Blackjack is a game of strategy and skill that can be played by two or more players against the dealer. The objective is to have a hand value closer to 21 than the dealer’s without going over. Other players’ hands are not important; you compete only with the dealer’s hand. The game is a casino card game and uses a standard 52-card deck, which should be shuffled before dealing. There are a number of different strategies and rules that can be used to maximize your chances of winning.
Unlike poker, where the rules of play vary widely among casinos and even from one table to another, blackjack is governed by a set of rules that must be followed by all dealers. A dealer must always deal two cards to the player and two to himself (one face up, the other face down). The players can then decide whether to hit, stand, surrender, double down or split their hand. The dealer must hit on 16 or less and stand on 17 through 21. The dealer must also pay out winning bets and collect losing ones.
To become a blackjack dealer, you must be at least 18 years old and have an appropriate high school education. Most casinos will require that you pass a background check before you can work as a blackjack dealer. Once you have passed the background check and any other requirements of your employer, you must attend a dealer training program to learn how to play the game and how to handle various situations that may arise while you are dealing.
A blackjack dealer must be able to count cards, and understand the mathematical odds of each possible hand. He must also be able to recognize which cards are likely to make the best poker hands, and be able to tell when a player has a good hand by how they look. In addition, a dealer must be able to handle the pressure of standing at his station for long periods of time and accept insults from players when they lose and praise from them when they win.
In addition to the basic rules of blackjack, some tables offer side bets. These bets can be profitable for players who know what they are doing, but many are misunderstood. For example, many players believe that insurance is a bad bet because it gives the house an advantage, but for players who can correctly evaluate when the remaining deck is rich in ten-valued cards, insurance can actually be a profitable bet.
When playing blackjack, you should never bet more than half of your original bet. In addition, you should only double when the dealer’s up card is a 7 or higher, and not when it is a 4 or below. You should also not split a pair of fives or a pair of two-tens, since splitting these hands makes them much weaker than they are in their single-card form.