Your Position at the Blackjack Table

Your Position at the Blackjack Table

The first position at the Blackjack table is called first base, and it is the seat immediately to the dealer's left. It is so called because the player sitting in that position will always get the first card out. The opposite side of the table, at the far end and dealer's right, is called third base; this is so called because the player sitting in this position will always get the last card dealt to players in the round of dealing, and the one just before the card that the dealer deals to himself. The third base position at the Blackjack table is very important because the player sitting in that position can be perceived to control, at some point, which cards the dealer will be receiving in events that the dealer must draw more cards. The third base player's judgments in how he plays his cards, therefore, appear to determine if the rest of the players at the table, including himself, will win or lose.

If you found a table where there are no players, you can sit at any seat you want. Don't be scared of sitting at a table where there are no players. A lot of players make this mistake and try to crowd into a Blackjack game already in action. A number of players may be good for other table games, such as Craps, but not necessarily for Blackjack. A head-to-head match with the dealer is the best situation you can hope for in this game. Novice players are often intimidated by the idea of sitting at a vacant Blackjack table. Don't be.

When you approach a new game, as an empty table is called, the first thing you will probably hear the dealer say is: "Shuffle." Dealers do this to inform the Pit Boss that a player has sat down at this game and that a new shuffle is about to begin. After the cards are shuffled, the dealer will ask you to cut the cards. For this you will be offered a colored piece of plastic. These "cut cards" are just plain pieces of plastic cut in the same shape as the rest of the cards so they fit in the deck. Usually they are red, but they can be yellow, or any other color. They are implemented only for three reasons, to have the deck cut, to indicate a shuffle point in a freshly cut deck and to place at the bottom of the deck so there is no possibility of dealing cards from the bottom. To have the deck "cut" means to put this red card somewhere between the deck, then the dealer moves the stack of cards on top of the cut card to the bottom of the deck.

Then the dealer "burns" the top card, puts the colored cut card somewhere approximately one-third of the deck from the bottom, places an extra colored cut card at the bottom of the deck, and begins the game. During the course of the game the dealer will eventually reach the cut card he placed in the deck. At this point the cards now dealt will be the last hand before the next shuffle. The point of "burning" the top card is to avoid "funny shuffles," or cheating, and to take that card out of play in case some players have caught a glimpse of it. Some casinos burn a number of cards, all dealt face down. Why? Because when casino Blackjack were still dealt first-card-to-last, card counters took advantage of knowing which cards were left, so this rule, and others like it, was introduced to combat this player advantage. But in the current way of dealing Blackjack this burn card, or cards, has little effect, especially to the casual player.

 

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