Blackjack is a game that requires mental math and the ability to follow a procedure. It’s also a game that can change dramatically with the flip of a card. It is often regarded as a casino’s most popular table game. Many people think of it as a game of chance, but in reality, it is a game that can be beaten with skill and patience.

The objective of blackjack is to beat the dealer’s hand by having a higher, unbusted score. If the player exceeds 21 or busts, they lose to the dealer. A player can hit (ask for another card), stand, or double (the bet is increased and only one additional card is drawn).

Before the dealer begins official play, players may choose to buy insurance or surrender their hand. Insurance is equal to the player’s initial bet and is given back if the dealer has a blackjack. This bet has a negative expected value for the player, so it is not recommended to take it. A player may also choose to surrender their hand if they are certain that they will lose.

Once the players have made their decisions, the dealer will reveal her face up card. She will then check for a blackjack using a special viewing window in the table. If she has a ten underneath, the dealer gets the blackjack and pays the players’ original bets. If the dealer doesn’t have a blackjack, she will collect the insurance bets and continue the game as normal.

Professional blackjack dealers have a deep understanding of mathematical principles that empower them to calculate the winnings of customers accurately. This ability to apply mathematics is a key part of the job because it allows them to communicate with customers in a timely manner and maintain the flow of the game. This level of competence is especially important during fast-paced games where a single mistake can cost the players a lot of money.

In addition to mastering the game’s rules, a blackjack dealer must be well-versed in casino operations and procedures. This includes knowing how to count cards quickly and how to deal them efficiently. They must be able to communicate with customers effectively and stay calm under pressure. They must also be able to withstand long shifts that can be up to eight hours. These shifts are frequently held at night and on weekends, and dealers must be prepared for exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke and other toxins in the work environment.

If you are interested in becoming a blackjack dealer, there are many schools that offer courses and training. Some of these programs can be completed in as little as eight weeks. Some schools offer externships with local casinos so you can learn the ropes before you start your career. These externships are a great way to get your foot in the door and see what it’s like to be a blackjack dealer. This type of experience will help you decide if this is the right career for you.