Although blackjack is a form of casino gambling, it is also a social game that involves significant interaction among the players and with the dealer. To prevent cheating, avoid misunderstandings and promote enjoyable play, a set of appropriate behaviors has evolved, and every player is expected to know the basics of blackjack etiquette before sitting down at the table. Following are some important cautions to keep in mind that can help guard against unpleasant incidents and ensure a fair game.
Don’t Sit Right Down – Although a seat may look empty, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s available. Sometimes players leave the game temporarily to use the restroom. Quite often, the player next to an empty seat will use the vacate spot to play a second hand. Be courteous and ask if the seat is taken before sitting down.
Don’t Interrupt the Game – Some blackjack tables do not allow players to enter a game mid-deck. It is necessary to wait until the shuffle to buy in by exchanging cash for chips with the dealer. When that time comes, place currency on the table in plain sight. Don’t thrust it toward the dealer. Stacks of chips will be counted out and pushed back across the table. It is the player’s responsibility to confirm that the amount of chips received is correct.
Don’t Misplace Chips – The blackjack table has clearly marked betting areas on its surface. If a chip touches any of these areas, it will be treated as wagered, so make sure any unwagered chips are neatly stacked, not scattered, near the table rail out of play.
Don’t Misbet – The table limits will be clearly posted. Don’t bet below the minimum or above the maximum. For chips that are bet, the lowest denomination chips are stacked on top and the highest go on the bottom, entirely inside the betting area. Once the dealing has begun, wagered chips cannot be touched again until after all bets have been settled. When doubling, splitting or taking insurance, don’t stack more chips on top of the original bet. Push the chips toward the dealer to count and arrange in the betting circle.
Don’t Touch the Cards – In blackjack games where all of the players’ cards are dealt face up, only the dealer is allowed to touch the cards. Don’t attempt to rearrange them, split them or move them to the side when you double down. That’s the dealer’s job.
Don’t Mishandle the Cards – In blackjack games where the cards are dealt face-down, the player is allowed to use one hand only to handle the cards. Take care not to bend or crease them. Also, the cards must be held above the table surface at all times. They may not be removed from the playing area.
Don’t Blow the Cut – After each shuffle, the dealer will ask one player to cut the cards using an unmarked plastic card. It must be inserted mid-way into the deck, at least a full deck from either end when multiple decks are used. Don’t cut to shallow and don’t “double clutch”—cutting the deck the pulling the card out to cut somewhere else.
Don’t Say It, Show It – Every action at the table is monitored by surveillance cameras. This protects both players and the casino from cheating. For any action taken, such as drawing a card or increasing a wager, verbal commands cannot be picked up by the cameras. Therefore, every action—hit, stand, split, double down, etc.—must be accompanied by an appropriate and unambiguous gesture or hand signal.
Don’t Neglect Winnings – Only after the hand has been completed should winnings be retrieved. Some exceptions exist, such as claiming 3-2 odds for a natural blackjack or a side bet on Perfect Pairs. Be sure to rake in all winnings. Should any chips remain in the betting area at the start of the next hand, they will be treated as a new wager. Even players who want to “let it ride” following a win or a push should remove the chips, count them out again, and then replace them in the betting area.
Don’t Forget to Tip – Tipping is always appreciated by casino personnel. To do so, push a chip toward the center of the table while pointing to the dealer, and saying, “For the dealer.” Remember the surveillance camera must see what is happening, so don’t try to hand the tip to the dealer. Keep it on the table surface.