Blackjack Hand Signals – How And When To Use Them


Posted: February 1, 2024

Updated: February 1, 2024

Understanding blackjack hand signals is crucial in a casino setting to ensure clear communication between players and the dealer, preventing misunderstandings or disputes about the intended actions during the game. Additionally, these signals helps maintain the game's integrity, fostering a smooth and efficient gaming experience for everyone at the table.

Blackjack stands out as one of the most sought-after and popular casino games. While most types of blackjack stick to fundamental principles, the experience of playing online versus in a physical casino can differ significantly. Unlike the controlled setting of an online casino like say, King Billy Casino, the ambiance in a land-based casino can become bustling and loud, posing challenges for dealers to discern player instructions. Consequently, many casinos mandate the use of specific blackjack hand signals to convey players’ moves.

If you’re new to the realm of blackjack in brick-and-mortar casinos, it’s highly advisable to familiarize yourself with these gestures before your next gaming session. This guide delves into the intricacies of hand signals in face-up and face-down blackjack, offering clarity on common confusions regarding blackjack etiquette.

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What Do Hand Signals Entail?

Blackjack hand signals are generally straightforward, but there are slight variations depending on the specific variant being played. The standard blackjack hand signals differ based on whether you’re engaged in face-up or face-down blackjack at the casino.

The Meaning Of Blackjack Hand Signals In Face-up Games

In face-up blackjack, also known as double exposure blackjack, the blackjack hand signals may exhibit some variability. This variant is characterised by both of the dealer’s cards being face-up, a departure from other casino blackjack games where one of the dealer’s initial two cards remains face-down.

Hand Signals Used During The Game

  • Hit – Request another card by lightly tapping the table or pointing to your cards with your index finger when you choose to “Hit.”
  • Stand – Indicate your desire to keep your existing cards by waving your hand over them with your palm facing down for a “Stand.”
  • Additional Card – Opt to double your bet and receive an additional card by grabbing an equivalent amount of chips as your initial bet and placing them adjacent to the existing stack. 
  • Double Down – Subsequently, tap the table using a single finger for a “Double down.”
  • Split – Choose to split your pair of cards into two hands and double your bet by positioning a matching stack of chips beside your initial wager. Simultaneously, place two fingers on the table without making contact with the cards for a “Split.”
blackjack hand signals
Picture Source: Wikimedia Commons 

It’s essential to note that touching the cards is generally discouraged, as is handling the chips unless you intend to collect your winnings post the round.

Face-Down Blackjack Hand Signals

In face-down blackjack, where the dealer deals the cards face-down, and players pick them up, signalling actions requires distinct gestures:

  • Hit – Express the desire for another card by scraping your cards on the table, pulling them towards yourself.
  • Stand – Signal your intention to stand by placing your cards beneath the chips without any movement or contact.
  • Double Down/Split – For a “Double down” or “Split,” introduce an additional pile of chips next to your original bet. Raise one finger for a double down and two fingers for a split.

Why Should You Use Blackjack Hand Signals?

The necessity for hand signals in live blackjack might perplex certain players, particularly those accustomed to the online blackjack that’s commonly found at the best online casino sites in the US. Nonetheless, these gestures serve crucial purposes:

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Preventing Confusion

In real casino settings, blackjack tables often become crowded, and the ambient noise can create challenges for dealers to comprehend players’ intentions. Recognizable and universally understood blackjack hand signals help circumvent confusion, minimising the likelihood of errors.

Enhancing Gameplay Efficiency 

Blackjack is inherently fast-paced, and unnecessary delays can impede the flow of the game if players rely on verbal communication for their actions. Utilising hand signals is a quicker alternative, expediting gameplay and ensuring a smoother experience.

Streamlining Dispute Resolution 

Disputes regarding a player’s actions may arise during a game round. Blackjack hand signals offer a visual record that can be captured by security footage, providing a clear account of the transpired events compared to relying solely on verbal communication.

Rules and Etiquette For Live Blackjack Games

Having established the importance of employing hand signals in live blackjack, let’s look into additional guidelines and etiquettes you should stick to:

Place Money on the Table 

It’s a common error for players to hand their money directly to the dealer when purchasing chips. However, this practice is discouraged as security cameras need to record the precise amount invested.

blackjack hand signals
Picture Source: Flickr

Instead, you should place your money on the table for the dealer to spread, count, and then exchange for the corresponding number of chips.

Organise Your Chips By Denomination

When placing your bet in the designated area, arrange the chips with the highest denomination at the bottom and the lower-denomination ones on top. This organisation aids the dealer in clearly seeing your bet and expedites the payout process.

Handle The Cards Carefully

In face-up blackjack, refraining from touching your cards is crucial. In face-down variants, use only one hand to pick up the cards. This rule is in place to prevent card tampering, ensuring visibility for security cameras. Once you’ve placed your bet, avoid touching your casino chips until the game round concludes.

Respect Other Players

You should always maintain appropriate behaviour at the table by refraining from disruptive actions like yelling or swearing. Additionally, please avoid offering your unsolicited opinions on fellow players’ choices.

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Always Tip The Dealer

According to online casino news in the US, tipping the dealer is customary in land-based casinos, as a significant portion of a dealer’s earnings comes from tips. While tipping might not be the first thought during a losing streak, it’s much appreciated when fortune favours you.

What Happens If You Forget To Use Blackjack Hand Signals?

Even with a thorough understanding of blackjack hand signals, engaging in a live game for the first time may cause you to have feelings of confusion and apprehension. The pace of the game and the apparent confidence of other players can contribute to your fear of making errors. However, there’s no need for concern—no one will admonish or eject you from the table if you neglect to use a hand signal. Instead, the dealer will likely offer a gentle reminder about the correct procedures. Nevertheless, it’s advisable that you come prepared by familiarising yourself with all the blackjack hand signals and, if possible, practising beforehand.

Do Live Dealer Online Blackjack Games Use Hand Signals?

Participating in live dealer blackjack within a legitimate online casino like King Billy Casino for real money differs from playing in a physical venue. Virtual controls act as intermediaries between the player and the dealer, eliminating the necessity for physical blackjack hand signals. However, the dealer may still employ hand signals for “open bets” and “close bets,” more as a customary practice and aesthetic embellishment rather than a functional requirement. This is because all pertinent game information is conveniently displayed on your screen.

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