The Basics of Blackjack


Blackjack is a card game that involves trying to get a total of 21 or more points. Players sit around a semicircular table that can seat five to seven people, or “spots,” in a row. The dealer stands behind the table and chip rack. A player starts by selecting a spot, usually the closest to the dealer. He then puts down a bet in the betting box. If the table has a No-Midshoe Entry policy, the player must wait for the dealer to shuffle before joining the game.

Once all the players have placed their bets, the dealer deals two cards to each player and to himself. If a player has an Ace and a picture card or 10 in his hand, he has a blackjack. The player wins one and a half times his bet if he has a blackjack and the dealer does not.

If a player’s hand is 16 or lower, he should “stand” (stop drawing cards) or “hit” (request more cards). If he hits, he must keep hitting until he gets at least 17 points or higher. A player may also split a pair of cards that have the same value, moving a second bet equal to his original bet into the betting box next to the first. Some casinos pay out a 3 to 2 payout for blackjacks, but not all of them do so.

Unlike poker, which is often considered a cerebral game, blackjack is based on simple math and strategy. It is a favorite of intellectuals, mathematicians and those who like a chance at beating the house.

In addition to knowing how much to bet, a good blackjack player should memorize basic strategy charts that show which plays are most advantageous. The charts indicate what the player should do based on the value of his hand and the card that the dealer is showing. Although these charts are not 100% accurate, they will help the player maximize his chances of winning.

A blackjack dealer is a skilled professional who uses her knowledge of mathematics to ensure that the game progresses smoothly. During the hand-off of cards to customers, she has to be able to count and assess the value of the cards quickly and accurately. In addition, she must understand how to communicate the status of the game to her guests.

To become a blackjack dealer, a person should be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or equivalent. She should then take a course at a casino dealer training school, which lasts for eight to 12 weeks and prepares the student for employment opportunities in a casino. A good candidate will have strong math skills and excellent hand-eye coordination. She will also need to have patience and be able to follow written instructions. Taking a foreign language class will also be beneficial. In addition to these qualifications, it is important that a blackjack dealer can demonstrate active listening skills.