Blackjack is an exciting gambling game, and the excitement is further heightened when you play it at a land-based casino. The game is fun even if you play it at home with friends or on your computer or mobile device. However, the atmosphere at a land-based casino is something else: the lights, the noise, the smartly-turned out dealers, and the crowd – the general ambience is something else completely; may be even intimidating. On this page we outline how the game works at a land-based casino.
The layout of a land-based casino is streamlined to ensure players are able to find their respective games easily. There are different sections for the different kinds of games, so the first thing to do is identify the area where blackjack is played. This is usually the area housing the table games – blackjack, craps, roulette, and more.
Once you are at the table games section check out the blackjack tables there. The tables list out the important information related to the game on placards:
- The minimum and maximum betting limits
- Basic rules of the game at the table
Find a table that has a game running with betting limits that map to the amount you are willing to spend playing blackjack. Each table usually has a maximum of 7 seats. If you are a high roller look around for tables that fit your profile.
- Remember to ask if you can join a game.
- If you are buying your chips from the dealer wait till the end of an on-going game; the dealer will have a lot on his plate already and it is not nice to mess things up further for him.
- Stack up your chips neatly when you are seated at a table. For those using different denominations of chips for their wagers the protocol is to place the heaviest chips at the bottom and the lightest at the top. Ensure you do not touch the chips you have wagered once the deal is over.
- Learn the hand signals associated with blackjack; you are expected to use them when you play at a land-based casino.
- Think about tipping the dealer at the game, regardless of whether you win or lose.
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The game is played using between one and eight decks. The number of decks used directly impacts the house edge. The more the number of decks the higher the house advantage. The basic objective of blackjack is the same regardless of where you play it, and this applies to the game at land-based casinos as well: you need to beat the dealer by:
- Getting a hand with a value of 21
- Getting a hand with a value that is close to 21 and also higher than the dealer’s hand
The card values are also the same:
- Cards from 2 to 9 are valued at face value.
- The cards 10 to King have a value of 10 points.
- The Ace is valued at 1 and also 11 points: you choose the value depending on your hand.
Once the bets are placed and the dealer deals the cards, the game is on and you make your move. The basic options you have are:
- Double down
The dealer may hit or stand on 17. This depends on whether he has a soft or hard 17.
You can also ‘surrender’ your hand and get half your wager back at some casinos. Here are a few other options you get, depending on the casino you play at:
- Insurance bet
- Hitting or re-splitting a split Ace
- Doubling down after splitting
- The push option for tied games; very rarely, a tied game may go in favor of the dealer
When playing at a land-based casino it makes good sense to remember or at least have access to the strategy charts for a game. Strategy plays a critical role in blackjack and there are different playing strategies floating around. They do not necessarily work, but it is good to know them for at least the awareness of what they can do.
There are quite a few advantages to playing blackjack at a land-based casino.
- The overall ambience of fun, laughter, noise, and general excitement
- Welcome drinks, freebies, and other perks for choosing to play at the casino
- Warm treatment by the casino staff; it gets even better if you are recognized as a high roller
- The opportunity to increase your social circle
There are a few demerits as well, though some of them become demerits only in comparison to playing at an online or mobile casino.
- The need to travel and get out of your house
- Ability to play only a single game at a time
- Perks and freebies look limited compared to what you get at online or mobile casinos
- The thought about fair play lingering at the back of the mind