Going to casinos is all well and good, but there’s nothing like having your friends round for a night of cards and betting. Even better – learn the rules of blackjack and have your mates playing against the house! You’ll also need to learn a few other things, like how to deal blackjack properly, and it’s worth remembering that playing with your friends should be fun. Keep reading if you want to find out the best way to plan for a great night of blackjack at your own at-home casino.
Learn the rules
It’s important for the enjoyment of everyone, and to avoid confusion, that you are up to speed with the rules of blackjack. There are several variations on this classic game, and there is plenty of online info to help you become au fait with the rules and regulations.
American blackjack and European blackjack are the two most common forms of the game, and are pretty similar. We’ll look at those variations shortly. Another important thing to remember is that your friends need to know the rules too. This will ensure your night runs smoothly, with minimal explaining along the way. It may be you just need a couple of practice hands, or point them in the direction of online guides.
Learn to deal
As well as the rules, learning to deal is an important aspect of the game. You will need to control house rules (make sure these are clear) and the house edge – you can offer a game with about a 1% house edge and your players will be perfectly happy most of the time. Swot up on shuffling, cutting and discarding the “burn card” as well as controlling when players are allowed to place bets.
If a player forgets to wager at the right time they will have to sit out or play the hand for no stake. And of course, you’ll have to deal more cards (or not) depending on whether your friends choose to stick, twist, double, or split. Even in friendly games, it’s important for the dealer to appear to know what they’re doing.
In American blackjack, the dealer gets their hole card (the one that remains face down) before the players have made any decision about how they want to play their hand. In European blackjack, this isn’t the case.
There are other subtle variations in the way the game is played. If you’re in need of a little practice, sites like SkyCity Online Casino offer several variations of online blackjack, be it live or non-live variants of the game where you can get your eye in and pick up some useful tips. You’ll find classic versions like European and Multihand blackjack, along with more extravagant titles like Dr. Fortuno Blackjack and Deal or No Deal Blackjack.
For a great night of blackjack, it’s important to set the tone. A single light source concentrated on the table gives a classic casino feel and helps with concentration. If you want to make a little investment you can find great old-school baize covered card tables online, or temporary felt that can sit on your regular table. Playing with pasta doesn’t look good – see if one of your friends has some real casino-style chips to bet with. Keep the table free of everything except cards and chips – clutter ruins the mood. And don’t forget to line up a classic rat-pack style tune playlist to give your room that iconic casino edge.
Food and drinks
If you’re planning a long session at the card table you’ll need to keep your friends fed and watered. Food needs to be easy to eat and not too messy – you don’t want spillage on that snazzy card table. Crisps and other snacks are best, or small sandwiches – no one wants to play hungry but on the other side, a full stomach isn’t great at the table. Mixing up some martinis might be good for setting the atmosphere, but drunkenness and gambling don’t mix well. Beer is probably a better idea than strong cocktails, and be sure to offer tea, coffee, and water to keep everyone hydrated and awake.
Playing blackjack at home with friends is great fun, but follow these tips to get it just right. One last thought – keep it friendly, you don’t want anyone going home with no shirt on their back (or without the keys to their Aston Martin).