Blackjack Table Etiquette Complete Guide | LeoVegas

Blackjack Table Etiquette Guide

We get it. Taking a seat at a brick & mortar blackjack table can be daunting, especially if it’s your first time.

Without the benefits of online anonymity and prompts to act, you’re left with your own intuition and knowledge. So let’s start there - knowledge.

If you’re new to blackjack in general, bookmark our handy LeoVegas Blackjack Basic Strategy Guide.

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But, if it’s live blackjack you’re new to, we can help with blackjack etiquette tips that will have you rolling into a live blackjack table like a seasoned champ.

Basic Dos and Don'ts in Land Based Blackjack

  1. Come Prepared. Come with basic strategy and knowledge of the game. As we’ll get into, asking for help or advice is welcomed, but to a degree! Take your own knowledge, skills and bankroll into consideration before choosing a live blackjack table and make sure it’s a good match.

  2. Wait for a break before joining a table. An open seat with an open betting zone in front of it should be yours for the taking. But always check in with a quick nod, or make eye contact with the dealer to ensure that’s the case. Wait for a break in the game so that there’s minimal play interruption for your fellow players, preferably at the end of a betting round or even better, when the shoe is complete and a natural, shuffling break occurs. That’s your queue to sit down, get comfortable, and place your chips or cash on the table felt ready to play.

  3. There’s no physical contact. The casino doesn’t want to see any cash or chip physical transactions at their casino tables. If you’ve brought chips to the table, simply put them in front you. If you’ve got cash, the dealer will swap your cash for a denomination of chips that work well with the buy-in of your table. At no time do you need to physically hand transfer anything to the dealer. In fact, your hands are there for stacking your chips and signaling your desired action with a hand gesture (we’ll get to those later).

  4. Stay focused. Keep your phone tucked away so that your fellow players can enjoy an entertaining pace of play and the game can continue without unnecessary interruptions. Trust us, no one wants to hear your grocery list while playing blackjack.

  5. Don’t touch your cards. As the dealing begins, your cards will be dealt face up in front of you. There’s really no need to touch them at all. That’s the dealer’s job. Keep them employed and keep your hands to yourself or learn some amazing chip stacking fiddling tricks to keep them busy.

  6. Know the blackjack hand signals. Even though you say it, live casinos want more. Dealers and security cameras will want to see a hand signal as a back up in the case of a disagreement.

  7. It’s OK to ask the dealer. New to the game or new to live table play, it’s OK to ask the dealer for help and advice. At many live tables of all levels, you can often hear a player ask ‘what would you do?’ or ‘what’s the right move here?’. And that’s OK. Remember, you’re not playing the dealer, you’re playing the house. The dealer is there to facilitate the game and help when needed.

  8. Respect the dealer. On a bad run of luck? It’s not the dealer’s fault. Remember, the dealer merely facilitates the game - they’re impartial to you winning or losing. The only reason they’re rooting for you, is it's obviously more fun to see someone win rather than lose. And if you do find yourself on a good run, be sure to throw a tip the dealer’s way - at the end of a good hand, a profitable session, whatever feels karmically good! You can always ‘make them work for it’ by placing a tip as a bet in front of your bet on the blackjack table. That way, the dealer has a stake in the game and if you win, so do they!

  9. Read the room. Get the vibe of the table. While some table crowds may be boisterous and chatty, others may be filled with players deeply concentrating on their game. Get a read on that before being overly celebratory about wins and while we’re on the subject, keep your emotions for losses in check too.

  10. Don’t Give Unsolicited Advice. Mind your own game. As you play more live blackjack games, you’re likely to come across a player who doesn’t agree with a decision you made. Or worse, blame their losses on your moves. Don’t be this person. Unsolicited advice or poor sportsmanship at the table isn’t appreciated and is truly a buzzkill for those there for an entertaining, good time**.**

How to Join a Blackjack Table?

For starters, when joining a blackjack table, always check the min and max buy-in details, as well as any progressive jackpots or side bet action before jumping in. Make sure you’re joining a table that’s both bankroll and level of play compatible. If you’re got time, simply observe a few rounds before jumping in to get a read of the vibe, how luck is running, and the pace of play.

