Blackjack Etiquette: Minding Your Table Manners

It is of course good conduct to observe the proper etiquette when in front of the table. This is true not just of the dinner table, but the blackjack table as well.

The first thing to consider is really a simple matter of social etiquette and common sense: be polite. Remember, no one likes a party crasher. So when a game is in progress, ask politely if you can join in. But make sure that you are actually familiar with the rules of blackjack; otherwise, you'll just hold up the game. It is all right to be an observer as long as you are not distracting the players. If you wish to learn the game firsthand, find a table with no other players so you can learn by yourself.

When placing a bet, lay your chips in a neat, orderly stack (highest valued chip at the bottom) inside the betting circle. Once you have seen your cards, do not touch your chips lest the other players suspect you of cheating.

Do not touch your cards during the face-up game. You can touch your cards with only one hand during the face-down game, but you must not bend them and the cards should always be within the dealer's sight. The cards must always remain on the table.

In blackjack, you can only commune with the dealer through hand signals (especially since this is the easiest way you can communicate inside a noisy casino). So make sure that your signals are clear and concise. In a face-up game, pointing at your cards signals Hitting, waving your hand over your cards is a sign for Standing, and when Doubling or Splitting, place the 2nd bet next to (not on top of) your first bet. In a face-down game, lightly scraping the table with your hand means a Hit, putting your card beneath your bet is a Stand, and turning your cards face-up and placing a 2nd bet next to your first means Doubling or Splitting.

It's not compulsory, but it's always good blackjack etiquette as well as a classy gesture to tip the dealer. You can place a bet on the edge of the betting circle to the dealer's direction. The dealer keeps his share of the chips should you win.

How you play the game is just as important as winning it. As with any social activity there are certain mores that should be followed in playing blackjack. Exercising good manners and the right playing conduct makes the game much easier and enjoyable. So no matter who wins, with the proper blackjack etiquette, you won't walk away from the table a loser.

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