Dealing and Dealing Blackjack

Blackjack is a casino game in which players try to make a hand with cards that total closer to 21 than the dealer’s. It is a game of chance, in which the house has a built-in advantage that will play itself out in the long run. However, the player’s knowledge of basic strategy and the rules of the game can mitigate this edge. In addition to learning the basic game, it’s important to understand some of the more advanced strategies in blackjack.

When dealing blackjack, a dealer must be able to deal cards quickly and accurately. This requires a high level of manual dexterity, along with the ability to follow a list of steps and communicate effectively with customers. Some casinos also require dealers to be able to shuffle and cut the deck correctly. They must also know the game’s rules and enforce them consistently.

A dealer’s ability to calculate the earnings of winning customers is important in blackjack. This can be done with basic math, but it’s also often necessary to perform mental math during the course of a hand. Counting the value of each card is also useful for blackjack dealers, as it can help them determine when to split, double down or take another action. Some casino employees are even capable of counting higher than one deck, a skill known as card counting.

Many casino games offer side wagers, but blackjack is one of the few where a player’s main wager must be equal to or exceed the amount placed on any side bet. Some side bets are based on the number of decks being used, while others are specific to the dealer’s up card. Insurance is the only blackjack side bet that is universally offered, but some casinos have added hundreds of other kinds of side bets.

Side bets can change the odds of a hand for the player, so it’s important to learn about them before playing. Some side bets allow the player to double their bet after splitting, while others don’t. Doubling after splitting aces is common in some casinos, while it’s not permitted at others. Some side bets are based solely on the dealer’s up card, while others are based on the player’s own cards or on whether or not the player beats the dealer.

Blackjack dealers frequently work shifts that last up to 8 hours and often have to stand for extended periods of time, using their hands to handle cards and chips and communicate with guests. They are also exposed to second hand smoke and fumes, as well as moderate noise levels. In addition, they must be able to perform basic math and understand the rules of blackjack. Dealers who are not proficient at these skills may find it difficult to work in the industry.