The Dealer's Duties
In blackjack, the dealer represents the house and its bankroll. The dealer is thus an agent of the casino, he or she is on the casino's side and not the player's, but because dealers accept tips, their loyalties may waver.
Changing Cash for Chips:
When a player comes to the table, he or she usually has cash in hand. Some players will be coming from other games or tables with casino chips, but most likely, with cash. The cash is put down on the table, not handed to the dealer, and it is placed so that it isn't in a player's box.
If you put it in the player's box, a dealer may think you're making a bet and deal you cards. A competent dealer should always ask a new player bringing cash to a table if they wantschips for the cash.
To avoid any misunderstanding, place the money away from the box, and say, "please give me change." Say it loud enough for others to hear, so that if the dealer missed your statement, and dealt you cards, you have witnesses. Its been known to happen that someone who came to the table, said these words, and placed down $1,000 in $100 bills, was dealt cards, which happened to be a blackjack. They had a no-lose situation. They collected $1,500 at 3-2. If they had a miserable hand, they would have protested that they wanted change. Don't take this chance. Say "change, please", loud and clear.
The dealer will take your cash and count it, turn it over to make sure it's real, and not a $20 on front and a $1 bill on the back (it happens). He or she will tell you the amount that has been counted, so you can verify it also, and then give you the equivalent in casino chips. The cash will then be placed on the slot to the dealer's left and dropped into the drop box.
The dealer, before giving you chips, may ask you what denomination you desire. For example, if you're at a $5 minimum game, and give the dealer $200, you might ask for nickels and quarters. This will show you're not a greenhorn. Nickel mean $5 chips and quarter $25 chips.
Running the Game:
Before a round of cards is dealt, the dealer will shuffle up the cards thoroughly and then present them to any of the players to be cut. Let us assume there are five players at the table. It is immaterial which one cuts the cards. Some players, through superstition, always refuse to cut the cards.
After the cards are cut by one of the players, the dealer restacks them, then before dealing, burns the top card. By "burn" we mean they take the top card and puts it out of play, either by placing it under the deck face up, or more usually, sliding it into the discard box to their right.
Burning a top card is customary, and prevents either the dealer or player from knowing its value, and acting upon it.
In multiple deck games, the cut is made by a player inserting a colored card (not one that can be played), into the decks at any point they desire. The dealer then squares the cards and inserts them into the shoe. When that colored shuffles card is reached, the dealer knows that the cards are to be reshuffled.
The dealer then makes sure that each of the players has made a bet in the box in front of him or her.