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Etiquette Rules for Casino Blackjack

Casino Blackjack Etiquette

Casino blackjack has everything you could want. It is easy to learn, has a low house edge, and you can use basic strategy to increase your chances of winning.

What’s not to love about all that?

Blackjack can be a tricky game to play compared to games like slots and video poker because of all the people involved. There’s you, the dealer, other players, cocktail waitresses, pit bosses, and more.

Unfortunately, whenever multiple people and money are involved, issues and altercations are sure to come up. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that you can avoid many of these issues if you follow some basic blackjack etiquette rules.

Some of the rules we’re going to show you might seem unnecessary or ridiculous. But they will help you avoid misunderstandings at the blackjack table – maybe even a fistfight.

Following these few rules of etiquette for playing casino blackjack will help ensure a pleasant experience for everyone involved.

Etiquette for Joining a Blackjack Table

Proaper casino blackjack etiquette starts before you play your first hand of 21.

It all begins with choosing a table and buying in.

Rules for Choosing a Blackjack Table

Blackjack tables can accommodate only 6-7 players. Oftentimes, the table you want to play at will be full. It is bad blackjack etiquette to edge your way into a game if there are not enough seats available.

You might encounter situations where there is an open seat but not an open betting position. That’s because some players like to play two hands simultaneously.

So, you want to check for empty chairs first and betting positions second.

Some tables also have rules stating that you can’t sit down if they’re in the middle of a shoe. If not, you’ll still want to wait until they’re done with the current hand to sit down and buy-in.

If you sit down before the hand is over, the dealer might greet you. But they won’t change out your cash for chip until they’re done with the hand.

Be patient, the dealer will get to you as fast as they can.

Buying Into a Blackjack Game

Blackjack etiquette for buying in

During the buy-in process, you cannot hand your cash to the dealer. You will need to place your cash on the table instead. Then they will change your cash into chips, and place your chips in front of you.

This might seem silly. There isn’t much difference between setting cash on the table and handing it to the dealer – is there?

There is. This piece of live blackjack etiquette is quite crucial for protecting the dealers. It’s to ensure that the eye-in-the-sky cameras see the transaction.

If you hand the dealer cash instead of placing it on the table, the cameras can’t see exactly what is happening. The dealer could slip some cash into their sleeve or give you more chips than you paid for.

These are some of the rules casino security teams have to make sure the dealers never cheat or steal.

This rule protects you, too. If another player accuses you of theft, the security team can go back through the transactions to see how much money you started with, how much you bet, and how much you won.

This piece of blackjack etiquette doesn’t seem so silly anymore, does it?

Etiquette for Betting Behind in Blackjack

Some casinos allow players to bet behind other players when the table is full. Live casino blackjack etiquette states that you should always ask a person if they are okay with you betting behind them.

If you do choose to bet behind another player, you should never pressure them or try to influence their decisions.

They are the person in charge of deciding when to hit or stand. It would be best if you went along with their decisions without complaining.

Chip and Card Handling at the Blackjack Table

Once you have bought in at a table, you need to be mindful of how and when you handle your chips and cards.

Here are a few situations to be mindful of.

When you place your bets, make sure that your chips are all where you want them. If your chips are on the line between the primary betting circle and a side bet circle, the dealer might misunderstand which bet you intended to make.

If you are betting multiple chips, make sure that the stack is reasonably neat. Remember, the eye-in-the-sky is watching to see how much you bet. They won’t be able to tell if your chips are all over the place.

When you place bets with multiple denominations, always place the higher denomination chips on the bottom.

Do not touch your chips after the dealer has started distributing cards. It is too late to change your bets once the cards are out.

In most games, you shouldn’t handle your cards either. You shouldn’t have to anyway, as your cards are almost always dealt facing up.

If you win, wait until the dealer has finished paying all the players before collecting your winnings. That way, you can’t accuse them of forgetting to pay you.

