Tips to Help You Master the Game of Blackjack

min read
A hand holding two playing cards and casino chips in the frame.
BetMGM Nov 10, 2023, 5:59 AM

It’s the sport of kings and queens, jacks and aces, where the stakes are high, but the winning is easier than in other casino games. This is blackjack, one of the gambling world’s best casino games. 

If you’re playing blackjack at a casino or simply feeling the urge to play a few rounds of this exhilarating casino game online, then let BetMGM help you understand the unspoken rules of the table. We’re in the business of giving all punters, bettors, and players the opportunity for unrivaled gameplay, whether at the table or when enjoying online casino games. First, if you don’t already know, to win a game of blackjack, you need to make sure the cards you’re dealt add up to 21, or as close to that as possible. Just don’t go over 21, because then you’re bust and out of that hand. 

Now that you’ve got the basics let’s get to the unspoken rules of live dealer blackjack. 

Finding a Place at a Table

Don’t just sit at any table. When it comes to casino table games, it’s better to ask for permission than forgiveness. 

If you see a table with an open chair, don’t assume it’s available, some players may be involved in two hands at the same time. It’s best to first check for open seats, then betting positions, or simply ask the dealer if you can take a seat. 

The deck is often placed in a shoe which assists the dealer when using multiple decks. Sometimes, you may not be allowed to start playing halfway through a shoe, even though there is an open seat. This will often be indicated with a sign, if so, feel free to sit down, but also exercise some patience until it’s indicated that you may place your bet. 

Placing a Bet

In live dealer blackjack, bets are placed before the cards are dealt. Players bet by placing the chips in front of them in the designated area on the table. Minimum and maximum limits are established before betting, so make sure your stake is equal to the task. 

Security is paramount when you play casino games. Overhead cameras keep watch on everybody’s movements, and much of the action takes place in full view of these eyes in the skies. When buying chips from the dealer, lay your cash directly on the table. The dealer will spread the money out in full view of the camera, count it, and give you the equivalent in chips. If there’s already a game taking place, hold onto your cash until the next round starts. 

If your bet consists of two different amounts, for example, a $25 chip and two $5 chips, always place the higher denomination chips at the bottom of the stack. If this isn’t done, the dealer will stop that game and rearrange the chips before dealing the cards this is seen as a waste of time by the old guard who simply wants to get on with the game. 

Once the dealer starts to deal, you’re not allowed to touch your chips until the hand is completed and someone has won the game. If you win or tie, you can collect your chips or change your bet. If the dealer wins, he or she will take your chips. 

What To Do With Your Cards

When cards are dealt face-up, such as in games with four or more decks, don’t touch the cards. However, in games where the cards are dealt face down, pick them up with one hand only. This prevents potential sleight of hand, tampering with cards or switching cards out for winning combos. 

Lastly, never remove your cards or hands from the table again, this prevents card tampering and keeps everything above board and in view of the cameras. 

Once the Cards are Dealt

For security purposes and to ensure correct interpretation, it’s best to use hand signals to show the dealer what you’d like to do next. Don’t tell him, as this could lead to misunderstandings later on. The hand signals you can use are: 

  • Give me another card known as Hit, you can either tap the table or make the “come here” gesture by curling your fingers in towards your palm;
  • No additional card needed this is Standing, and you can simply wave your hand over your cards, palm down;
  • Doubling down place an additional bet and show one finger;
  • Splitting place an additional bet and show two fingers.

Making the Best of Your Hand

Blackjack at the table or blackjack at an online casino is a mathematical game add up your cards until you hit 21. Remember that the ace is either a one or an 11, depending on the other cards in your hand, while the king, queen, and jack are all 10s. 

The best way to learn, though, is by watching the old hands and learning their strategy. After this, practice until your gameplay becomes almost automatic, but remember to also take a chance on yourself. Play the hunch, like the 16 to the dealer’s 10, and you may just win,   whether you’re playing blackjack at a physical table or an online casino. 

And when you win? Definitely celebrate, but perhaps do so quietly if you’re in a casino. Color your chips up in other words, stack them in order and from largest denomination to smallest. This makes them easier to carry and easier to swap for cold, hard cash at the end of the day. 

Play Blackjack at BetMGM

Now that you’ve got the basics down, it’s time to put your blackjack knowledge and skills to the test. Check into any one of our MGM partner hotels for the best casino games countrywide, or visit our online casino game site to register and play. It’s how we’re changing the game for everyone.

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.