Blackjack 101: Dealers share their 5 best tips for walking away a winner
Whether you’re an experienced blackjack player or new to the game, heeding the dealer’s advice may make the difference between catching a winning streak or leaving in the red.
Dealers at Choctaw Casino & Resort–Durant in Durant, Oklahoma, are known to offer tips, wisdom they've gleaned from years of observing the players who sit down at their tables. Read on for their recommendations, including how to discern which blackjack table is the one you should approach and other strategies to increase your odds of hitting blackjack — or at least not busting on 21.
Scope out dealers who interact with the crowd
Every game has an optimal strategy. The longer someone has been dealing, the more familiar they are with how best to play the game. Scan the gaming floor for the veteran dealers. Keep your eyes peeled for the ones who chat up the players and smoothly deal cards at the same time. Veteran dealers are fast, dealing several more hands per hour than their counterparts, and they’re typically better at entertaining patrons. In sum: Go to the table that appears to be having a good time.
Consider the dealer’s advice
When it comes to blackjack, a strong dealer is savvy at advising a player on their options — surrender, double, hit, stand, or split — and how to wager. For example, what’s the best strategy when you get a soft 13-17? Generally, hitting or doubling down. When weighing your risk, the dealer may just tip you off on the best odds for your given situation. Feel free to ask for his or her advice.
Be discerning when choosing your seat
As one Choctaw Casino & Resort–Durant dealer attests, the last seat is the best seat. There’s a big advantage to acting last. From the “third base” position, you can influence the outcome of the dealer’s hand by making the correct call. Regardless of the available seats, always seek out the nearly full table so that the hands, and your money, hold out longer.
Be mindful of the rules
Familiarize yourself with the basic rules of blackjack. Certain hands lend unique options. For instance, you can only split when dealt a pair. You’re then dealt two more cards (one for each new hand), and your bet is doubled. One critical and little-known rule is that while the hand is in action, you can’t touch your wager or your cards. Check out Choctaw’s house rules.
Cash out when you're up
When you're winning, walk away. When you’ve doubled your money or winnings, color up (exchange your lower denomination chips for higher) with the dealer, and head to the bar to cash out. The games are designed to be fun and entertaining. If you can get ahead, it's wise — though not always as tempting — to take the money and run.
Ready to try out these tips and test your luck? Head over the Texas border to Choctaw Casino & Resort–Durant.