Blackjack table: what is it and how to use it?

The blackjack table is one of the basic elements in defining blackjack strategy. It serves to help reduce the dealer's initial advantage, putting the player in a better position at the beginning of the game.

Blackjack is a game that is always played against the dealer. Therefore, it is the casino that has the mathematical advantage. This is true even though we always play by the same blackjack rules.

Therefore, the priority of every player is always to minimize the initial disadvantage against the dealer. And the best way to achieve this is by using the blackjack table: in blackjack it is essential to read it in order to partially neutralize the mathematical advantage we are talking about.

What is the blackjack table?

Counteracting the dealer's advantage is the main objective of using a blackjack table, but it can also be an ally when facing a bad streak or even to squeeze the full potential of a good play.

Every basic blackjack strategy involves the use of the blackjack table. Thanks to it you can give shape to what is called the "basic strategy", the basic strategy with which to start playing and test the dealer to take over his game.

A blackjack table is a table that indicates which of the four or five actions and options -depending on the country in which the game is played the number varies-, can be chosen in a game to take the most advantageous position against the dealer's card:

The first action we must take into account:

  • Stay. With this move we stand with the cards we have and we keep their score.
  • Hit. We ask the dealer for a card to try to get closer to 21. We run the risk of going over and having to inhibit ourselves from the round.
  • Double down. We can double the value of the initial bet. It is only advisable to do this when it is very clear that we are going to win.
  • Split. This can be done when we have two equal cards (pairs), dividing the game in two independent combinations.
  • Withdraw. Not all blackjack modalities allow the action of withdrawing from the bet. In Spain, for example, withdrawal is not allowed, but in other parts of the world it is, especially in the Anglo-Saxon world (USA and UK). Therefore, it is worth bearing it in mind.

In other words, the blackjack table is a guide that shows the player what is the best decision to make in each blackjack hand. And make no mistake: it is a resource that is also used by advanced players, precisely because they know that, if they do not do so, the dealer will maintain that initial advantage throughout the game.

How to read the blackjack table

It can be a bit complicated to know how to read the blackjack tables, so let's take it one step at a time. The first thing you should know is that there are different types of blackjack tables: there are single-deck, double-deck, four-deck, six-deck and eight-deck blackjack tables.

European blackjack also has its own table. Keep in mind that there are as many tables as there are decks and styles of blackjack.

It is necessary to differentiate the two axes on which the table is divided in order to understand it. The vertical axis shows the player's hands, and the horizontal axis shows the dealer's face card. To know which is the best play in each situation you only have to establish the relationship between your cards and the dealer's face card.

Now, keep in mind that for each deck there are several types of tables. You can find basic strategy tables that show the player's hard cards, soft cards or pairs.

Also keep in mind that cards are dealt face down in single or double deck games. In face-to-face games, when you have to tell the dealer what action you want to take, you have to make sure that they are still covered. If you play with multiple decks, the cards are dealt from a dealer and the dealer is only informed of the decision when the cards are face up.

How to use the blackjack strategy table

If you want to know how to win at blackjack, it is important that you know how to read the tables properly and that you know the game and betting dynamics.

A blackjack game starts with two cards dealt to the player and one to the dealer, who represents the banker. Usually, the player will then know the value of his cards and one of the two cards the dealer has to play with.

The objective for both the dealer and the player is the same: to make 21 without going over. Whoever manages to add 21 or get closer to this value than the opponent, wins, as we told you in our post dedicated to the rules of blackjack.

The game is played with poker cards and has the particularity that the face cards are worth 10 and the ace can be worth 1 or 11, depending on what suits the player.

To know how to use the blackjack table we must pay attention to a series of initials and colors, a code used to memorize the actions and make them more visual.

  • P in green. It is the action of ASK CARD.
  • Dp in orange. It refers to the action of DOUBLE. If it is not allowed, then ORDER CARD.
  • Dp in dark orange. This action indicates DOUBLE. If it is not allowed, then we STAY.
  • Q in red. This is the option to STAY. That is, we stand.
  • Rp in colored violet. It indicates that we have to STAND DOWN. If it is not allowed, then we will have to ASK FOR CARD.
  • Rq in colored violet. Initials indicating that we have to STAND DOWN. If it is not allowed, then we choose to STAY.
  • S in blue. Action of SEPARATE, that is, to divide the combination by arranging pairs.
  • P/S in white. Action of SEPARATE only if folding is allowed afterwards, otherwise ORDER.


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