Always color up before you leave the table. If you have five chips that are $5 each, you can exchange them for a single $25 chip. Coloring up makes it easier for you to carry your chips through the casino, but it is also important to make sure the table has enough chips with small denominations. Leaving the table without coloring up messes up their whole system.

Once again, these etiquette rules for playing blackjack protect you. If you keep your chips out in the open, no one can accuse you of cheating. If you keep your chip stack neat, the casino can’t say that you made a bet you didn’t intend to make.

These rules don’t exist to make you miserable. It’s to prevent situations from happening that will dampen everyone’s experience at the blackjack table.

Etiquette for Handling Cards and Hand Signals

As we said, you should not touch your cards for any reason. This will apply to most blackjack games. The dealer will place the cards face up, so there is no reason to handle them.

But you will need to use hand signals to communicate to the dealer what you want to do with your hand. Here is the proper hand signaling etiquette for playing casino blackjack.

Etiquette for blackjack hands
  • You tap the felt if you want to hit your hand.
  • Wave your hand over the cards to stand.
  • To double, place an additional bet and point with one finger.
  • To split, place an additional bet and show two fingers.

Most times, the dealer will know what you want to do when you place an additional bet based on your hand. But using a hand signal makes your intent clear.

You can also tell the dealer what you want to do, but the hand signals are crucial for the security team. They can see your signals, but they can’t hear your words.

Suppose the dealer gives you another card and you bust. You might claim that the dealer made a mistake because they hit when you wanted to stand.

The security team will go back to the camera feed to see the hand signal you used. They will abide by whichever hand signal they saw on the camera. Maybe you did signal to stand. Maybe not.

Either way, the casino security team will know for sure so long as you follow this piece of blackjack etiquette.

Proper Etiquette for Handling Your Cards

There is one exception to the blackjack rule about not handling your cards.

There are some blackjack variants that require the cards get dealt face down.

You will need to handle your cards to see the hand you were dealt. There is etiquette when playing blackjack hands like these.

  • Always touch the cards with only one hand and keep both hands above the table.
  • You should never take the cards below the table where the dealer and security team can’t see them.

The hand signals will be slightly different, too, because you are the one handling the cards.

  • Slide the cards underneath your bet when you want to stand.
  • Gently scrape the cards on the felt if you want to hit.
  • Turn the cards face-up for a double down or split.

We know this is a lot to remember, but the majority of these chip and card etiquette rules for blackjack are there to protect both you and the dealer.

Plus, when the ceiling cameras can see what is happening, the security team can use videos as proof to settle disagreements. You will be grateful for these blackjack etiquette tips when those situations arise.

Blackjack Etiquette for Casino Employees and Other Players

One of the best parts of visiting a brick-and-mortar casino is that it is a social experience. You never know what kinds of characters you will run into at the casino.

Other people can make blackjack more exciting and fascinating, but they can also create unpleasant situations.

That is why blackjack etiquette is so vital – to prevent unpleasant situations from happening or to keep them from getting out of hand.

With that in mind, here are some etiquette tips to keep in mind when dealing with casino employees and other blackjack players.

How to Interact with Casino Employees

You go to the casino to have fun, but dealers go to the casino for work.

Think about your own job and how you want to be treated at work, and treat the casino employees accordingly.

You can also ask yourself some questions that might help you interact better and mind your manners with the dealers, cocktail servers, and other casino employees.

If you’re old enough to gamble at the casino, you shouldn’t need us to tell you how to treat other people. But if you do, these questions should guide you in the right direction.

Casino employee etiquette
  • Would you want to deal with a stranger hitting on you for hours while you are at work?
  • How would you feel if a portion of your wages depended on you being polite to someone who is being inappropriate with you?
  • Do you want your clients or customers blaming you for things that are out of your control?
  • When you are having a bad day, how do you want other people to treat you?

Engaging in Inappropriate Behavior

This is another form of casino etiquette that should be common sense. But for the sake of creating a thorough guide to casino etiquette for blackjack, we’re going to anyway.

