Blackjack is a card game in which players try to form a hand that totals as close to 21 as possible. The game is played using one or more 52-card decks. Each card has a value, either the number on it (for numbers cards) or face cards or tens for face cards, or an ace that can be counted as either 1 or 11. The dealer deals each player two cards and then takes cards himself according to specific predefined rules. Players can hit, take another card, or stand depending on what their cards add up to. Those who have a higher total than the dealer win.
A casino dealer must be able to communicate effectively. This is especially important when a customer has a question about the game. Often, casino employees will use active listening techniques to ensure that they are giving their customers the full attention they deserve. This can include delivering nonverbal cues such as nodding and paraphrasing what was said to show that they are listening.
Besides communicating well, casino dealers must also be able to work under pressure and remain calm. This is particularly true when dealing with high-stakes bets, such as those placed on blackjack. These types of bets can increase the stress level of both the dealer and other employees at the table.
When dealing with high-stakes bets, casino employees must be able to read the situation and make informed decisions. One of the most important decisions is whether to buy insurance, which is a side bet that pays out 2:1 if the dealer has a blackjack. This bet is a big money maker for casinos, but it can be a bad bet for the player. It is a good idea to only buy insurance when the dealer has an ace or face card up, and to never purchase it if the dealer has a ten up.
Knowing when to double down is also important. A dealer should always double down when the player has a two-card hand that totals 10, 11, or 12. However, doubling down does not guarantee that the player will win. It is important to know when it is appropriate to split a pair.
Some pairs are not suitable for splitting, such as a five and a four. Rather, it is more advantageous to split hands such as two eights or a pair of threes.
Having a solid understanding of basic strategy can help the dealer improve his or her performance at blackjack. This is because basic strategy provides the optimal play for every hand, based on millions of blackjack simulations. It can also be used to help a dealer make wiser choices on the fly, during live games. Taking advantage of this knowledge can make the dealer’s job easier, as well as his or her patrons’ enjoyment of the game. Casinos can benefit from this approach, too, because a knowledgeable dealer can reduce the number of hands that are dealt to players who make poor choices.