While anyone could learn the game of blackjack, it doesn’t mean that they’re good to go at the tables. The rules are easy enough to learn—add up your card total, hit to raise your total, stand to keep what you’ve been dealt. But there are some other aspects of blackjack that novice players—and even some who have been playing for years—need to be aware of and follow.
I’m talking about blackjack etiquette.
While these aren’t actual rules of the game, they are certain behaviors that are applied when sitting down at the blackjack table. Think of them as unofficial rules.
For starters, if you are playing in a face up game, meaning the cards are dealt face up on the table, do not touch them. A face up game generally happens for games with four or more decks. There are two reasons for this. First, the dealer can better manage the cards by calling out hand totals and moving the game along. The other reason is security. By not allowing players to touch the cards it prevents cards from being marked or tampered with, and from card switching.
On the other hand, if you’re playing blackjack at a table with only one or two decks players are allowed to touch the cards. But you may only touch them with one hand. Two hands aren’t allowed for the same reasons that players can’t touch their cards in a face up game—to prevent marking and switching.
To also go along with using only one hand to handle your cards in a face down game, always keep your cards on the table. Never remove them from the table or hold them in your lap. This is also to prevent cheating and for security—your cards must stay in view of the dealer and the security cameras.
Regardless of which type of blackjack game you’re playing you must always use hand signals to let the dealer know what play you want to make. In a face up game to hit you tap the table, and to stand you wave your hands over your cards in a ‘no, thank you’ gesture. In a face down game to hit you scrape your cards on the table towards yourself, and to stand you slide them face down under your chips. Do not say ‘hit’ or ‘stand.’ The security cameras can’t record what was said, so hand signals are a must in case there is a dispute.
Following blackjack etiquette will help to have a more enjoyable game. You won’t irritate the other players by not following etiquette. And you will not have to suffer through the dealer explaining how to play as if you were completely new to the game.