When dealing with the opposite sex, keep the following in mind.

  • Do not hit on the dealers or cocktail waitresses. If they are flirty with you, it’s probably because they want a bigger tip, not because they are interested in dating you.
  • It’s also not okay to refer to dealers or cocktail waitresses by pet names, such as “sweetie,” “hon,” or “babe.”

Positive etiquette when playing blackjack starts with treating your dealers and other casino employees with respect and dignity.

They are there to do a job. Treat them the way you want to be treated.

Dealing with Other Blackjack Players

You should also keep proper blackjack etiquette in mind when dealing with other players.

For example, some players like to talk, and other players do not. You can offer a friendly greeting or ask a simple question to start a conversation.

If the other player doesn’t keep the conversation going, it is best to move on and focus on the game.

Superstitious Players

Blackjack players are not known for being superstitious. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few exceptions.

Many players get caught up in the luck of the moment. If everyone at the table is winning, some players believe the table is on a hot streak.

They might be offended if you leave the table at that moment because they will see it as you interfering with their luck. If you can stay for a few more hands, then do it. It might make the other players happy.

However, you are not obliged to keep playing just because another player wants you to. Don’t let their superstitions dictate your decisions.

“Stealing” Cards in Blackjack

Some players believe that you can “steal” their cards. For example, if you hit when they think that you should have decided to stand, they will say that you took the card that they needed.

If that player is to your left, your actions will affect the cards they receive. But it won’t impact their odds of winning or losing – not in the long run.

Make your decisions based on the cards in front of you and the blackjack strategy that you believe to be best.

If another player gets mad that you “stole” their card, so be it.

That being said, don’t be vindictive. It can be tempting to keep hitting just to mess with another player’s head, especially if they have made several comments about your cards.

The more they get upset about the cards, the more you will laugh at them, which will easily set them off.

Don’t fall for that temptation. It might seem funny to you, but that is just setting yourself up for an altercation.

How to Receive Blackjack Advice

Some players think that they know the best strategy for every situation in blackjack, and they love to tell other players what to do.

Those players might think that they are offering helpful advice, but it might feel like criticism to you. Don’t let pride cause a disagreement in this situation.

You should always hear them out, at least at the beginning. Think about what the other players have to say, then explain why you made the play you did.

Hopefully, they will see your point. Or you can agree to disagree and move on.

If these players continue criticizing your moves without listening to your opinions, you have a few options.

  • You can ignore them or offer a vague response. There is nothing wrong with agreeing out loud while you continue to ignore their advice in your actions.
  • Another option is to simply ask them to stop. You can say something like, “If that strategy works for you, keep at it. But, I am going to keep playing my way.”

Suppose other players continue to criticize your playing, even after you have politely declined their advice. In that case, you can try a more forceful response, like, “Mind your own business,” or “Leave me alone.”

If the issue continues after that point, you can either switch tables or complain to the pit boss.

Try your best to avoid letting it get that far, but if the other player doesn’t let up, you have a right to do what you need to do.

Don’t let other players’ lack of etiquette at the blackjack table ruin your experience at the casino.

Blackjack Tipping Etiquette

One of the most important ways you can pay your dealers and cocktail waitresses respect is to tip them.

Tipping etiquette for live casino blackjack varies from one country and culture to the next.

  • Tipping is not expected in European countries, but it is accepted.
  • If you are gambling in an Asian casino, tipping is considered offensive.
  • In American casinos, dealers and cocktail waitresses depend on tips as a part of their wage. It is important to tip these casino employees if they do a good job.

Here is a guide on how much you should tip in the casino.

Scenario Poor Service Good Service Excellent Service Notes
Casino Restaurants 10-15% of the bill 20% of the bill 25-30% of the bill If you get a comped meal for free, you are still responsible for tipping the waitress.
Cocktail Waitresses at the Games $1 for the night $1 per drink $2-$3 per drink or $10 per night You can tip cocktail waitresses with cash or casino chips.
Dealers $5 for the session $5 per hour or 10% of your buy-in $10 per hour or 15% of your buy-in You can tip the dealer directly or place a bet on their behalf.
Parking Lot Attendants or Valet Drivers $1-2 $5 $10 Tips are not expected until the valet gets your car when you are ready to leave.

