How to Behave at the Blackjack Tables
Behaving correctly at the Blackjack tables is a win-win situation for you, the dealer and the other players. When everyone is tuned in to what is happening and is behaving with respect and courtesy, the game runs smoothly and is a lot more fun for all concerned. Whether you are winning or not in this particular session, your overall enjoyment is often determined by the other players in your game.
This guide will show new players the basics of Blackjack etiquette from a number of different perspectives. First of all you will find information about how to prepare before you take your seat. Next, clear signaling plus money and chip handling are covered. After this the etiquette of tipping is discussed. Finally, interactions with other players, and in particular the ‘blaming’ of the last position player is covered.
Blackjack Etiquette before You Sit Down
Joining a table without understanding the rules of the game or how to play will not be appreciated by the dealer or the other players. There are certain tricky situations where you may be unsure of the correct play. A little hesitation here is understandable. When you are asking questions on the real nuts and bolts (for example whether you can double) this is just bad etiquette. It is very easy to learn the basics of how to play Blackjack before you sit down. There is no need to become a mathematical master of the strategy before you start – though learning the basic game-play is very much appreciated by the other players.
There are differences in Blackjack game rules. These range from details like when you can split or payouts for Blackjack, through to major variants of the core game. It is good practice as well as good etiquette to familiarize yourself with these rules before you start to play. Nobody appreciates someone arguing with the dealer – or bringing in the floor – when a simple upfront check would have made things clear.
You should also become familiar with the hand signals which go with the main decisions before you start to play. You should tap the table when you want to hit, and you can demonstrate a ‘stand’ with a simple sideways movement of your hand. These show the dealer your intentions, keep the game flowing fast and can be seen on video replays in the case of a dispute.
Handling Money, Cards and Chips at the Blackjack Tables
There are guidelines for handling money at the tables which you need to keep in mind when you sit down. The dealers are not allowed to take any money or chips directly from your hands. They will simply ask you to place this on the table. This is for security purposes, so that all transactions are clearly visible to the security cameras. Chips will be counted in such a way as to be visible on to the cameras too. It is good form to wait until a hand is finished before asking for change or to have your chips ‘colored up’ too.
Once your chips are out for a hand you should not touch them. Again this is for security purposes. Adding a chip or removing one from a bad hand has been a favorite of cheats for many years. The same goes for your cards, there is no need to touch your cards in this game at all, and removing them from the table is considered a security breach as well as a serious etiquette breech.
Blackjack Etiquette – Tipping
Dealers generally get paid a very low hourly rate and make up for this in tips. With many incremental small wins, there are less obvious tipping opportunities in Blackjack than in many other games. This means you should keep in mind to give the dealer a chip now and again when you have won a few hands. You can simply slide a chip towards them at the end of the hand, they will knock this on the table and place it in a special slot. You should be tipping a minimum of $5 to $10 per hour (assuming a $5 table).
Waiting staff should also be tipped, each time they bring you a drink you should give them a minimum of $1, this can be in chip or cash form.
Blackjack Etiquette – General Behavior
Blackjack attracts people from all walks of life, and many will not appreciate drunken players being loud or obnoxious at the tables. The main thing is to be in tune with your table. Some can develop in to a fun crowd, though others have players who might prefer you did not comment on their play.
The worst behavior of all in Blackjack is to become angry with the player in last position after they ‘took’ a card which would make the dealer bust. Since the cards are unknown this is a ridiculous criticism, and can turn a fun table quickly into one with a bad atmosphere.