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Casino Blackjack - An Introduction

Alright, Fat Tony's gonna go over the basics here. You walk into a casino, you find a blackjack table, you sit down. Where you sit down doesn't really matter much, but some people will tell you there's an advantage to being in the 'third base' seat, which is the last guy to be dealt to, right on the dealers right. This way you can see what is dealt to the other players and supposedly have a better idea of what's left in the deck, but in actual fact there isn't much point in this unless you're on a one or two deck game with a dealer who doesn't reshuffle. And you can count cards. So for the rest of us, sitting in the third base seat doesn't do much but ensure the other players can glare at you if you hit, and it turns out you standing would have busted the dealer. For some dumb reason people think it's the third baseman's fault, but think about it, anyone at the table hitting would have changed the outcome of the dealer's hand the same way.

I think I'm getting ahead of myself. Alright, so you sit down in the casino, blackjack table in front of you, and you want to play. If you don't have chips already (which are really called checks, except in roulette), you can lay down cash money. Be careful here, if you just put your money down without looking, it may be interpreted as a bet, and you'll be dealt cards on it. At this point you can't back out and say it wasn't a bet, so just be careful. Tell the dealer directly you want to buy in, and put your money out beyond the betting area.

Now you're at the table, casino chips stacked, blackjack expected. First off, place your bet. To do this just put the chips you want to bet in the betting circle on the felt in front of you. After that, you'll be dealt two cards, usually face up. Don't touch them. If they're face down, only handle them with one hand - casino rules. At the same time the dealer will give themselves two cards, one face up, and one face down. At this point every piece of information your casino blackjack's gonna give you is laid out on the table. The game of casino blackjack is all about decisions, and this is when you make them.

The two main decisions you can make are hitting and standing. The goal of the game is to beat the dealer's hand, without going over 21. Since the dealer has generously showed us one of their two cards, we can base our hitting and standing decisions on how our two-card hand stacks up against the dealers up-card and mystery card.

Fortunately for us, if we know how many decks are being used, and a couple of other variables, we can look up what's called a 'basic strategy' chart. For more information on basic strategy, and the charts themselves, visit the basic blackjack strategy page. To continue your introduction to the game of casino blackjack, move onto the blackjack rules page.