Blackjack is a game that has been around for centuries and is enjoyed by people all over the world. There are many different variations of the game, but the basic premise is always the same – to get as close to 21 as possible without going over.
The dealer plays a key role in blackjack, and it is important for players to understand the rules and protocols that he or she must follow. Most people focus on the blackjack rules for players. But in this article, we will take a look at the basics of dealer blackjack gameplay.
This guide will benefit you if:
- You are planning to host your own blackjack game, and want a specific set of blackjack rules at home for you or your chosen dealer to follow.
- You’re a new player, and want to check that the blackjack rules in a casino are being followed correctly.
- Or, you want to check that an online blackjack game is playing fair.
- You’re interested in becoming a professional dealer yourself and need to know what rules to follow.
What are the Rules for Blackjack Dealers?
In blackjack, the dealer must follow certain pre-determined rules in order to ensure that the game is fair and runs smoothly. These rules are designed to give the house an advantage while also providing players with a chance to win.
While players can decide on their actions during the game, a blackjack dealer must always follow the same rules. There is no decision-making involved in being a dealer – they just need to make sure they understand the table rules and procedures, and follow them correctly.
The first thing a blackjack dealer must do is change money into chips. If you are playing online, you will already have deposited money via the cashier section of the casino website or blackjack app. But in a physical casino, the players will exchange their cash for chips at the table.
The dealer will then need to count out the chips and place them in front of the player, making sure that they are clearly visible.
The dealer will start by shuffling the deck of cards thoroughly. In a real casino or at a live dealer table online, this is done by machine (the Shufflemaster is a popular one) whereas in an online digital game the cards are determined by a random number generator algorithm, so actual shuffling is not required.
Once the cards are shuffled, the dealer will ask a player to cut the deck. The player takes a red plastic insert (the cut card) and slides it somewhere in the mixed deck of cards. When the deck is used up to this point, it gets shuffled again.
The dealer will then place the cards into the shoe.
Dealing with Bets
Before any cards are dealt, the dealer must check that all players have placed their bets. If they haven’t, most dealers will offer a friendly reminder to check that the players want to participate in the hand.
If any player has placed a bet that is not within the table limits, the dealer will ask them to remove it or place a bet that is within the limits.
Dealing the Cards
Once bets have been placed, the dealer must start to deal the cards out clockwise around the table, starting with the player to their left.
It is the dealer’s job to ensure that all player cards are visible to all players, so they must not be placed directly on top of each other.
Players are not allowed to touch the cards. They won’t always remember this, so the dealer must remind them politely but firmly if any player reaches toward his or her cards.
The dealing process will continue until each player has two cards – one face up, and one face down. The dealer will also receive two cards, but their face-down card (known as the hole card) will not be revealed until the end of the hand.
Once all players have their cards, the player to the left of the dealer will start the play.
Interacting with Players
A blackjack dealer must always be polite and professional when interacting with players. Jokes and chat are fine, but dealers must offer no personal opinions on the game or any of the players.
If a player has a question about the rules, the dealer should be able to answer it clearly and concisely. If they are unsure about something, they should ask a supervisor or manager for help.
Dealers generally like to appear to be on the player’s side. They wish the players luck and congratulate them when they win.
If the dealer’s face-up card is an Ace, they will ask the players if they want to place a side bet known as insurance. This is optional, and only available if the player has placed a bet on their hand.
Insurance is a way for players to protect their hands in case the dealer has blackjack. It pays out at 2-to-1 odds.
If the dealer does not have blackjack, any player who took the side bet will lose this part of their stake.
Managing the Play
The blackjack dealer is responsible for managing the play of the hand. This means ensuring that players take their turns in the correct order, and that they make their moves within the time limit (usually 30 seconds).
In a game of online blackjack, the player gets as long as they want to make a decision, as there is nobody else waiting on them.
Otherwise, if a player is taking too long to make a decision, the dealer may prompt them by asking if they want to hit or stand. If the player still doesn’t respond, the dealer will make the decision for them (usually hitting on 16 or less and standing on 17 or more).
If a player accidentally makes an incorrect move, the dealer should politely remind them of the correct rule and then ask them to amend their move if possible. If the player can’t amend their move (for example, if they have already hit and gone over 21), then the dealer will just carry on with the hand.
The dealer must also keep track of all the bets made by the players and pay out any winnings at the end of the hand.
Playing the Dealer’s Hand and Paying Out
Once all players have had their turn, the dealer will reveal their face-down card (the hole card). If they have blackjack (21), then they will immediately collect all losing player bets and pay out any winning bets at 3 to 2 odds.
If the dealer does not have blackjack, then they will check for an ace and a ten-value card in their hand (known as a natural). If they do have a natural, they will collect all losing player bets and pay out any winning bets.
If the dealer does not have blackjack or a natural, then they will play out their hand according to the table rules.
- If the dealer’s score is 16 or less they must take another card until they either have 17 or more, or have gone bust.
- If the dealer has a Soft 17 (for example, A6 or A42) they are normally required to stand. On certain tables, the dealer must hit soft 17. When this is the case, it gives the house a small advantage, and this rule must be stated clearly on the table so that the players are aware.
Once the dealer has finished playing their hand, they will collect all losing bets and pay out any winning bets.
This is done from left to right (from the perspective of the dealer) in the same order in which the cards were dealt.
In the case of a Push (dealer and player have the same score), the cards are collected but the stake chips are left in the betting circle. The player may choose to leave them where they are, or remove them before the next hand is dealt.
Signaling the End of the Hand
After the dealer has paid out all winning bets and collected all losing bets, they will sweep the table clean and prepare for the next hand.
How Blackjack Dealers Handle Mistakes or Disputes
If a blackjack dealer makes a mistake, they should immediately admit it and correct the error. For example, if they accidentally give a player an extra card, they should take the card back and give the player their correct hand.
If a player disputes a decision that the dealer has made, the dealer should listen to the player’s concerns and then ask a supervisor or manager to come over and help resolve the issue.
Blackjack dealers must follow a strict set of rules and protocols when dealing with the game. They must be polite and professional when interacting with players, and they must manage the play of the hand in an orderly fashion.
Last Updated on September 12, 2022
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