Blackjack is a card game where players compete to beat the dealer by accumulating cards that total as close to 21 as possible. It is played on a semicircular table that can accommodate varying numbers of players, from five to seven. A dealer is present at all times, and each player places his or her bet in a box at the center of the table. Blackjack is a fast-paced game, and players should make decisions quickly based on the rules of the game.
To play blackjack, a player must first select a seat at the table. Most casinos allow up to seven players per blackjack table, and a seat is usually open if it has not been claimed by chips or a coat (or if the player is playing two hands). The dealer then deals each player two cards face down, and each player may choose to buy insurance or surrender. The player must also decide whether to split his or her hand, and if so, how many cards to divide it into.
A player who receives a pair of matching cards is said to have a blackjack, which wins the round immediately. A player can also win the game by obtaining an ace and a ten-valued card as his or her first two cards, but this is not considered a blackjack. When a player and dealer have the same value on their first two cards, the hand is called a tie or a push, and bets are returned without adjustment.
In addition to the main game, blackjack tables offer a number of side bets. Some of these are insurance, which pays if the dealer has an ace as his or her up card; betting on the dealer having a particular rank or suit; and various other bets on the number of cards the player will receive in the first two rounds. Side bets can increase the fun factor of a blackjack game and make it more profitable for skilled players.
One of the most important skills to have as a blackjack dealer is mental math. This is essential for keeping track of hand scores and counting cards, as well as making fast and accurate decisions on the fly. It is also useful for determining which hands to double down on and when.
A high school diploma is sufficient to qualify for dealer training courses, and a dealer’s career can begin at 18 or 19. While the hours are long, they are flexible and there is an opportunity to travel. There are even cruise ship opportunities for blackjack dealers, which can be ideal for those who would like to see the world while earning money. Dealerships are also available at many land-based casinos. The job is highly rewarding for those with the right attitude and personality. An unfriendly or inattentive dealer can ruin the game for everyone. Fortunately, there are plenty of good dealer schools to choose from, so finding the right place to learn can be an easy process.