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The Blackjack Table

A standard blackjack table is a semi-circle with the dealer standing on the straight side with room for up to 7 patrons facing the dealer on the other side. The seat to the far left of the dealer is referred to as third base and the seat to the far right is known as first base. In some games there are advantages and disadvantages to where you sit as a player (see Strategies). Groups of blackjack tables are known as a “pit” and the supervisors of the pit are known as “pit bosses”. In front of the dealer lies the rack of chips.

Blackjack table

The rules of any blackjack table are posted on the table’s surface such as what the house pays for a natural 21 (i.e. 3 to 2). or what the house pays for insurance. A tables minimum and maximum bets are usually posted at the table and can be changed at any time. In multi deck games a small box containing a number of decks of cards sits to the side of the dealer and referred to as a “shoe”. The dealer slides one card at a time from the shoe as needed. Shoes are not used in single deck games as they were developed because it was difficult for the dealer to hold and deal 6 decks at one time. They also helped to thwart card counters.

In front of each player at the blackjack table is a small area marked with a rectangle where the player places his or her bet and receives their cards.

Table Etiquette

Aside from the rules of blackjack, there are a number of guidelines to follow at the blackjack table to help make your game more enjoyable and profitable.

After you have placed your bet you should not touch it. The dealer may suspect you of trying to add to your bet because of a good hand.

When doubling down, place your chips beside your original bet, not on top. If the bets are mixed the dealer may suspect you of trying to add more than double to your original bet.

In a game where your cards are dealt to you face up, you cannot touch the cards. This prevents players from marking the cards in some way.

When you cards are dealt face down, touch them with only one hand and always keep the cards above the table. Do not touch the cards more then necessary.

Because casinos are noisy, a number of hand gestures tell the dealer what you would like to do:

If you would like another card and your cards are face up, make a brushing motion behind your cards. If your cards are in your hand make a subtle brushing motion with them on the table.

If you would like to stand, make a simple “no thanks” waving motion above your cards.

Always pay attention at the table. Winnings left on the table from a previous hand may inadvertently become the bet for the next hand if you are not careful.

It’s customary to tip the dealer. The usual practice is the place the tip chips on the edge of the betting area. If you win the dealer gets twice the chips, if you lose the dealer gets nothing.

Exchange your cash for chips at the casino cage. Although, you can usually buy chips at the blackjack table and some casinos may even let you bet with cash, your winnings will be given in chips.


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