Blackjack is a game where players compete with the dealer to collect a card value close to 21 without going over. Those who beat the dealer win the bet. Players may also place side bets on the outcome of the hand. Side bets are usually smaller than the original bet and pay out at 1:1, rather than 3:2.
A player’s goal is to get a total of 21 in two cards (an ace and a picture card or 10), which is called a “blackjack” or “natural.” If a player has blackjack and the dealer does not, it’s considered a tie, which results in neither party winning or losing.
The house edge in blackjack is a small fraction of 1%, which can be reduced to nearly zero by following a sound strategy. Many novices believe that following a blackjack strategy is difficult, but this is not true. It requires learning a few simple rules, which will significantly increase your chances of winning and reduce the house edge to as low as 4-5% for a good player.
Using basic strategy is the best way to play blackjack. It is the mathematically optimal way to play each hand, based on millions of blackjack hands played. It is easy to learn and takes the guesswork out of every decision.
One of the most important skills a casino blackjack dealer needs to have is active listening, which involves attentiveness and comprehension. They use it to communicate with customers and answer their questions. They also practice nonverbal cues, such as nodding, to convey that they are listening and understanding.
In addition to their communication skills, blackjack dealers need to be able to keep calm in stressful situations. This is because the game can become heated, particularly when a player is angry at a loss. They must be able to regain their composure and remain professional to resolve the issue quickly and efficiently.
Another crucial aspect of a blackjack dealer’s job is to provide excellent customer service. They often interact with guests who are having problems at the table. They are also responsible for delivering payouts, and they must be able to count the cards quickly and accurately.
Blackjack dealers also need to be able to identify potential cheating by players and reprimand them accordingly. This is especially important when they are dealing with a high-stakes game, such as a high limit table.
When playing a blackjack hand, it is important to hit when the dealer has a weak upcard and stand when they have a strong hand. Taking risks on weak hands will result in more losses, while hitting on strong hands will improve your odds of winning. In addition, it is important to double down when the dealer shows a strong upcard and split aces when possible. This will avoid you getting a miserable soft total of 12 against a dealer’s 10. It will also allow you to draw more cards against a weak dealer’s face or ace, which increases your chances of beating them.