Blackjack Table Layout
Blackjack is played at a table like the one shown below. You should
always note the important rule information printed on the table
cover and on the card next to the dealer. Some casinos offer single
deck games where the dealer actually holds the deck and distributes
the cards, but most casinos run multiple deck games. Two or eight
decks are stored in a box called a shoe. The dealer pulls the cards
from a slot at the front of the shoe.
The players’ cards are usually dealt face down in a single
deck game. Multiple deck games can be either face up or face down.
Your chances of winning are the same either way, although playing
face up gives you more information about other cards that are in
play and are therefore unavailable.
Most blackjack tables, either at online casinos or land based casinos,
have anywhere from 5 to 7 betting spots or seats around the table.
The game begins when you sit down. Any seat is fine. You have an
equal chance of winning at all of them. The seat to the dealers
far left is commonly called first base. The seat at the other end
of the table, the dealer's far right, is known as third base. The
terminology is of no consequence in the game, but it may help you
in a conversation with an experienced blackjack player.
The cards will be shuffled and you or another player will be allowed
to cut the deck(s). In a single-deck game, this is simply lifting
a top portion of the deck and laying it next to the bottom portion.
In multiple deck games you will use a plastic card-sized stop. Put
it somewhere near the middle. The dealer completes the cut, and
burns the new top card by discarding it in a tray or putting it
face up towards the end of the deck. At this point it's time to
bet. Put your wager in the circle in front of you and don't touch
the chips again. You'll either lose them at the end of the hand
or be given more chips by the dealer.
Starting on his or her left the dealer gives one card to each player
and then one card face up to herself. A second is card dealt to
each player and the dealer receives another card called a hold card.
This time it's face down.
You can see only one of the dealer's cards. Let's say it's a ten.
Does the dealer have blackjack? Does the dealer have nineteen? Does
the dealer have thirteen? If you have twenty-one or twenty it doesn't
matter; you'll stand and probably win or tie. But what if you have
thirteen? Should you hit? What's the dealers other card?
How to Play Blackjack Section 1