Land-based and the best US online casinos have 1 thing in common when it comes to blackjack games. They all offer blackjack games. Things diverge between the online and land-based worlds quickly.
The land-based casino watches out for cheating. Players may try to swap chips or cards. Or a team of players may set up shop.
Online casinos don’t have to worry about player swapping chips or cards. Online cheaters are more likely trying to game the bonus deposit systems.
There are so many differences between online blackjack and land-based games it’s hard to list them all. Many of the differences are small details. But they add up to create very different experiences.
When I’m playing blackjack online I can set up the table I want: private or group, reshuffle or play through a deck, live dealer or computer dealer, style of play, and so on.
When visiting land-based casinos you must take what the casino offers and hope for the best. If you walk into a casino and realize you made a bad choice the nearest alternative could be a 10 minute walk or a 30-minute drive away.
Here is how I size up the blackjack tables.
Begin with the Casino Website
The Internet makes research easy and simple. Browse the casino’s website for information about their blackjack tables. Many of these sites only say how many tables they have. Some tell you which blackjack rules they offer.
If you’re not satisfied with the information try contacting customer service. They’ll usually tell you what you need to know.
You should also look for pictures of the blackjack dealers. I’ll explain why below.
Follow up with Online Traveler Reviews
I don’t spend much time reading casino review articles but I do look for recent travel site threads about casinos I’m interested in. If I can find a discussion that’s less than a year old I assume the casino is most likely still offering whatever games the tourists mention.
This is not a perfect system. I like to read real customer reviews because they sometimes mention interesting deta8ls, like when the tables are most likely to be closed.
If you spend enough time in casinos you’ll know when the tables begin to open up but it’s always good to know what the house custom is before visiting.
I have passed on visiting a few otherwise interesting casinos because they didn’t man their blackjack tables at good times for me.
If someone has uploaded pictures of the casino staff I look through them. I also pay attention to what the customers say about staff.
How the Dealers Dress is Important to Me
You’re in a casino. It’s all about being entertained. The dealers are part of the package.
I’ve visited a couple of Vegas casinos where the dealers were women wearing somewhat revealing clothing. It was distracting. I am sure that was what the casino had in mind.
Casinos aren’t the only companies doing business in fantasy. But if I want to stare at women in tight, revealing clothes there are other places I can go.
Blackjack Is supposed to be one of the least profitable games a casino offers. And yet many casinos make a tidy profit from blackjack. You can see for yourself if the casino must report its earnings to a state gaming commission.
Everything in the casino is distracting enough. They keep the alcohol flowing, the slot games bing and ding even when not being played, and the ambience is relaxing and soothing.
The last thing I want is to start fantasizing about the dealer. So I favor the professionally dressed dealers.
Always Check the Table Rules
You should prefer 2:1 and 3:2 blackjack to 6:5 blackjack but even if you don’t have a choice about that you need to look at the other table rules.
Does the dealer stand on soft 17 or not?
What are the table minimums and maximums?
How many decks does the table use?
How are the cards shuffled?
If you like the surrender option look for it.
How many players does the table accommodate?
Can you split aces, double down any way you want, etc.?
If a casino has 2 or more open blackjack tables are they using the same rules or do you have some choices?
Study the Players before Sitting Down
If you get a bad vibe about the players at the table then why sit down with them?
I’ll look to see how many alcoholic drinks they are enjoying. If it looks like a hard-drinking group I’ll pass on playing with them. If you like playing cards with people who are enjoying the booze then choose the table with the most drinkers.
You can’t stop people from leaving a table or joining it but “birds of a feather” tend to play together in my opinion. If all but one guy at the table seems annoyed or irritated, he might be why the others are not happy.
If you feel self-conscious about betting less than other players then look at their bets. This is not a sticking point for me. I don’t mind being the only bettor playing the table minimum.
Do You Want More Decks or Fewer?
You’ll read online that casinos do and do not care about card counting. The truth is that they take it seriously enough they have changed the games to make card counting less effective.
The fewer decks a table uses in its games, the better – unless they are automatically reshuffling the cards. If the dealers reshuffle manually on a frequent basis that also hurts card counting.
If you really want to count cards you’ll either need to look high and low for a table with few decks that doesn’t reshuffle or you’ll need to count for large decks.
The longer you play and the more attention you pay to things like variance the fewer decks you’ll want to see on the table. But the casinos decide how to set up the games.
High rollers can sometimes negotiate their own terms or may be offered slightly more advantageous games. The casinos are competing for the most money in the game, not for the largest number of customers.
Does Table Location Really Matter?
Some people say you should avoid tables located close to the casino entrance. This is a psychological strategy. If you prefer gaming with a stable crowd then the hard-to-find tables may be your choices.
But I’ve watched people come and go at tables in every part of the casino. Either they sit and win or they lose and leave. Once in a while someone with a pile of chips sits there and runs it all down.
What is important is your state of mind.
Are you annoyed by constant coming and going?
If the commotion of people sitting down and leaving upsets your game then maybe you should look for a video blackjack machine. You don’t have to share it with anyone.
If mere distractions bother you then why are you in a casino?
The casino may be designed to lull you into gambling away your money but it’s also there to attract people. Sound and movement surround you. The blackjack tables are not good places for solitude and quiet reflection.
When it comes to land-based table games buyers have few choices, but you should be as much of a chooser as possible.
Real money online blackjack doesn’t offer the same ambience as sitting in a casino but you’ll find many more options to consider.
Picking a blackjack table shouldn’t be complicated but it’s worth spending a little time walking around the casino, getting the feel of the place. If they have several tables open take the time to study their rules.
Half the game is psychological. Unlike in poker where you try to psych out other players in blackjack the psychology is all about where you are comfortable and confident.
If you don’t feel confident sitting at a table for any reason then get up and find something else to do. Second-guessing yourself won’t help and you won’t enjoy the game.
The most important thing to look for in a table game is a good time. If you’re not having fun then go wherever you can find your good time. The tables will always be there.