1.USE ONLY ONE HAND TO HOLD THE CARDS
The casinos want you to use only one hand when holding your two cards. The reason is simple: It’s a precaution against players switching cards, which is harder to do one-handed. For the very same reason, players are supposed to handle the dice one-handed in craps games.
2. DON’T REMOVE YOUR CARDS FROM VIEW OR OFF THE TABLE
Taking your cards out of the view of the dealer is a big no-no in blackjack. Casinos are always on the alert for cheaters. Keeping your cards in plain sight at all times is one of the ways they keep the game honest. It’s not that you’re doing anything underhanded, but the house wants to make sure no one else is.
3. DON’T TOUCH YOUR CHIPS ONCE THE CARDS HAVE BEEN DEALT
Once the cards have been dealt, you are not supposed to touch your bet. This is another way the casinos try to maintain the integrity of the game—or at least their bankroll. They are always on the alert for players that top off their bets after they have received big hands or after the outcome is determined, called past posting.
4. DON’T TOUCH YOUR CARDS WHEN THEY ARE DEALT FACE UP
In games that are dealt from a shoe (as opposed to handheld single-and double-deck games), your cards will be dealt face up. Of course, it is not a disadvantage if the dealer can see your cards, because he is bound by strict standing and hitting rules. When the cards are dealt face up, you are not allowed to handle them as you would in games where your cards are dealt face down. In face-up games, signal your playing intentions by hand signals, which takes us to the next point.
5. INDICATE ALL PLAYING DECISIONS USING HAND SIGNALS
Regardless of the type of game you’re playing, single or multiple deck, you should always indicate your playing intentions by physical actions. If you want to hit, point to the felt or scrape your cards. If you decide to stand, wave your hand crossways over your cards or bet, or push your cards under your chips. If you double or split, put more chips on the table to indicate an increased bet. In all these instances, your intentions will be clear. Verbal instructions can be misunderstood, which is why casinos insist on physical actions as the determination of your playing intention.
6.WHEN DOUBLING OR SPLITTING, DON’T STACK YOUR CHIPS ON TOP OF THE ORIGINAL PILE
The correct way to double your bet when you are doubling or splitting is to place your additional chips next to the original bet, not on top of it. The reason is simple: It is very easy for a player to increase his original bet by piling it on, obscuring the original bet and making a new, bigger bet to the casino’s disadvantage. Casinos, of course, don’t want to give players an unfair and illegal advantage. That is why they insist that you line up your chips next to the original stack.
7. BE SURE TO REMOVE WON CHIPS FROM YOUR BETTING AREA
After a winning hand, the dealer will place your winnings next to your original bet. If you become distracted—let’s say you’re ordering a drink, engaging in a conversation, or doing something else that distracts your attention —it is possible that the dealer will think you’re letting your bet ride for the next hand. If that is your intention, fine. But if it isn’t, you may inadvertently end up with a too-large bet and a too-large loss. Of course, you could get lucky and win. However, as a general rule, make sure to immediately service won bets so that you, and not fate, is in control of your betting amount. Note that betting more chips than you desired can more easily happen if the dealer colors your won bet, thus making only one pile in the betting area.
8. PAY ATTENTION TO THE AMOUNT YOU HAVE BET
Mistakes do happen. With the number of tasks the dealer is performing— shuffling, dealing, adding up totals, adding up won bet amounts, paying off splits, doubles and blackjacks—and the usual speed of doing these things, it is impossible for the dealer not to mess up here and there. It is up to you to protect your bets, making sure that when you win, you’re paid off and that you’re paid the right amount. If you think a mistake has been made, tell the dealer immediately while the chips are still in the betting area. Once the next hand is dealt, it is too late to rectify the problem.
9. COLOR UP WHEN YOU LEAVE THE TABLE
Dealers like to keep their small checks (chips) at the table so that they have enough chips to pay off other bettors. If you’ve accumulated many smaller chips and are ready to cash out, give the dealer an opportunity to “color them up,” that is, exchange the smaller chips for ones of higher denominations. This is also helpful to you because you will be able to manage, say five $100 chips more easily than one hundred $5 chips.
10. PUT YOUR BIG CHIPS ON BOTTOM
When you make bets comprised of multiple denominations, the dealer will request that your higher denomination chips go on bottom, and the lower ones on the top. Actually, he will do that for you and request that you do it yourself next time. The reason for this policy is to protect against players manipulating the big chips. It is much easier to add or remove a chip from the top of the stack than from the bottom, so casinos protect themselves by making sure the small chips are on top.