Blackjack Bets and Payoffs
As we all know, bets are usually made with casino chips, though cash may be used. However, all payoffs on winning bets are made with casino chips. If cash bet is made and lost, the money is removed from the table and dropped through a slot called a drop box.
All games are not alike in casinos, as far as betting limits are concerned. There are tables set aside for certain minimum bets.
The smallest minimum bet allowed in certain casinos is $1. Some casinos will not permit $1 bets and require a minimum of $2. Other casinos, such as those on the Las Vegas Strip, may have only $5 tables as their minimum tables.
In addition to these tables, there may be $25 or $100 minimum tables set aside for bigger bettors. This doesn't necessarily mean better players, just bigger bettors. Generally speaking, the smaller table minimums attract beginners, and players don't like to associate with beginners who make mistakes and slow down the game.
There are even some tables reserved for an individual player who may want to play one, or all, of the spots at that table with at least a thousand dollars a spot.
When you go to a casino table, make sure that the table minimum is comfortable for you. If you have $200 to play with, you don't want to be at a $25 or $100 table, where a few quick losses will deprive you of your entire bankroll. On the other hand, with $200, a $5 table is preferable to a $2 table, for the players will be a bit more sophisticated, and the game will move along faster.
There are standard chips used by most casinos. They range from $1 to $500 chips. Generally speaking, the smallest are $1 and $5, known as silver and nickels, or redbirds. $25 chips are known as quarters or greenies. $100 chips are known as dollars. Note that each denomination is downgraded as to value, with a $5 chips known as a nickel and $25 chips known as a quarter. The casino does this to disparage the amount a player bets.
When you're in a casino, there will usually always be bigger players than yourself. There'll be players betting thousands of dollars on each hand. Don't be intimidated by them. You play your game, and play it at a comfortable level. It's better to be a $500 winner than a $100,000 loser.
When you're at a particular minimum table, there generally will be a maximum limit bet stated on a small placard on the blackjack table. There is usually a lot of room between a minimum and maximum bet. A placard might read: $5-$1,000.
That gives you plenty of leeway. At a $25 table, you might see $25-$3,000. Sometimes, when you're at a table, the minimum limits will be changed. There was a story told about a fellow playing at a casino in downtown Las Vegas, at a $25 minimum table, head-to-head with the dealer, that is, alone against the dealer, when a woman who knew the dealer smiled and sat down to play.
She was an extremely wealthy woman, and immediately the placard was changed to $500 minimum. He was allowed to play, since he had been sitting there, and could continue to play at the lower minimum. It didn't hurt that she liked the company and insisted that he stay to bring her good luck.
She was an interesting case. She played only with cash, which she took out of a paper bag by the handful, and laid out on several spots on the table. If the dealer got a blackjack, she tore up her cards and new cards had to be put in the game. But no matter how crazy she acted, it was true that he seemed to be lucky for her and her for him. He ended up not minding the delays while new cards were put into the game, after she tore hers up.
Sometimes you'll be at a $5 table and someone will sit down and start betting with $100 chips. That happens. It is suggested that you always play where you're not conspicuous with the betting limits you play. It's better to be playing $75 a hand when everyone else is betting $200 than vice-versa. They'll (that is, the floorman and pit boss) be paying attention to the bigger gamblers at the table. If you bet $100 at a $5 table, all eyes will be on you. That's called heat, or drawing the heat, something you don't need as a skillful player.