Blackjack Table Layout

Published: 08/04/2012

In casinos, both online and off, the game of Blackjack is conducted at specially designed table. It is designed for maximum security as well as optimum ease of play. Certain procedures have been developed, too, in order to utilize the table layout to everyone’s best advantage, taking into account that Blackjack is a social game, which involves a great deal of interaction between the players and the dealer.

The felt covering of the table allows the cards slide easily across the surface, as do glass and ceramic objects such as tumblers and ashtrays. To avoid spills, there is usually a wooden or leather-covered rail surrounding the playing area, featuring recessed or inserted cup and ashtray holders all along the players’ side of the table. The rail sometimes has chip trays, too, although most players prefer to stack their chips on the felt directly behind their playing positions.

Players should be aware that only the dealer and pit supervisors are permitted to stand on the dealer’s side of the table. Onlookers may watch from the sides or from behind the players, but spectators are never allowed behind the dealer. This rule helps reduce opportunities for cheating and prevents the dealer from being disturbed while working.

Immediately to the dealer’s left is the shoe or deck from which the cards are dealt. To the dealer’s right is a discard tray used to collect the cards that have already been played. Several faceless plastic marker cards are commonly used in the process of shuffling and cutting, and they are often tucked under an edge of the discard tray or the shoe.

Directly in front of the dealer, a grooved rack contains the chips used in play. The chips are stacked in columns, with the lower denominations in the outer grooves and the higher ones on the inside. This helps guard against anyone reaching in and trying to grab a handful of high-value chips.

One or two slots typically appear in the table surface to the dealer’s right. The narrow, wider one is a cash slot where paper currency is dropped into a locked metal box attached under the table. The smaller one, if evident, is where coins or chips given to the dealer as tips are inserted. If there is no tip slot, the dealer may place tips in a breast pocket or stack them beside the discard tray.

In the center of the table in front of the chip rack, a small L-shaped piece of metal may be seen jutting out of the table and framed by an imbedded rectangle made of glass. Not all tables possess this feature, but t is the called the “peek window.” It is used by the dealer to peek at the hole card whenever the up card is an Ace or a card valued at ten. Beneath the glass is a small mirror that allows only the dealer to see the value of the hole card, without picking up the card or bending its corner, which is the case when there is no peek window.

At one end of the table, facing the players, the Table Limits sign can be found. It will display the minimum and maximum amounts that can be wagered per hand. In many cases, it will also indicate any special House rules, such as how many times hands may be split or what rules are in effect for doubling down. A brief outline of the House Rules may also be printed on the surface of the table facing the players. It will describe what the payout is for a natural blackjack, whether insurance is available, and whether the dealer must stand on all 17s or must draw to soft 17.

Circles or rectangles appearing on the players’ side of the table are the betting areas for the seated participants. There will be one betting area for each player—typically five, six, or seven. The betting areas are sometimes referred to as “spots.” The first spot to the dealer’s left is called “first base” and the last spot to the dealer’s right is known as “third base.”

To buy in and receive chips, currency should be placed on the table beyond the betting area and facing the dealer. The dealer will dispense chips from the rack in stacks. They are usually coloured white for one unit (£1/€1/$1), red for five units, green for 25 units and black for 100 units. Any currency placed in the betting area will be treated as a wager, which the dealer acknowledges by shouting out, “Money plays!”

Players may keep their chips in rail racks, if provided, or simply stack them on the felt between the rail and the betting spot. If a chip touches the perimeter of the spot or is placed within the betting area, it is treated as a wager. When a chip is positioned on the front edge of the betting area toward the dealer, it is treated as a tip bet for the dealer. Any chips located entirely within the betting spot are wagers for the player, while chips positioned on the outer edge of the spot are considered to be “rider bets” wagered by another player or a spectator standing behind the player who controls the spot.

Hand signs are commonly used to indicate desired actions during play. These include scratching the table surface for a “hit” and waving over the cards to indicate “stand.” Any ambiguous gestures, such as knocking on the table or pointing with a single finger, could be misconstrued and should be avoided.

Touching chips that have been wagered after a hand has begun is not allowed. When increasing a bet by doubling down or splitting, the additional chips should be pushed toward the dealer, who will position them in the betting area. Additional chips should never be stacked on top of the original bet.

Many tables, particularly the ones offering single- or double-deck Blackjack, will not permit new players to enter the game between shuffles or “mid-round.” Newcomers must wait until the cards are shuffled again. However, at multideck tables using a shoe, it may be possible for new players to be seated and start playing at any time before a hand is dealt.

Published on: 08/04/2012

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