There are many rule variations and completely different blackjack games that change the dynamic and even your odds of winning. This is especially true with online blackjack games for money. Make sure to learn the odds of different blackjack games before playing.

Getting in the game
Once you’ve learned some basic blackjack strategy, including the necessary hand signals, you’ll want to try your skill at a casino’s blackjack tables. Here’s where it behooves you, as a newcomer, to pay close attention to details.

Choosing a Table. Look carefully at how the casino designates the betting limits on its tables. Both the minimum and maximum bets should be posted at the table. Some casinos color-code their betting limits, such as Red for $5, Green for $25, and Black for $100 for minimum tables. Note that it can be hard to start at the bottom level of blackjack play because lower-limit tables (say $3 to $5) often are quite crowded. If your bankroll can stand it, you’d do better to play a mid-level table. You might not play as many hands if you’re losing, but at least you’ll get the chance to play.

Next, be sure that the actual game being played at the table is blackjack and not some variation. Genuine blackjack tables should have the phrase “Blackjack pays 3 to 2? printed on the table’s felt covering. AVOID playing tables where the payout for blackjack is 6:5. This is a sucker’s table because the payout probabilities consistently favor the house.

Take time to observe the play at a table you’re thinking of joining. For starters, take a good look at the dealer. Does he or she seem friendly and helpful to the players? If so, that’s probably a good table to try. Avoid grumpy or hard-looking dealers; they’re no help to newbies.

Beginners typically will fare better at multi-deck games where 6 to 8 decks are dealt from a “shoe.” The advantage here is that the player’s cards are dealt face-up, and the dealer can answer questions are playing choices. There will be time to move up to games with fewer decks after you’re more proficient. That’s because games with fewer decks have a lower casino advantage (also known as the “house edge”) so dealers aren’t as helpful to newbies. Face-up games also give newcomers more chances to observe how other players play out their hands.

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