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Blackjack rookies take note – six basics to avoid heat at the tables


19 Jul 2018

When the words ‘casino’ and ‘heat’ are mentioned in the same sentence, it is typically in relation to a player winning more than they are expected to.

Should a player hit a productive winning streak, particularly if doing so once increasing their usual wager, then a casino is likely to pay far closer attention to their bets and actions.

Here are some of the clues a player should keep an eye out for if they believe they are generating heat at the blackjack tables.

Blackjack rookies are also capable of picking up heat at the tables. Although, this is usually from more frequent players, rather than the casino for too many big wins.

Avoiding making these six somewhat schoolboy errors would ensure that rookies avoid upsetting the more established blackjack players.

Knowing the minimum bet

There is almost always a placard on a blackjack table, detailing what the minimum bet is for players wishing to have a few hands.

Therefore, it is bound to be frustrating when a new player wishes to join the action, but slows down play for everyone else because they are trying to wager less than the minimum.

Casinos rarely have one blackjack table in operation and they will almost certainly not want to alienate the lower-wagering players by setting the table minimums too high.

So, if you are a £5 player, you should be able to find a table where you can get some action. Avoid frustrating others, by attempting to bet at a £25 table.

Knowing how to stack chips in the betting circle

Not only can a blackjack rookie aggravate by putting the wrong minimum bet in the circle, the game could also be delayed if the chips are not placed in the correct manner.

For example, all bets need to be placed in one tower and not multiple piles of chips. So, if a player should win a hand, the dealer would place the winning chips from their chip tray next to the original bet.

Should a player wish to bet all of these chips in the following hand, they cannot just be left as they are. They would need to be restacked into one pile.

Furthermore, if rookies are betting chips of different colours, it is the rule that the chips are stacked with the highest denomination at the bottom, in order to the lowest at the top.

Knowing how to change up cash to chips

Dealers are not permitted to take cash directly from a player, regardless of how a player attempts to hand over their money.

Instead, it is necessary for players to place their cash in front of the dealer on the betting layout. The cash can then be seen more clearly by any overhead cameras, before being put into a locked box.

Knowing where to put any belongings

Players are unlikely to simply turn up at a casino with only cash and their house keys in their pockets.

They may have a wallet, a mobile phone, a backpack or even a selfie stick. None of this should be kept on the table during play.

In fact, most casinos do not allow photos on the gaming floor, so selfie sticks should stay at home. Meanwhile, mobile phones should be switched off and so they have no reason to be out.

Aside from chips, drinks are the only items that can be stored on the table and these have designated holders to stand in.

Obviously, knocking a drink over is likely to generate heat, as this will cause a stoppage in play while it is cleared up.

Knowing where to sit

Rookies should realise that just because a seat is free, this does not mean it is vacant. Sometimes, players play multiple hands at once and take up more than one betting circle.

What’s more, should a player bring a friend with them to the casino, the friend should not sit on a spare seat simply to watch, as others may be keen to play.

To a rookie, it may also seem like all seats at a blackjack table are the same and ultimately it does not matter which one they sit at should there be a few vacancies.

But this is not the case. Seating position can be hugely important, especially third base (the seat directly to the dealer’s right). More about seating position can be read here.

Knowing when to stand or hit

Many recurrent players will have perfected optimum blackjack strategy, which is said to limit the house edge to only 0.5% in the casino’s favour.

Other regular players may look to count cards as a means of evening up the odds even further.

Key to this strategy is making the most of any situations when a positive count is in the player’s favour, which is normally when extra high cards are still loitering in the deck.

How annoying then for a card counter when the deck is running hot and they have increased their bet accordingly, only to see two rookies in the opening two seats hit on their hands of 15, when the dealer is showing a four?

The likeliness is that both rookies will bust, taking two high cards out of play that could have busted the dealer.

This is arguably as annoying as it gets for any serious blackjack player, who may have waited hours for an ideal opening, only to see it spoilt by a widely perceived rookie mistake.