Blackjack is one of the few games in which players can reduce the house edge to a negligible number (0.5%) through following proper basic strategy, and that makes the game rather appealing. Though the game seems to be simple – get a higher number than the dealer without going over 21 – most people realize that there is strategy involved. Most people realize that following blackjack basic strategy is wise and it is a good idea to learn that strategy before playing. But what else should you know before joining a blackjack table?
Probably the most important thing you need to know is the betting limit. It would be embarrassing to sit down at a high-roller table, where the minimum bet is $5000, when you only brought $2000 to gamble with for the entire trip. Even if the limit isn’t that high, it may be higher than you are comfortable playing. Since you can often find blackjack tables with limits as low as $1, finding the table with the right limit is a good idea. Not only is there a lower limit, though, but there is often an upper limit. This is to combat the Martingale betting system, among other things. If the betting limits aren’t listed anywhere on the table, ask the dealer before sitting.
Another thing you want to know before sitting down is what the table plays for a blackjack. The traditional payout is 3:2, which means you would win $3 for every $2 you bet. However, some tables have worse payouts for a blackjack, including 6:5, 7:5 and even payouts. Most tables will have the payout written on it, but if not you should ask the dealer before playing.
Being able to surrender, while it may seem counter-intuitive to gambling, is sometimes a good idea and is incorporated into blackjack basic strategy. However, not all casinos allow you to surrender and those that do don’t offer it at every table. You should check to find out if you can surrender and if so, whether a late surrender is allowed or only an early surrender.
You should also be aware of how many decks are in play at the table. If there is only one deck, a 6:5 game isn’t all that bad, but you should always avoid a multiple-deck game that pays 6:5 for a blackjack. If you count cards, knowing how many decks are being used is imperative.
There are some other rule variations that you want to look out for. Some tables will allow you to resplit any cards, while some will allow you to resplit anything but aces. Some allow unlimited resplitting while others have a limit. Some tables have a rule that if you split aces you can only receive one extra card for each ace. Sometimes you can double after splitting, while other times you can’t.
It sounds like a lot to know ahead of time, but knowing the rules of the individual table before you start playing can make things a lot easier and less stressful for you. It will also help you find the best table to suit you.