How to Choose the Best Blackjack Table to Play At

Jack of SpadesBy Sadie Smith.

Choosing the right table when playing blackjack makes the game more interesting and increases your chances of winning. Players can now choose between playing blackjack in person at traditional casinos or playing blackjack at online fiat or crypto casinos. Different tables have different rules, limits, and conditions; therefore, it is important to know what to look for so that you can increase your winning potential. For you to be able to choose the best blackjack table, you need to combine your knowledge of the game and pay attention to detail. You have to understand the house edge and identify rules and betting options that are favorable to you.

In this guide, you will learn the key factors to consider when choosing a blackjack table, helping you make informed decisions and increase your chances of winning.

1. Look for Tables With Rules that Benefit You

Before you settle down at a physical or virtual blackjack table, take your time to see what the rules are. The rules that will be most favorable to you are those that offer a low house edge that is less than 0.5%, dealer stands on soft 17, allowing double down on any two cards, and rules that allow splitting pairs.

Looking for a table with blackjack rules that benefit you means that the playing conditions give you a better chance of winning or reducing the house edge. Let us look at some of the rules below:1)EDITOR NOTE: Check the blackjack rule variations and odds section for a deeper understanding of how the rules of the game affect the house edge.

Low House Edge

The house edge, also known as the ratio of the average loss to the initial bet, is the advantage that the casino has compared to the players. It is usually shown as an amount of each wager that the casino expects to win in the long run. The house edge for card games such as blackjack is influenced by game rules, betting options, player strategy, and the number of decks, among other things. It is the driving force behind a casino’s profit margin and affects the player’s chances of winning. 

Dealer Stands on Soft 17

The dealer stands on soft 17 rule, which is common in blackjack, refers to the dealer’s behavior when they have a hand that is equivalent to 17 and contains an ace that can be counted as an 11. In this case, the dealer will not get more cards to try to get closer to 21 or improve their hand.

A soft 17 includes hands like ace-6, ace-4-2, and ace-3-3. The player’s hand will be settled based on the dealer’s standing hand. If the dealer hits soft 17, they may choose to improve their hand and reduce the player’s chances of winning, so it is important to check the specific rules of the blackjack table you’re playing at since some tables may have different rules concerning the dealer’s behavior on soft 17.

Double Down on Any Two Cards is Allowed

When double-down on any two cards is allowed, it means that a player can double his starting bet and get one more card, in spite of the value of their original two cards. With this rule, the player can choose to double down with either weak or strong hands. The player’s goal is to improve their hand and get closer to 21 or beat the dealer’s hand. Although doubling down gives a player the chance to increase their potential winnings, it also increases the risk of losing more money if the player’s hand does not improve.

The double-down rule should be used strategically and only when it makes sense based on the player’s hand and the dealer’s upcard.  Hands to consider doubling are 9, 10, 11 and soft hands such as A2 – A7.

Splitting Pairs Allowed

When splitting pairs is allowed in blackjack, it means that you are allowed to split your initial two cards into two separate hands if they have the same value, for example, two 8s or two Aces. This can increase your chances of winning, especially if the dealer has a weak upcard. Splitting cards can only be done once for Aces, and but most casinos allow re-splitting up to 3 times for the other cards.

2. Choose a Table With Limits that Fit Your Bankroll and Betting Strategy

When playing blackjack, you should choose a table with a limit that fits within your budget. Before sitting down to play, make sure you check the table minimums and maximums to avoid embarrassment if the minimum limit turns out to be higher than your budget or disappointment when the maximum limit is way below your budget.

When you apply this strategy, you can avoid unnecessary risks and overspending. If you play at a table with a minimum limit that is a bit higher than you expected, you can end up feeling pressured to spend more than you initially intended, which is bad risk management.

16 Versus Ace in Blackjack

3. Pay Attention to the Number of Decks in Play

The number of decks in play affects the house edge and your winning odds significantly. Remember that what is most favorable for you is having fewer decks in play, such as in a single-deck or double-deck game. For example:

  • A single-deck game has a lower house edge around 0.17%.
  • A multi-deck game has a house edge of around 0.5-0.6%.

When there are more decks in a game, the occurrence of an ace and a 10-value card is less frequent, which makes it slightly less likely to get a blackjack. Whether you are playing at a real-money online casino or a traditional brick-and-mortar casino, the objective is to choose a table that favors you instead of the house.2)EDITOR NOTE: The house edge mentioned here assume blackjacks pay 3 to 2.  If blackjacks pay 6 to 5, the house edge can be over 1%.  Avoid games that only pay 6 to 5 on blackjacks!

4. Look For a Table that Shows the Dealer’s Upcard

The dealer’s upcard is the card that faces upwards and is dealt to the dealer at the start of each round. The card can give you a rough idea of how strong the dealer’s hand is and help you decide how to play your own hand. For you to come up with a blackjack strategy that helps you play against the dealer’s upcard, its value, and your own hand play an important role.

When the dealer’s upcard is a 2-6, it means that they probably have a weak hand and are more likely to go over 21, so if you have 12 or more, you should usually stay where you are. If the dealer’s upcard is a 7-Ace, it means that they probably have a strong hand and are less likely to go over 21, so it is usually best to hit values from 12 through 16.

IMAGE CREDIT: Unsplash
IMAGE CREDIT: IstockPhoto

Footnotes

Footnotes
1EDITOR NOTE: Check the blackjack rule variations and odds section for a deeper understanding of how the rules of the game affect the house edge.
2EDITOR NOTE: The house edge mentioned here assume blackjacks pay 3 to 2.  If blackjacks pay 6 to 5, the house edge can be over 1%.  Avoid games that only pay 6 to 5 on blackjacks!

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