The Basics of Blackjack


Blackjack is a game of chance that requires players to make decisions quickly and accurately. It is played on a table with a dealer and up to seven players (or “spots”). The cards are dealt face up. Cards numbered 2-10 are worth their printed value, and the ace is worth either 1 or 11. When a player’s total goes over 21, they win the hand. When a player busts, they lose all their chips.

Players can take one of three actions on their cards: hit, split, or stand. Hitting means that the player wants another card. To do this, they extend their palm, and gently touch the table in front of them, as if they were scratching an itch. The dealer will then deal them a single card from the shoe and place it next to their original two cards. Players may hit as many times as they want, until they reach a total of 21 or they bust.

If the player has a pair of matching cards, they can split them. This increases their hand size and they play them independently of each other. Splitting is only allowed on certain cards, such as two aces or two tens. Players can also double down, which means increasing their bet amount to twice the initial bet. This is done when the player believes they have a strong hand and an additional card will increase their odds of winning.

A player can choose to buy insurance, which is a side bet that pays out if the dealer has an ace. This bet is typically equal to half the player’s initial bet, and if the dealer has blackjack, the player will win the hand. Alternatively, the player can surrender, which is when they give up their hand and their bets are returned without adjustment.

Blackjack dealers must have excellent math skills to ensure that they are distributing the correct number of cards to each guest, as well as for calculating the earnings of winning customers. They must also be able to count the cards fast to maintain the pace of play. They must also be able to communicate with guests clearly so that they understand the game’s rules and the status of their wagers. This is often achieved through the use of non-verbal cues, such as nodding, to show that they are listening and comprehending the customer’s thoughts. Additionally, blackjack dealers must be able to communicate the results of the hands to customers immediately. This can be difficult when the dealer has multiple tables and must distribute cards rapidly. This skill is known as active listening and is an important part of a casino dealer’s job description.