Blackjack – the Player’s Choices

Once the bets are on the table there are several options open to the intrepid Blackjack participant and one of the first decisions to be made is to ‘hit’ or ‘stand’.

To ‘Hit’ or to ‘Stand’

Simply put, you will either opt to accept another card, or will choose to remain with the two original cards in hand. The method of calling varies according to the type of game you are playing:

  • In the face-up shoe game a finger tap on the table behind the cards will suffice for a ‘hit’, whereas a horizontal wave across the cards with your hand will indicate a ‘stand’. This method is required to eliminate any confusion, and more importantly, for the benefit of the surveillance cameras which target and tape every single move at every single table in the casino. Should you be unlucky enough to ‘bust – get over 21 – then the dealer will simply collect your bet and remove the cards
  • In the ‘pitch’ or face-down version of the Blackjack, where you hold the initial two cards in the hand, a scrape of the cards across the table will engender a ‘hit’, whereas if you want to ‘stand’ simply tuck the cards in the hand face down under the chips on the table.

Double Down

A very profitable player option is to ‘double down’, and as the name suggests you may double your bet. This call must be made on the original two-card hand before any other card has been drawn, and the penalty for doubling down is that the player is only allowed to receive one additional card from the dealer. In the ‘pitch’ version of the game, merely toss the cards face up directly in front of your primary bet, and place the additional chips adjacent to the first bet, not on top of it. The dealer will present another card which he will tuck under your bet, face down, to be revealed later. Players may double down for any amount up to the primary bet amount.

Split Pairs

Should you be dealt two cards of the same denomination, these may be split into two separate hands to be played individually. In the pitch game you will simply put your cards face up on the table and place a matching bet alongside that of the original bet. The dealer will separate the cards and treat them as individual hands. Many casinos will allow you to double after the split once you have received the second card or cards. Should the second card also be a pair then you may be allowed to re-split – the general rule is that a player may split up to three times, in effect making 4 separate hands, demanding 4 separate bets.

There are other, more complicated choices available to the player and these include ‘surrender’ and ‘insurance & even money’ bets.