How to Set up and Run a Private Blackjack Game

Closeup of a Dealt Blackjack Table

Who makes the most money in blackjack games found in casinos? It doesn’t take much research to find the answer to the question is the casino.

Casinos offer blackjack games because the games offer consistent profits. While a few blackjack players win sometimes, overall, the casino is pumping out a consistent profit.

If you want to make money from gambling, you have to consider doing the things the casinos are doing. And one way to do this is to set up and run your own blackjack game. Here’s everything you need to know about setting up and running your own blackjack game.

What You Need

The only things you really need to run a blackjack game are cards, at least one person willing to play, and enough money to bank the game. But there are a few more things that you probably want to have.

I recommend using professional-grade playing cards because they last longer and make for a better playing experience. Quality playing cards are also harder to mark and are less likely to have imperfections on their edge. Sharp bettors can pick up imperfections, and there might be a danger of edge sorting on cards that are printed poorly.

You can use a single deck of cards, but it’s better if you have six or eight decks. With this many decks, an automatic shuffling machine and a shoe to hold the cards are also good ideas. If you have at least 12 decks of cards, you can have one set of cards shuffling while dealing the other cards.

I have an entire section in this post covering the bankroll you need, so I’m not going to cover it here.

You can let players use cash, but I prefer using chips. You can pick up a set of chips for a reasonable amount of money, but it’s best if you get a custom set of chips. With a custom set of chips, you don’t have to worry about your players trying to sneak outside chips into the game.

You can ask people you know to spread the word that you’re offering a blackjack game to find players. If you keep the stakes low, you can invite friends and family, but if you’re trying to make money, you might want to be careful trying to take advantage of your friends.

The Rules You’re Using

You can use any common set of blackjack rules that you want to use. But keep in mind that the combination of rules directly influences how much money you make. Here are common rules that you need to set.

How much are you going to pay for a blackjack? The common pay for blackjack used to be 3 to 2, but many games only pay 6 to 5 now. So if you can get players while only paying 6 to 5, you’re going to make more money.

Players can usually double down on any two cards, but you have to decide if players can double down after they split a pair. You make more money if you don’t allow players to double down after splitting a pair.

Two People Playing Blackjack Table in Casino

You have to decide how many times players can split pairs. Common split rules are three or four hands.

You should offer insurance when you have an ace because every time a player takes insurance, you make more money. However, I don’t recommend offering any other side bets because it can get complicated to keep track of everything.

The dealer rules are simple. First, you decide if the dealer stands or hits on a soft 17. Other than this rule, the dealer always hits on 16 or less and always stands on 17 or higher.

Table Bet Limits

You can set the table limits at any amounts you want, but you should base it on your total available bankroll. Of course, you also want to have the lowest and highest limits within a certain range.

You could have table limits from $10 to $200 a hand, but I wouldn’t go with a bigger spread than that. If you want to use a higher upper limit, raise the lower limit as well. You could have limits from $50 to $500.


The basic rule for your bankroll is the more money you have, the better. If the game is run fairly, the only way you’re going to lose is if you run out of money. So the rules are in your favor, and you’re going to make a percentage of all of the money bet in your game.

A good starting number is to have a bankroll at least 100 times the largest bet you offer. So if the top bet is $200, you should have at least $20,000 in your bankroll. If the top bet is $500, a bankroll of $50,000 should be enough to start.

If you’re using chips, you can keep all of your cash locked away safely until it’s time to pay out for the remaining chips at the end of the game.


You can deal the cards face down or face up to the players. I prefer dealing the cards facing up, so the players don’t have to touch the cards. Make sure you remember to deal your first card face down and your second card facing up.

If you have an ace face up, offer insurance to all of the players competing in the hand. Insurance costs half of the player’s first bet and pays 2 to 1 when you have a blackjack.

Start with the player to your left and have each player play their hand around the table. Once all of the players have played their hands, flip your card over and complete your hand.

Do You Have to Worry about Counters?

Card counters are about the only thing you have to worry about when you’re running a blackjack game. Smart card counters can make money, so you need to try to make sure there aren’t any counters in your game.

The best way to combat card counters is to set up your rules in a way that card counters don’t like. The simplest way to do this is only to pay 6 to 5 for a blackjack and shuffle the cards when you get 50% through the shoe. You also shouldn’t let anyone enter the game before a new shoe is ready to be put into play.

Dealt Blackjack Table

The other way to make your game bad for card counters is to keep the stakes low. For example, if you run a game with bet limits from $1 to $20, it’s not worth a card counter’s time to play. But, of course, you’re not going to make much money at low limits.

Other Dangers

The other main danger you have to be concerned about is big. In some areas, you might get arrested if you get caught running a blackjack game for profit. While you can probably get away with running a game at low stakes, the higher your stakes, the higher your risk.

If you’re just running a game for fun, you can let players take turns dealing and banking the game. Doing this will probably keep you out of trouble with the law, but it’s also going to spread the opportunity to make money around.

I never recommend doing anything illegal, so you should consult an attorney before you start a private blackjack game. Only after learning about the legalities can you make an informed decision.

The other issue you need to keep in mind is if you have a lot of cash in hand, you might be the target of thieves. If people know you’re running a blackjack game, they might have the idea of robbing you.

Do you have security precautions in place, and are you willing to take the risk of being robbed? And remember that some robberies end up being homicides, so it might not be worth it to take a chance.

In Conclusion

If you’re tired of losing money to the casino when you play blackjack, it might be time to take your chances acting like the casino. Of course, you’re still going to face a few dangers, but never forget that the casino makes money, and most gamblers don’t make money.

Setting up and running a private blackjack game is easy, and you don’t need much equipment. The main thing you need is a large bankroll. Everything else can be picked up for a few dollars.

Once you have the equipment you need and a bankroll, the man things you need are a set of house rules and people to play in your game. If you run your game the right way, you’re going to make a consistent profit.

Posted in: Gambling LawsTable Games

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