How do blackjack tables work at casinos?
How do blackjack tables work at casinos?
If you're entering a casino for the first time, it can be daunting to walk up and down the rows of blackjack tables. How do you know if a space is available? How does the gameplay work with several other players at the table? Today we're going to cover basic blackjack table etiquette at the casino so you can step up to the tables acting like a pro.
When you arrive at the casino you should walk around to pick your lucky table of the day. You can learn our tips for scouting the best blackjack tables in our other videos, but for now we'll cover finding a free spot to play.
If you find a blackjack table you like, you need to see if there's an empty chair at the table before you can join.
Make sure there is no reserved marker on the table. They generally look like this.
[shows marker on screen]
You may also see a sign that says ‘no entry mid-shoe’. This means you have to wait for the shuffle to be over before you can join.
If you see a reserved marker you can ask the dealer how long the marker is there for. Some people get markers to reserve their seat when they want to take a dinner break and want to come back after.
You are still allowed to sit at this seat but when the person comes back you can expect a tap on your shoulder to change seats, or stand up if there are no empty seats at the table. Moving the marker or hiding it is not allowed. You will get a visit from the pit boss if you do that.
If a seat is available, you sit down, exchange you chips and the dealer will ask everyone sitting at the table to place their bets. The dealer will then say, 'No more bets,' and begin dealing the cards from their left, dealing a card for themselves last.
The play action starts with the player on the dealer's left, and ends with the player farthest on the dealer's right. The last position to act before the dealer is called the 'anchor' position and is the last player position to act freely before the dealer.
After everyone has made their decisions to hit, stand, double down, surrender, or split, it's now the dealer's turn to reveal their cards. In blackjack, there are basic rules the dealer must follow that determine whether they can hit or stand:
Generally, the dealer takes a card on any hand value under 17 and stands on anything between 17 to 21. The dealer busts on anything 22 and over, unless the casino's table rules say otherwise.
Keep in mind the soft 17 rule is explained in more detail in our table rules video. Depending on the casino, the dealer can either stay or hit when he has soft 17, which means 17 with an Ace.
These are the essential rules to remember when picking a seat at the blackjack tables. Obviously this isn't as much of an issue in online or live dealer blackjack, but you may find yourself waiting for virtual seats to open up during peak hours. This is just one of several differences between online blackjack and blackjack tables at casinos, which we cover in more detail in our next video.
What this lesson covers
- How to scout blackjack tables
- The dealer’s gameplay at the table
- What to do if tables are full
- When you can join a blackjack table
Meet Mr Blackjack
With a career spanning two decades, Mathieu Blake knows his way around a blackjack table. He's taught and entertained over 100,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel NeverSplit10's . In this series he'll take you through basic strategy, card counting, and bankroll management. Take a seat with Mr Blackjack and become a winning player.
Want to learn more about Blackjack?
- Where is the best place to sit at a blackjack table?
Many players say the anchor position (the last seat on the dealer’s right) is the best spot at the blackjack table. As the last to go, you can see what cards have come out for other players and make a better decision on your hand.
- Is it better to play blackjack at a full table?
This depends on the number of decks in play and your skill. In single-deck games, it’s better to play solo, as you have more chances of getting blackjack. Busy games can give intermediate players more time to think through basic blackjack strategy and card counting and consider what’s left in the shoe.
- Why do blackjack tables have different numbers of decks in play?
Casinos will sometimes add additional decks to blackjack games to deter card counters or keep their advantage in the game. Most casinos will use between 6-8 decks at their tables, but the same blackjack rules apply.
- How do you know if a blackjack table is having a hot streak?
Some players say you should target tables with loads of chips, as it means the shoe is running hot. However this only means it was running hot, or the players brought hefty bankrolls for their session. We recommend finding tables with rules that suit players, as discussed in our video Special Rules in Blackjack.
- How many people usually sit at a blackjack table?
Between 1-7 people can sit at a blackjack table for a game.
- Can I reserve my seat in live blackjack games?
Online casinos do not allow players to reserve their seats for live blackjack games. Casino sites offer numerous live dealer blackjack games. Even if you leave and return, you can find seats at other blackjack tables.
- Do I need to wait for seats in online blackjack games?
In real money blackjack games online, you don’t need to wait for a seat. These use random number generator (RNG) software and are based on single-player format. In live dealer blackjack, you may need to wait for a seat if a table is busy, as these games are run by real-life dealers and players around the world can join.