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Blackjack Tables - What to Expect

Understanding the Game of Blackjack

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Blackjack Tables - What to Expect

Standard Blackjack Table

Photo courtesy of (Angel Fire Press)

Blackjack is played on a half-circle shaped table. The players sit along the rounded edge and the dealer stands on the straight side with a tray of chips in front of them. You can purchase chips from the dealer with cash, or bring chips from other tables. Some clubs allow you to play cash.

Your bet for the upcoming hand goes inside the betting circle located in front of your chair. Your extra chips go right in front of you, next to the padded rail that goes around the table.

Table Limits

Each table has a minimum and a maximum limit for each bet. The limit sign is usually on the far left as you face the table. A limit of $5-$250 means you can bet any amount from $5 to $250 on each hand. Place your buy-in between the betting circles so it is not mistaken for a bet.

Consider sitting at a table where the other players are playing close to what you want to play. You may be uncomfortable playing $5 per hand when the other players are betting $100, and they may feel the same about having you at "their" table.

Game Conditions

Blackjack can be played with a single deck of 52-cards or multiple decks may be used. If four, six, or eight decks are used, once they are shuffled, the cards will be housed in a plastic "shoe" that allows one card at a time to come out. At some casinos, the cards are placed in a continuous shuffler where the dealer takes out one card at a time.

Once you place your bet in your own circle, the dealer will start the hand. If the game is played with your cards exposed, you do not touch your cards. If your cards are dealt face down, you pick them up with one hand. The dealer will expose just one of their cards, but will check to see if they have a blackjack.

Blackjack

If the dealer has a two-card 21, they win instantly, unless you also have a blackjack. If you both have a natural, or blackjack, then you tie, and no chips change hands. If you have blackjack and the dealer does not, expose you cards and you will be paid 3 chips for every 2 you bet. A $5 blackjack pays $7.50

There are some games where a blackjack pays just 6 to 5, so check the limit sign to see what you will get on a blackjack. On this game, a $5 bet wins only $6 and this rule makes the game very tough on the players' bankrolls.

Insurance

Insurance is a side-bet that the dealer has a blackjack. This will be offered when the dealer shows an ace-up. Insurance is rarely a good bet, skip it and you will do fine.

A winning insurance bet pays 2-1. If your original bet is $10 and you take insurance for $5, you get paid $10. If the dealer does not have a blackjack you lose your $5 insurance wager.

If you also have a blackjack, you and the dealer will tie, called a "push." If you have a blackjack and want to take insurance, you can say "even money," which works out the same as far as your payoff goes.

Hitting and Standing

After the dealer checks for blackjack, the player to the dealer's left acts first. If the cards are in their hand, they sweep them towards themselves to signify they want a card. This scratching motion lets everybody know, from the eye-in-sky to the pit boss to the dealer, that the player wants another card - a hit.

If your first two cards are dealt face-up, use your hand in a sweeping motion towards yourself to indicate a hit.

When you want no more cards, or to "stand," tuck your cards under your bet. If the cards were dealt face-up, then make a sideways motion with your hand to indicate "no-more," and your play is finished.

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