LadyLucks’ complete guide to blackjack part 3: Choosing the best blackjack table!

BlackJack playing cards

So, now you know how to play blackjack, and which hands to play, but do you know how to choose a blackjack table effectively? If not, we’ll take you through everything that you need to know – so don’t panic!

1. Check the game rules before sitting down

Before digging deep into a game of blackjack you need to make sure the table rules are as beneficial to you as possible.

Here’s a few things that you’re looking for:

  • Where the dealer has to stand on a soft 17
  • As few decks as possible, with single deck games being the best
  • 6/5 or even worse, evens payout for blackjack should be avoided like the plague. Always opt for 3/2.
  • Some tables restrict you from doubling down on anything less than 10. Avoid these tables.

Ultimately, pick a table where you understand the rules completely. If you’re unsure, either head on to a quiet table and learn as you go, or research before you play. There’s nothing worse than a slow player on a busy table.

2. Consider the table rules

While the rules of blackjack are pretty much the same throughout, casinos have the right to impose their own table rules. These range from maximum and minimum betting limits, to how you initially join the table.

If, for example, you normally play with £15 a hand, it might be best to play on a table with a minimum stake of £5, which means you can bet less when things aren’t going your way. Alternatively, if you play with a doubling up strategy, finding a table with reasonable leeway between stakes is beneficial. For example, a table with a minimum of £50 and a maximum stake of £5000 allows you to double up multiple times.

If you are easily distracted by comers and goers, or hit and run players, then finding a table where players must be seated at all times generally stops this. Also, limiting players to playing with chips as opposed to cash does the job as well.

3. How are the cards dealt?

The dealer is the gateway between you and the game, and if the entrance looks somewhat creepy, you shouldn’t enter.

Basically, are all the cards dealt face up, or are they dealt for the player to flip? Is the dealer maintaining a steady pace, or are they unable to keep up with the table? What about the novices? Does the dealer support them, or are they left to their own devices? Are players rushed to make their mind up? Make sure the answer to all these questions makes you feel comfortable.

Ultimately, make sure the table you decide to play on works for you, otherwise just get up and leave.

4. Take other players into consideration

Again, if you’re easily distracted, you might want to check out who’s on the table before going ahead. Is it full of drunks? If so, it’s bound to get rowdy and should be avoided at all costs. Does it look like a beginners table? Sure, everybody has to start somewhere, but play will be slower so it’s worth keeping this in mind.

Furthermore, if the players seem to have a heavy chips pile, while the dealer looks dismayed, then it’s a good sign of a weak dealer. Make sure to have a quick scan of the occupants before sitting down.

5. It’s all about the timing

Joining a table mid-way through a deck is a bad idea, as you don’t know what’s been dealt before. This puts you on the back-foot straight away. Generally, it’s best to join a table once the cards have been shuffled, especially if you’re attempting to card count, as you’ll know when the deck is favourable. Otherwise, sit back and wait for the shuffle.

So, there you have it, five things you need to remember before choosing where to play blackjack. Remember, it’s not just about where you play, but who you play with. Good luck!