Blackjack is a game of cards that pits the dealer and player against each other. The objective is to build a hand of cards that totals closer to 21 than the dealer’s. The cards have different values: numbers 2 through 10 are worth their face value, jacks, queens, and kings are worth 10, and aces can count as either 1 or 11. Players can choose to hit, stand, or double down based on the situation at the table.
The game is played on a semi-circular table that can seat up to 7 players (or “spots”). Players place their bets with chips in the betting spots around the table. The dealer stands behind the table and chip rack and deals two cards to each player and one card to himself. Players then decide whether to hit, stand, surrender, or double down. The dealer acts last and must hit on 16 or less and stand on 17 through 21.
Once the players have acted, the dealer checks her hole card with a special viewing window in the table. If she has a ten underneath, she has a blackjack and wins the round. The original bets of the players who bought insurance are paid off at a rate of 2 to 1. The dealer then collects all of the cards, shuffles them, and starts a new round.
Depending on the table and casino, there are many variations of the game of blackjack. Some allow players to split their cards, while others do not. Some also have side bets that pay out if the dealer has certain cards. Typically, players make a bet on each spot where they wish to play a hand of blackjack.
Most casinos do not accept cash as a form of bet. Instead, players must use casino chips to place their bets. To get chips, you can approach any blackjack dealer at the table and ask to be converted. The dealer will then stack your chips in front of you in the betting spots that you have chosen to play on.
After the players have played their hands, the dealer compares her hand to the player’s. If the dealer has a blackjack, all of the players lose their bets except for those who have a blackjack themselves. If the dealer and player have identical hands, the bets are a push, and the players keep their original bets.
The game of blackjack involves a lot of strategy and planning. A player must learn how to read the dealers tells and be able to predict when it is a good time to hit or stand. This is a skill that takes practice, and not all dealers are proficient at concealing their tells. However, some dealers are more adept at hiding their tells than others, so it is important to find a table with a dealer that you can trust. Look for tells such as how long the dealer looks at her hole card and how much she bends it when she is reading it.