Some of you play your blackjack online and never intend to take your skills to a casino, but I recommend that everyone, at least once in your life, visit a casino and play the game there. No matter how great the online casino is, no website can recreate the experience of playing blackjack inside a brick and mortar casino. If you do visit a land-based casino, though, there are some things you need to know. One of the most important things that is present in brick and mortar casinos but not online is the use of hand signals.
When playing blackjack in casinos, hand signals are required to protect the integrity of the game. The “eye in the sky” (those cameras above the casino floor that watch everything) capture your every move on the floor, including at the blackjack table.
By observing hand signals, security can tell every decision that you made when playing blackjack. This is important for several reasons. First of all, a dispute may arise between you and the dealer about whether you said to hit or stand. If there were no hand signals, in theory a player could ask to hit, bust, and then complain that he told the dealer to stand. Without video evidence of the hand signal, it’s the player’s word against the dealer. The hand signal protects against a dishonest or mistaken player as well as a dishonest or mistaken dealer. If you give the hand signal to stand and the dealer mistakenly gives you a card, causing you to bust, you can appeal and the eye in the sky can save you. In addition, the eye in the sky can also be used to catch card counters and players and dealers engaging in collusion.
Here are the hand signals you need to know when playing blackjack in a casino:
If you want to hit, there are two possible hand signals. If you are holding your cards, you scrape the cards against the table. If the cards are sitting face-up on the table, you should either touch a finger to the table or wave your hand toward yourself.
To stand, slide the cards under your bet if you are holding the cards. If the cards are sitting face-up on the table, indicate that you want to stand by waving your hand horizontally.
If you want to double down on your bet, place additional chips (equal to your original bet) next to your original bet but still within the betting box. Do not put the chips on top of the original bet.
If you want to split a pair, place additional chips next to the original bet but outside the betting box.
There is no signal for a surrender, so if the casino allows surrender and you want to do it, simply verbalize it. Likewise there is no signal for accepting insurance. These are the only decisions you can make that do not have an accompanied hand signal.