Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games. It’s a simple game to learn and can be very lucrative, but like all casino games it comes with a house edge that will eventually reduce your profits over the long term. However, if you follow the rules of basic strategy, you should lose less than 1% of your bets over time, making it one of the best casino table games to play.
Typically played at a circular table, blackjack tables usually accommodate between 5 and 7 players (or “spots”). When you’re ready to try your luck, look for a table with a minimum and maximum bet placard. If the table is already occupied, wait for the current hand to end and approach the dealer with your request to join.
Each player is dealt two cards and the dealer is given one card face down and one up. Players may then choose to hit (ask for an additional card) until they either have a total greater than 21 or decide to stand. Face cards (Jack, Queen and King) score 10 points and Ace can be counted as either 1 or 11.
Once each player has acted, the dealer will reveal his or her cards. The player can then decide to stand or ask for more cards (“hit”). If the dealer has a total higher than 21, all players who did not bust win their stakes back.
A player may also split pairs of cards, if allowed by the game rules. Generally, it’s better to keep cards with the same value than to break them. However, splitting a pair of aces is usually a bad idea as it gives the dealer a good chance to beat your hand with a blackjack.
The dealer will then compare his or her hand to each player’s. If the player’s hand has a higher value than the dealer’s, the player wins. If the dealer has a blackjack, the player wins 1.5 times his or her bet.
In some casinos, the dealer will allow players to place insurance bets, which are placed on the “insurance bar” above the player’s cards. This bet pays 2 to 1. The dealer will then check his or her hole card (using a special viewing window in the table) and pay off or take any insurance wagers made.
A blackjack dealer works in a high-paced, loud and physically demanding environment. They must be able to stand for hours at a time, use their hands to handle chips and other objects, and talk frequently with players. They are exposed to second-hand tobacco smoke and other fumes while working. They also work in a high-stress environment with a variety of shifts, including evenings and weekends. As a result, they are often tired and stressed.