Ready to join? Now it’s time to find an open table. In a crowded casino, this can often be the trickiest part. You want to look for an open seat but also one that’s within your range. When you’re in your buy-in area, look for that open betting zone and hopefully there’s an empty seat in front of it. Or, you may come across a situation when there’s a seat, but no free betting zone. In this case, the dealer may ask the player who’s covering two bet zones to downsize play to one, and allow you to join.

Approach the table and at an appropriate break in play, take a seat. In order to cause minimal disruption to gameplay, note when you’re attempting to join. Look for natural breaks like the end of a betting round or preferably, the end of a shoe when shuffling occurs. In any case, once you’ve taken your seat, wait patiently for the next betting round to begin.

How to Buy Blackjack Chips in Land Based Casino

Chips are your currency of play, under blackjack rules so you’re going to need them playing any live blackjack game! You can take one of two routes here. Visit the Cashier in the casino and trade in your cash for chips, or simply take an open seat and wait for the dealer to make an exchange.

If you’re taking the latter route and skipping a Cashier visit, no worries. Once you’ve taken your seat at a live blackjack table, simply put your cash down on the table felt in front of you. When an appropriate pause in play occurs, the dealer will assist you with this transaction.

Remember, there’s no need to pick up your cash and hand it to the dealer, simply push it towards them or tell them you’re buying in. They’ll make the appropriate cash for chip swap in denominations that work best for the buy-in at the table you’ve selected. Once those chips are pushed towards you, stack what you’re not betting and bet what you wish in the bet zone in front of you.

How to Place Bets at a Blackjack Table

In front of your chair, there will be a betting zone - likely a circle or box. That’s where you’ll need to place your wager in order to participate in the blackjack round.

Stack your chips neatly. This may be our OCD talking, but we admire a nicely stacked set of chips and it helps the dealer out with counting. Sidenote, if you’re got different denominations of chips within your betting stack, try to stack them highest to lowest, with the smallest amount on top.

Once those chips are in the betting zone, leave them alone. In fact, hands off chips and cards! Let the game play out, use your hand gestures for action, and let the dealer work their magic. The only time you’ll need to touch those chips is if you win and you’re scooping and sliding an even bigger stack back towards you!

And if you’re unsure, ask for help. That’s the beauty of having a live dealer at the table.

How to Handle Cards at Blackjack Table

Well now, this is a trick question. There’s really no need to touch your cards at a live blackjack table. In fact, doing so may cause a security issue or at the very least a disruption in dealing and gameplay. Keep your cards on the table and use your hand gestures to make decisions.

How to Signal Action at Blackjack Table

No one is asking you to be mute at a blackjack table. Quite the opposite as you can always find a cheery, social live blackjack table. But, as casinos can be loud places, merely saying your desired action is not enough. Live casinos and dealers appreciate and in many cases, demand to see a hand gesture signalling your action as a security backup in case of a disagreement. Here are the key blackjack hand gestures you’ll need to know.

  • HIT with a tap on the table, usually with your index finger. Some players use the ‘come here’ gesture, swiping the table towards them, but dealers and security cameras much prefer the undisputable, simple tap motion.
  • STAND with a swoop of your hand; a wave motion that basically cuts the air overtop of your cards signaling that you’re not taking any additional cards.
  • SPLIT by placing an additional bet (that matches your initial one) beside your original wager. Use your forefinger and middle finger to split in a V shape.
  • DOUBLE DOWN if you like what you see versus a dealer’s weak hand. Match your wager with a chip stack of the same size, place it beside your original, and tap just as you would for a hit.

How to Cash out at Blackjack Table

Time it right. Even if you know a hand is dead, just stay til the end of the round as a courtesy to your fellow blackjack players here. Similar to when you first joined the live blackjack table, you’ll want to leave in the same polite fashion. Wait for the end of the hand to play out before getting up, thank the dealer, and go about your day.

