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Blackjack Etiquette

Blackjack players shouldn’t just know how to play and win. You must know what are the unwritten rules of blackjack, or Blackjack Etiquette if you want to be welcomed at the casino and treated with respect.

Some of the awe related to casinos has indeed faded, with many players visiting after a drink or considering it nothing more than a night out. However, many professional players visit the blackjack table, and dealers work to make the whole experience outstanding for them. You should learn about blackjack etiquette and treat them as you would like to be treated when you have become a veteran of the card game.

Blackjack Chips Etiquette

Wondering what are the unwritten rules of blackjack chips? Below, we discuss the most widespread unspoken rules:

Don’t touch your chips during gameplay

The blackjack dealer and players shouldn’t touch the chips at any given time. Cameras ensure that the action moves smoothly, and the general rule is that the players can only add chips before the deal. From there, neither the player nor the dealer should touch the chips.

After playing the round, you can pick your original wager and winning chips and place your next bet. If you lose, the dealer will take your chips at that point.

Except for these instances, you shouldn’t move, play, or touch the chips on the table. Not following this rule can indicate to the casino that you are trying to cheat by adding or lowering your bet.

Sort your chips

Another unspoken rule related to blackjack chips is about their organization. Unless you stack your chips based on their value and neatly place them on the betting spot, it is very hard for the dealer to pay you the correct amount, and the whole deal can be significantly delayed.

Chip denomination

Higher value chips should be on the bottom of your stack and low value on the higher end. It has been this way since forever, helping blackjack dealers and other players evaluate your total blackjack bet.

You won’t be criticized for failing to do that once or twice, but if you notice the dealer taking the time to rearrange your chips in the correct order, you should consider doing that in advance.

Don’t stack low denomination chips

Beginners often tend to stack low denomination chips and place massive stacks on their boxes. This can be very time-consuming since the dealer will need to count your chips to pay out any winnings.

Instead, you should change your low denomination chips to higher ones to make the whole process more efficient.

Never directly give cash

Players in a rush often place bets in cash or give a tip this way due to the excitement. The dealers aren’t allowed to take cash directly or even touch cash you placed on the table.

The etiquette indicates that players should only bet with chips; you can place the cash on the table, where the casino cameras see the amount, and the dealer will give you chips in return. Likewise, if you want to leave a tip, do so through your chips, but again by leaving them on the table.

Blackjack Cards Etiquette

The most common issues appear due to incorrect handling of the blackjack chips, but several rules are also linked to blackjack cards:

Hold your hands correctly

It is not common for a casino to allow players to hold their blackjack cards. However, if this is alright, you should never use both hands to hold the cards.

To avoid cheating accusations, you should only pick and hold your cards with one hand.

Do not move the cards from the table

Likewise, players cannot move the cards around or outside the table. If you do that, the casino will likely think you are manipulating the game or try to tamper with the gameplay and ban you, probably for life.

Card deck cut

The dealer randomly asks players to cut the deck in some blackjack games. This can take you by surprise since it doesn’t happen that regularly. It is a standard operating procedure to make players feel the game isn’t rigged since shuffling takes place within the shoe anyway.

If asked to cut the cards, aim for the middle, or at least that’s the etiquette.

Signaling actions to the dealer

Players rarely speak in blackjack and poker games. The dealer and other players follow the action based on specific actions. Being familiar with these is paramount, or you might feel unsure of what’s happening.

Waving your hand, shaking your head, or moving the cards beneath the chip stack indicates standing. Pointing one finger to the table or nodding is an indication of hitting. Get accustomed to these from our blackjack rules guide.

Moving objects on the table

If you place your phone, drink, or any item on the table or cards, you will be asked to remove them. The dealer, and the cameras, won’t be able to see your cards which is why it is strictly forbidden. Either you remove those instantly, or security will remove you from the premises.

Casino Blackjack Table Etiquette

A set of unspoken rules is also tied to the blackjack table. Before hitting the casino floor, you should be aware of these last blackjack etiquettes:

Avoid phrasing your intentions

As highlighted in relation to card etiquette, it is always better signaling than phrasing your blackjack moves. This not only streamlines the process but also helps the cameras follow the blackjack action.

Pointing at the table – hitting (getting more cards)

Waving your hand – standing (not requesting another action)

Put an equal amount of chips to your bet next to your bet – splitting (separating identical cards to bet on two separate hands)

Add a wager matching your active bet behind your stack – doubling down

Don’t tell other players what to do

If other players are up for socializing, discussing anything that goes is totally fine. However, many blackjack players, who consider themselves pros, go as far as telling others what to do. This does make sense since there is an excellent chance to make the dealer go bust by collaborating, but it is by no rules a respectful action.

Unless another player asks you, don’t try to explain to others how to play blackjack or what moves to perform next.

Stay sober

Many people go to the casino for free or cheap drinks and eventually end up at the blackjack table. However, this card game requires a lot of thinking and strategizing, so being drunk and loud could disrupt the gameplay of others. If you can handle it, it’s okay, but you should always keep your tone down when gambling.

On the same note, being drunk will probably lead you to make wrong decisions at the blackjack table.

Treat everyone respectfully

This is basic etiquette for any occasion, but it applies to the casino more than in other places. Firstly, dealers are working, and they deserve a decent environment. Some players might also see the blackjack game as work and need time and space to think while playing. Just because you had a bad day or mood, you shouldn’t ruin the fun for everyone else. Keep it respectful.

Only talk to the dealer for advice and clarification

There are many different blackjack variations, and it is normal having questions about the game. That’s particularly the case if you are new to blackjack. Asking other players for tips to play or the rules is not ideal for anyone.

However, asking the dealer to explain the game or how to perform certain actions like surrendering, doubling, or placing a side bet is perfectly fine.

Blackjack Etiquette FAQs:

What is proper blackjack etiquette?

There are many unwritten rules related to blackjack, and it would be good to know these before hitting the table. Below, we outline them for you:
Chips etiquette – don’t touch your chips during the play, sort your chips from higher to lower denomination, use higher denomination chips instead of many lower ones, and do not use cash to bet or tip.
Cards etiquette – hold your cards with one hand, don’t remove the hands from the table, signal instead of speaking your actions, keep the table empty, and cut the deck towards the middle.
Table etiquette – stay sober, don’t advise other players, ask the dealer for help with the rules, and treat everyone respectfully.

What are the unwritten rules of blackjack?

The unwritten rules of blackjack, or blackjack etiquette, is a set of rules you must follow when playing blackjack at the casino. These do not apply in live dealer or online blackjack since you do not directly come in contact with others. However, you must know how to act on the table and in relation to other players in a brick-and-mortar casino.

Do you hit or stand at 16?

The blackjack etiquette is to hit when having totals up to 16 and to stand from 17 and over. 

Herbert Hanson
Author Herb has spent years working in the gambling industry, helping to provide gambling entertainment. He started from the land-based casino and then moved to the iGaming industry and joined our team as an author with great knowledge of the Las Vegas casino industry. His unique approach is the key to our content creation strategy. Do you need the latest bonuses and promotions; Herbert Hanson is your man with great knowledge.