How to Win at Blackjack

Blackjack is a card game played between two or more players and a dealer. The object of the game is to have a higher hand total than the dealer without going over 21. The game is usually played on a semicircular table that can accommodate varying numbers of players. It uses one to eight standard 52-card decks. All face cards (Jack, Queen and King) are worth 10 points; number cards 2-10 count their printed values; and aces can count as either 1 or 11. Players who bust lose their bet. Unless the dealer also has a bust, a player with a total of 21 wins and receives an amount equal to their original bet.

Unlike other casino games, where a player can only win by having certain favorable cards showing at a particular moment, predicting probabilities in blackjack involves counting all the cards that have been played and those still to be dealt. This requires a great deal of ability and prior training on the part of the player.

A player must determine when to hit, stand, split or double down. A good rule of thumb is to hit when your hand value is between 12 and 16 and the dealer’s face-up card is 7 or lower. When the dealer’s face-up card is 9 or lower, a player should always stand. In addition, splitting aces and eights is a good strategy.

Many casinos offer side bets in addition to the main blackjack wager. These can include betting on whether the dealer will have a blackjack, or a poker-like hand that includes an ace, a ten and a face card. Generally, these side bets pay out a much lower return than the 3-2 normally paid on blackjack.

Another way to increase your chances of winning is by learning to read dealer tells. These are subtle clues that can reveal what the dealer has in his or her pocket. These tells include how long a dealer looks at a hidden card and the angle at which the dealer bends it to look at it.

The best strategy is to learn how to play blackjack at a high level. Experts understand how the game works and can handle situations that are rare or unique. Novices can be confused on how to handle these situations and will lose more often than they should.

A career as a blackjack dealer can be challenging and rewarding. The job can be physically demanding because dealers stand for extended periods of time, use their arms and hands to touch and feel the cards, and are exposed to second hand smoke and fumes. Moreover, the working hours can be long and irregular. The responsibilities of this position can also be stressful because of the high pressure that is placed on dealers to perform well. However, a person with a strong work ethic and a desire to earn money can succeed as a blackjack dealer.