Blackjack is a card game that pits a player against the dealer. The objective is to get a total card value of 21 or closer to it without going over. A hand with an ace and one or more cards of 10 or higher is called a “blackjack” and wins automatically against any other player’s hands that don’t have a blackjack. Blackjack players use mathematics to help them make better decisions on whether to hit, stand, or split. They also use math to determine how much to bet, how many cards to receive, and what the probability is of winning a hand.
The game is played using one or more 52-card decks. Each player is dealt two cards. A player may choose to take more cards from the dealer, if they wish. In most varieties of blackjack, face cards count as 10, numbered cards as their printed values, and aces as either 1 or 11, depending on the situation. Suits are irrelevant.
Some casinos have a rule that reduces the payout on blackjack to 6:5 rather than 3:2. This greatly increases the house edge and makes it more difficult to beat the dealer. This practice is a good reason to always read the rules on the felt before playing.
A blackjack dealer must have excellent memory skills to keep track of all the cards that have been played, discarded, and won. In addition, they must remember the amount of money they have earned from each win. This information is critical for the dealer to communicate with guests and ensure that they are receiving accurate payouts.
Another important blackjack skill is active listening. When customers have questions, the dealer must listen to their thoughts and provide clear answers in a timely manner. This is a vital part of customer service and helps ensure that the customer feels valued and heard. Blackjack dealers often use nonverbal cues to communicate with their customers, such as nodding or paraphrasing what has been said.
Blackjack dealers should be able to recognize when their customers’ hands are a winner or a loser, and they should be able to explain this to them. The dealer must be able to explain the rules of the game and offer support for any players who have questions or concerns.
Before the game starts, a player should select a seat at the blackjack table. Typically, the seats will be open unless there is a coat or chips on the seat holding the spot for someone else or the table has a No-Midshoe Entry policy. Then the player will have to wait for a new set of cards and a fresh shuffle before they can play again. Blackjack tables are usually limited to five to seven players. However, it’s okay to join a game in progress as long as there is an empty seat and the casino doesn’t have a No-Midshoe Rule.