Some players choose to tip the dealers a percentage of their wins instead of a specific dollar amount. However, that is not a fair way to decide when to tip your blackjack dealer.

Remember that the dealer is not responsible for you winning or losing, so it is not fair to refuse to tip them because you lost.

Don’t wait until the end of your session to tip your dealer, either. You might not have any chips left if you do. And that’s bad blackjack tipping etiquette.

What If the Dealer is Less Than Friendly?

Unfriendly Blackjack Dealers

These situations are relatively rare, but everyone has bad days every once in a while. You never know what a dealer might have experienced before coming onto the casino floor.

They might have just received bad news from a friend, or they might have argued with a significant other.

The pit boss is the dealers’ boss, and they probably have situations where they don’t like how a pit boss handled something.

All these experiences can affect how a dealer or cocktail waitress interacts with the customers. They might not be as friendly and accommodating when they are having a bad day.

Here’s how to handle it.

Remember to think about how you want to be treated when you have a bad day. Don’t mistreat a dealer just because you think they are not as chatty as they should be.

If their behavior is bothering you, there is always the option of moving to another table. You can also give the dealer a smaller tip than average or refuse to tip altogether.

According to traditional etiquette for tipping in blackjack, tipping is not required. However, you should only refuse to tip someone when their service was exceptionally poor.

Don’t make a habit of finding excuses to avoid tipping your blackjack dealers.

Of course, there are some instances where a dealer or casino employee might be downright disrespectful.

When their behavior cannot be attributed to having a bad day, you can complain to the pit boss if necessary. However, that should be a last resort.

Remember that dealers are human, and they make mistakes too. Give them as much grace as you can.

Online Blackjack Etiquette Rules

Etiquette for live dealer blackjack games

You can avoid situations with other players altogether by playing blackjack online. That is one of the many benefits of gambling online.

Most of the blackjack etiquette that we have already discussed does not matter when you play online. The computer will handle your chips and cards for you, and there aren’t usually other people to interact with.

The only exception is when you play live dealer blackjack. There are some online blackjack etiquette rules you will want to keep in mind.

Most importantly, you should remember to tip your dealer, just like you would if you were playing in person.

Also, you only have one way of interacting with other players and with the dealer, and that is through the online chat feature.

Make sure that your chat messages are appropriate and respectful. There is no reason to insult the dealer in the chat or make rude comments when you don’t get your way.

Many live dealer blackjack tables have a limited number of seats, just like in land-based casinos. The difference is that online casinos let an unlimited number of players use the bet behind feature.

If you are betting behind another player, do not use the chat feature to comment on their play. Treat them the same way you would treat them if you were betting behind in person.

Other than that, there are no other blackjack etiquette rules that apply to online games. If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of etiquette, playing blackjack online for real money is definitely the easiest option.

Summarizing Proper Blackjack Etiquette

It is normal to make mistakes and forget some of this etiquette for playing blackjack.

Every gambler has absentmindedly played with their chips after the bets have been placed. Many of us have attempted to hand money directly to the dealer instead of placing it on the table.

When you are excited about a win, it is natural to immediately scoop your winnings.

The casino is not going to kick you out for any of these situations. After all, they want you to stay and keep risking your money.

You should just be mindful of these blackjack etiquette rules in-person and online to make sure that you keep these mistakes to a minimum.

Don’t get offended if a dealer reminds you of one of these rules. They are merely trying to inform you so that the pit boss doesn’t have to. No one is judging you.

Remember that the reason for all this blackjack etiquette is to protect both the players and dealers from misunderstandings.

As long as everyone follows the proper etiquette for playing blackjack most of the time, you and everyone else around you can have a pleasant experience at the casino.