Blackjack is a card game in which the player tries to build a hand valued at 21 or higher. The game is played on a semicircular table that can accommodate up to seven players. Each player starts the game with two cards. The dealer also receives two cards but is not required to keep them. Each player can choose to stand (stop taking more cards), hit (request more cards), or split a pair. The game is usually dealt by a live dealer.

Blackjack dealers must be able to provide customers with excellent customer service. In addition to explaining their wagers, they also need to listen to customers and understand what is being said. They often use nonverbal cues such as nodding and paraphrasing to communicate that they are giving their full attention. They may also explain the rules of the game and answer any questions.

A good blackjack dealer should be able to work well in fast-paced environments. The casino business is a highly competitive one, and dealers must be able to meet the demands of a busy shift.

The first thing to remember when playing blackjack is that there are no two games alike. The game can be very different based on the rules that are used, the number of decks used, and the way that the dealer deals the cards. This makes it difficult to compare the results of one game to another.

Typically, blackjack is played with one to eight 52-card decks of cards. The cards have values of one to 11 points, with face cards rated at ten and aces rated at either one or eleven points depending on the type of card. The game has a number of rules that must be followed by both the dealer and the player.

Once a player has his or her two initial cards, he or she must decide whether to stand (take no more cards) or draw (request additional cards). To indicate the latter, a player extends his or her palm toward the original cards and lightly waved them from side-to-side, as if scratching an itch. A dealer will then deal a single additional card from the shoe and place it next to the original cards.

If the player has a pair of cards that are the same value, he or she can “split” them by moving a second bet equal to the original into the betting box. The dealer will then create two separate hands, and the player plays each hand separately. A player can also “surrender” his or her hand by forfeiting half the initial wager and not playing it out.

Some casinos also offer “insurance.” This is a side bet of up to half the player’s original bet that pays 2 to 1 if the dealer has blackjack. While this is not a sure fire way to win, it can help reduce the house edge slightly. Nevertheless, it is important for players to remember that this bet does not compensate for a bad hand-total against the dealer.

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