A Player's Guide to the Blackjack Table

As a carpenter needs to know his tools so any potential blackjack player needs to know the blackjack table before he can make his fortune.

Blackjack Table

The blackjack table has been a staple in the casino room for centuries, and today experiences a popularity that is second to none. Before you go jumping in with chips a flying, take a minute or two to just make sure that you know what you're looking at and aware of the full workings of the blackjack table.

The blackjack table is in the shape of a half-oval, with the curved side facing out and seating positioned around it. The number of chairs around the blackjack table will correspond to the number of player's spots around this curve section of the table; this is what determines the number of players that can sit at that table and ranges from casino to casino but is always no less than 5 and no more than 7. The straight part of the blackjack table is the dealer's domain. Whilst the players will be seated, or at least have the option to be seated, throughout the game on high stools, the dealer will be standing at all times and will not leave his side of the table. This is known as the pit, and only casino staff will enter here.

Positioned immediately in front of the dealer you will see a chip rack which will contain different denominations of casino chips and to the side of it you will see the money slot into which cash is deposited by the dealer, when a player is buying chips.

You may also see a rectangular box for playing cards; this is known as the shoe. If you are playing at a single deck table there will not be a shoe. The only other thing that will actually be placed on top of the table will be a small sign that will tell you what the minimum bets for the table are.

The markings on the table are the only thing left to explain. Closest to the players are boxes printed onto the felt – there is one for each player and this is where that player will place his chips when he wants to bet. Chips not for betting will be kept directly in front of him. Above this towards the dealer you will see printed following the curve of the table a number of the rules of the game. Most commonly printed here will be "Dealer Must Draw to 16, and Stand on All 17s", but it could also be "Insurance Pays 2-1" or "Blackjack Pays 3-2". These are rules that all must be aware of when sitting at the table; hence they're incorporated into the table.

With the exception of possibly a drinks niche or depending on where you are, an ashtray, there are no other features to be found on a blackjack table. If there are differences, they will simply be variations on a theme; a different number of player spaces, or different rules printed. Ultimately, however, you have read all you need to know about the layout of the blackjack table; so now the world is your oyster – go enjoy!