Even though online blackjack is very popular, there are still plenty of blackjack players who relish the idea of spending time at a live blackjack table in Las Vegas. Nothing beats the excitement of playing blackjack in Sin City, but if you are thinking about it you should be prepared. Here are some tips for playing blackjack in Vegas. Who knows? You might just become the next blackjack legend.
Be Realistic About Your Blackjack Skills
Before you park it at a blackjack table in one of the glitzy Las Vegas casinos, evaluate your skill level at the game. You need to be aware of what you know and what you don’t know before you play the first hand. Are you good at basic blackjack strategy? Can you count cards? Do you manage your money properly while gambling. The answers to these questions will help you decide which blackjack tables to play and which ones to avoid.
Drop the foolish bravado. It’s okay to admit that counting cards isn’t your strong suit. If that is true, don’t try to play the high-limit double-deck pitch blackjack games. If your basic strategy is weak, look for the simplest game of blackjack you can find and avoid all the games with fancy gimmicks and side bets. If you have a problem with money management, stick to the lowest table limits. Very few people are experts at all three, so identify your strengths and weaknesses and play accordingly.
If You Need Help, Just Ask
Contrary to what you may think, casino personnel aren’t out to get you. Most of them are friendly and courteous. If this happens to be your first time at a live blackjack table, the dealers and pit bosses will happily answer your questions.
Don’t worry about them giving you the wrong advice, either. They will happily explain the game and dealers may even help with basic strategy. Why? Because they know the odds are ever in their favor, even if you take their advice. You’ll often find that your fellow players are also happy to help you out when there is something you don’t understand. Remember, the only bad question is the one that goes unasked.
Don’t Touch the Cards!
Unless you are playing a double-deck game of blackjack, touching your cards is not permitted in most Vegas casinos. The dealer will place them face up in front of you. To ask for a hit, just tap the table with your hand or fingers. To stand, wave your hand over the cards. To split or double, simply slide out your new wager and the dealer will know what you wish to do. To be on the safe side you can always say the words as you make these motions.
Touching the cards at a Vegas blackjack table is embarrassing. The dealer will politely warn you the first time you do it. If it happens again, the warnings will get stronger.
If You Want to Win, Don’t Drink and Play Blackjack
Las Vegas created the concept of hospitality in a glass. Since the earliest days of the first Las Vegas casinos, players have been able to receive free drinks. A cocktail waitress will come by every so often and offer you a free beverage while you are playing. Refuse it. Or, have some water or coffee. They have those drinks, too, you know?
Here’s the deal. Drinking at the blackjack table causes you to make poor decisions. Your inhibitions vanish and you begin to play loose. When that happens, it’s just a matter of time before you go broke. Save the free drinks for when you are playing slot machines that don’t require concentration and focus.
Stay Away From Autoshufflers in Las Vegas
In recent years it has become very popular for blackjack tables in Las Vegas to use autoshufflers. This is a machine built right into the blackjack table that shuffles cards after each hand of play. This amounts to an added advantage for the casino.
Granted, this applies more to card counters. If you are counting cards, an automatic shuffler practically renders your advantage useless because you never have an opportunity to establish an accurate count. Sadly, games without an automatic shuffling machine are becoming harder and harder to find in Las Vegas.
Stick to the Major Casinos
Las Vegas is laid out in a particular fashion. There is the Las Vegas Strip which boasts the more modern casinos with all of the bells and whistles. The Fremont Street area is located downtown and has many smaller casinos. Either of these areas will be perfectly acceptable for finding a good blackjack game. A good place to start is at the Bellagio
Venturing into the outskirts of the city can be a problem. Here you will find many casinos that aren’t really casinos at all. Some of them are just restaurants and hotels with a small gaming area. The blackjack games in these seedy gaming houses don’t offer favorable rules and the environment can sometimes be downright dangerous. Stick to the major Las Vegas casinos on the Strip or on Fremont Street.
Try to Sit at First Base or in the Middle of the Blackjack Table
If you are new to the game of blackjack, you should take some time to learn seat positions. The First Base seat is the seat directly to the dealer’s left hand. The player in this seat is the first person to receive cards and the first person to act on their hand. There are then a group of middle seats before the final seat at the table, Third Base. This player is the last to receive cards and the last to act.
Here’s the thing about Third Base. A novice player in that seat can make some mistakes that affect the whole table. For example, a player in the Third Base seat can take a hit when they should stand. This can potentially take the dealer’s bust card and cause everyone at the table to lose.
Unless you are an experienced blackjack player, sitting in the Third Base seat is a form of grief you don’t need in your life. Even if you make the right decisions, some players at the table will blame you every time the dealer draws out and wins a hand they should have lost.
Stand on Those Tens!
Just because you are allowed to split any pair doesn’t mean you should split a pair of ten-value cards. This will quickly turn the entire table against you. If you are dealt a total of 20, celebrate and stand! The odds are overwhelmingly in your favor.
The one main difference between playing online blackjack and playing blackjack in Las Vegas is that you have to deal with other players at the live table. In most cases, you are the only player at the table when playing online. Other blackjack players can be a testy bunch. They especially don’t like it when they are on a losing streak, and they will try to lay blame wherever possible. To avoid landing in their crosshairs, don’t split tens!
Whatever you do when you play blackjack in Las Vegas, remember to have fun. Don’t stress about winning money. Just stick to basic strategy and with a little luck, the wins will come. Take some time to enjoy the various attractions in the city, eat some great food, and leave with a lot of priceless memories.
Here are some other related pages to read: