the information they need. They look at their hole card at a specific angle, and a smart tell player will be able to guess the value of the card. Observing this behavior is a valuable way to increase your edge over the house.
The dealer must check the hole card (using a special viewing window in the table) before paying out any insurance wagers. If the dealer has a ten underneath, they get a blackjack, and all players lose their bets. If they do not have a blackjack, then the players push and their original bets are returned.
Many high schools offer a course of study that prepares students to become blackjack dealers. These courses usually last eight to 12 weeks and teach students how to perform mental math, follow a list of procedures, and communicate effectively with their guests. They also learn about the rules of the game and how to handle cards correctly. The casino industry is looking for people with these skills, so consider training as a blackjack dealer in your area. You can also seek an apprenticeship at a casino to gain hands-on experience.