Essential Guide To Blackjack Etiquette

min read
A dealer places a card on a blackjack table.
BetMGM Nov 20, 2023, 6:56 AM

Blackjack is one of the classic online casino games that is played all over the world. Playing blackjack at a casino remains popular because it’s easy to learn, and you get to interact with a friendly dealer and other players at the table while applying some basic strategy to help you increase your chances of winning.

From the unspoken rules of casino etiquette to the clearly dictated standards gamblers are required to abide by, every online and land-based casino has rules, social cues, and etiquette requirements that players need to follow to ensure that all parties have a fair and enjoyable experience. Being familiar with the essentials of blackjack etiquette will, without a doubt, increase your enjoyment of the game and the wider casino experience, whether you choose to play at an online casino in the USA or a brick-and-mortar establishment.

Keep in mind that some of the nuances of blackjack etiquette will differ slightly from one region to the next, but what we’re about to share with you will apply no matter where you play this exciting game. Here’s what you need to know.

Handling Your Chips and Cards

  • Before the dealing starts, make sure you’ve put your chips in the betting area. The size of your bet will be based on the table’s minimum and maximum betting limits. 
  • Once the dealing of cards starts, you must not touch your chips unless you decide to double down, surrender, or take insurance. 
  • You can handle your chips only when the hand has been completed, and your chips will either double or the dealer takes them.
  • One of the worst rookie mistakes is to pick up your cards off the table and hold them while figuring out your next move. Don’t do this! Proper blackjack etiquette dictates that you should not pick up the cards or hold them if they’ve been dealt face-up. 
  • Cards that have been dealt face-down should be picked up with one hand. 
  • To keep things above board and root out any underhand behavior, casinos prefer that your cards can always be seen by the dealer and the casino’s security camera.

You’ll find when playing blackjack at a casino that most establishments tend to deal cards face-up, so you won’t need to touch them at all.

Engaging With the Dealer

A dealer is essentially the casino equivalent of a sports referee. They’re there to make sure a game goes ahead in a professional manner, without any hitches. This means it’s important to know how to interact with them, and this is where blackjack etiquette can be a big help. 

Your friendly dealer will always be happy to clarify the blackjack rules at a casino if you aren’t clear on your options, so don’t be shy to ask. It’s better to speak up than mess up.  

You will use hand signals to show your intentions to the dealer. Here’s how:

  • Use your hand to indicate “come here” (a beckoning gesture) when you want to hit. 
  • Wave your hand over your cards, palm down, if you intend to stand.
  • Placing the appropriate number of chips beside the original wager tells the dealer that you want to split or double down.
  • Want to pass a tip to your dealer? Hand a chip over the table and let them know it’s for them.

Player Interaction

The question here is, should you speak to other players at the table? There are two answers to this.

  • First, yes, many players enjoy some friendly banter during play and may even ask for advice.
  • Second, never offer advice unless you’ve been asked for it, and do not engage in excessive talk that could put other players off their game or cause offense.

Playing Online

All your favorite casino table games are available in a live format, and live dealer blackjack is booming! These games are streamed from a casino-like studio and overseen by a real-life dealer. They’re getting increasingly popular because you can speak to the dealer and other players while placing your bets using the game interface. Although the dealer and players can’t actually see you (which is great if you like to play in your socks), they can read your messages via a chatbox and give you a verbal response. You also get to see the dealer’s responses to other players’ messages.

While a lot of the principles of live dealer casino etiquette are the same as basic gambling etiquette, there are some points that don’t apply when you play blackjack at an online casino. You won’t, for example, be able to physically pick up or hold your cards, and you can’t signal your intentions to the dealer. But here’s what you can do:

  • If you want to tip your dealer, go ahead and do this, but read the casino’s rules of conduct before play starts. Live dealer providers like Playtech provide a “Tip” function on their interface, and all you have to do to tip your dealer is press the “Tip” button. 
  • As we mentioned before, live dealer casino games allow you to interact with the dealer and other players via a chat function. If you stick to the same rules you’d observe in a brick-and-mortar casino, which includes being polite and respectful and doing nothing that might disrupt another player’s game or cause offense, you can’t go wrong.

What Not to Do

While we’ve covered the things that are considered good blackjack etiquette, let’s take a quick look at what to avoid.

  • Never flirt with the dealers or waitresses. Even if you think they’re interested in you, consider that they’re working hard to be friendly and efficient, so you’ll have a positive experience and hopefully show your appreciation with a decent-sized tip. 
  • Another basic part of blackjack etiquette at a casino is never to hand money to the dealer. Most casinos have rules where dealers are prohibited from taking money from players’ hands, so if you would like to join a game, just wait for the current round to end and place your money on the table. The dealer will spread your money out and have it counted under the cameras before sliding you the equivalent value of chips – all you need to do is tell the dealer the value of chips you would like to buy.
  • Being respectful doesn’t just apply to the blackjack table; it’s common sense. So, avoid calling casino staff things like “sweetie” or “babe.” 
  • Winning at the tables and failing to tip the people who’ve helped you to get the most out of your blackjack experience is a no-no at most US casinos. Suitable tips to casino staff in the US are typically 1% to 2% of your win. Tipping at the tables in Europe is not a requirement, and if you choose to do this, be discreet. Meanwhile, in Asia, tipping can be seen as offensive. Always find out what a casino’s tipping policy is before you sit down to play.
  • A fundamental aspect of blackjack table etiquette is to always have your cards in full view of the dealer, other players, and the security cameras – never remove your cards from the table.
  • On the note of not touching, when you’re playing blackjack at a casino, it’s important to remember that once the dealer has called “no more bets,” you are not allowed to touch your chips until the end of the game. If you win, you can collect your chips after the game, and if you lose, the dealer will take your chips.
  • You should also never hold your cards with two hands. If you are holding your cards, the rule is that you need to do it with only one hand. This is to prevent switching. 
  • When playing at a casino, you need to signal your decision to either hit or stand instead of saying it so that the security cameras will be able to see your decision, which prevents cheating. The dealer will usually show you the hand signals at the beginning of the game if you don’t already know them. 

Play With BetMGM Wherever You Are

Try out your blackjack etiquette when you play casino games at BetMGM. Our dealers are friendly and always happy to help and clarify anything you may not be sure of, and we have a range of other games you can play when you want to take a break from the blackjack tables. It’s so easy to register and access a world of entertainment at one of the best online casinos out there!

Actress Vanessa Hudgens flipping casino chips next to the text "The King of Casinos"
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Our BetMGM editors and authors are casino experts with a wealth of knowledge of the online casino industry at all levels. Their coverage includes company news, game reviews, how-to instructional articles, strategy guides, and editorials showcasing BetMGM’s superior product and game library.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are casino experts with a wealth of knowledge of the online casino industry at all levels. Their coverage includes company news, game reviews, how-to instructional articles, strategy guides, and editorials showcasing BetMGM’s superior product and game library.