The Basics of Blackjack

Blackjack is a card game where players compete against the dealer. They aim to build a hand with cards totaling 21 or as close to it as possible without going over (busting). Cards with the numbers 2 through 10 are valued at their face value; Jacks, Queens and Kings count as 10. Aces can be worth either 1 or 11 depending on what the player wants. The game is played with one or more standard 52-card decks.

Before the dealer deals, each player puts in a bet in the betting box. The dealer then gives each player two cards. If the player’s first two cards make a pair, he wins a fixed amount of money – usually one and a half times his bet. This is called a “blackjack.”

After the player’s turn, the dealer will draw two more cards to his hand. Then he will make his decision. The dealer must stand if his hand is 17 or higher, and he must hit if it is 16 or lower. The dealer must also split aces and eights, but he must never double his hand after splitting it.

In some casinos, dealers are permitted to take a tip from players, which is a great incentive for them to give the best service. The dealer should always be polite and courteous. In addition, a dealer should be familiar with the rules of blackjack and how to handle each situation that might arise during the course of a game.

Expert players understand the game inside and out because they spend a lot of time studying it. Novices, however, don’t put in the effort and as a result, they miss some important aspects of the game. For instance, novices will play their hands too conservatively and fail to double down or split pairs when the opportunity arises. They will hesitate to hit a 16 against a dealer’s 7, and they’ll also be reluctant to split a pair of 2s against a dealer’s 4. In other words, novices are not as aggressive as they should be, which is why they lose more often than experts do.

Some casinos have changed the rules of blackjack in order to increase the house edge. For example, some casinos have reduced the 3 to 2 payout on blackjacks to 6 to 5. This change significantly increases the house edge and takes more money from the players.

Whether you want to play blackjack or just enjoy watching other people do so, you’ll find that casino work is a fun and exciting career choice. The hours are flexible and you’ll be working with a fun crowd. In addition, the pay is competitive.

To become a casino dealer, you don’t need a formal degree. In fact, a high school diploma will get you started. You’ll start out dealing tables in small local establishments and, eventually, move up to larger casinos. There, you’ll work in shifts and may even be able to travel on the cruise ships that are available for passengers to visit.