Oh but your chips! If you’re left with not much, or dare we say nothing, you can obviously get up and walk away. But, if you’ve got chips you may want to consider ‘colouring up’. For players new to live action, ‘colouring up’ is the act of asking the dealer to trade in smaller denominations of chips for larger ones. Helpful, as you’ll have a smaller stack (yet same value) to carry around to the Cashier or to your next game.

If you’re headed to a new table game, you can take your chips with you around the casino. If you’re calling it a day and ending your casino time, simply head to the Cashier to trade in your chips for cash.

How to Interact with Casino Dealers

Dealers are your friends. They are there doing their job, which is to provide a professional experience for you at the blackjack table. Just as you’re there playing a game for entertainment. So, everyone wins if we’re all courteous to each other.

Dealers will help you learn the game, assist you with bets, and be helpful answering any questions that may pop up along the way. In return, we suggest you come equipped with the basics of blackjack or at the very least, watch and observe a few rounds prior to jumping into a new game.

When you leave a table, be sure to thank the dealer and if you feel necessary, tips are always welcome. In fact, you can give them a tip at any time of the game - after a good run, a win, a blackjack etc. Or, you can ‘make them work for it’ as they say at the tables and place a matching bet to yours, directly in front of yours just outside the betting zone. This initiates a bet for them. And if your hand wins, they win too!

Blackjack Etiquette FAQ

What is the etiquette for sitting at a blackjack table?

The most appropriate time to join a blackjack table in a live casino is when the shoe ends - the latter is already a time disruption for the game and a good time to slip in. However, it may be an eight deck show and you’re keen on joining in - no worries, simply wait til the betting round is over and take a seat so that play isn’t interrupted.

Make eye contact with the dealer and confirm the seat is indeed open and not reserved for players taking a cheeky break. If you’re coming to the table with chips ready to roll, place them on the betting table. If you need to switch cash for chips, place your cash on the table. Use the table as your mediator as there's no need to directly hand anything to the dealer.

Blackjack etiquette also calls on you to do your part. Always check to make sure you’re joining a table with min and max betting that sits within your means and level of skill. Know your basic strategy, stay focused and keep up with the flow of the game, and ask for help when you need it.

What are the unspoken rules of blackjack?

If you’re a novice player, take note of blackjack etiquette’s unspoken rules, which to be honest, often come down to common courtesy. Let’s start with the basics - seats are for players. If you’re using one of the betting circles on the blackjack table to make a wager, then by all means, get comfortable and take a seat. If you’re simply sweating a friend who’s playing, you may want to consider standing behind them. If crowds are slow, and you are able to take up two betting spots at the table, go for it; however it’s always pleasant to allow another player to join should demand pick up for that additional spot.

When taking a seat, get a read on how it’s going so far. Gamblers can be highly superstitious, so dropping in and disrupting ‘a good run’ may not start you off on a good vibe! As a common courtesy, we always suggest throwing out a good will, ‘may I join’ to the table.

Before taking a seat at an open table, double check the buy-in and consider how many hands your bankroll can play. If it feels like a good amount for you, join in but do so when a shoe breaks or most definitely at the end of a betting round so that play isn’t totally disrupted.

Keep it light hearted! Even if you’re on a bad run, enjoy the experience and don't blame losses on any other players or especially the dealer! And if you’re on a great run,keep your celebrations in check and be sure to thank the dealer by means of a tip!

Can you leave a blackjack table whenever you want?

Blackjack etiquette suggests that you remain seated at the live blackjack table until the betting round is complete. If you want to go that extra mile and your bankroll can sustain it, stay til the end of the shoe so that gameplay can continue with minimal disruption.

What should you not do at a blackjack table?

When seated at a live brick & mortar blackjack table, there are definitely a few blackjack etiquette tips on the ‘do not do’ list that will help you fit in with ease. First off, there’s no need to touch the cards at any point in the game - that’s the dealer’s job. Just as you would click for action playing blackjack online, use your hands to gesture your desired action. In fact, just keep your hands free in general and keep that phone tucked away.

Regarding chat, keep it friendly and fun! There’s no need to make derogatory comments about your tablemate’s moves, provide unsolicited advice, or take out your frustrations on the dealer. Everyone is there for a good time, maybe to make a little profit and the dealer? Well, they’re just doing their job!

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