It is important to remember that where you are sitting at a blackjack table can have an impact on your performance. Whilst where you sit does not necessarily provide an advantage on a mathematical basis, some seats can have a considerable effect on your game play.
But how do you know where to sit? We tell you everything you need to know about the best positions for blackjack playing. There will be some strategy tips, but we assume you know how to play Blackjack to an intermediate level.
Table positions in blackjack
Before explaining the best positions in a blackjack table, it is best to clarify exactly what each position is called in blackjack terminology.
In most brick and mortar casinos, blackjack tables can feature up to seven players, but these seats may not always be taken, and you will find only three positions tend to be discussed prominently. These are
Blackjack first base: this refers to the first seat on the first right that face the blackjack dealer. As cards are dealt by the dealer to the first base player first, from the dealer’s left player then to right player, and this means they will not only get the cards first, but also be in a position to then be the first to hit, double down, surrender or split.
Blackjack third base: do not necessarily assume that third base position automatically means the middle seat. In fact, it refers to the last seat from the right, or alternatively the first seat on the left. Blackjack third base can also be sometimes called the anchor.
Shortstop position: this refers to the seat located in the middle of the table, and may inhibit other players to the left of the shortstop seat joining the table altogether.
The best position at a blackjack table
One thing to keep in mind when considering the best seat at a blackjack table, is that statistically speaking, unless you are the one to count cards, where you sit will not matter. A lot of things also depend on whether you are new to blackjack or not too.
Some people have different theories – such as going first will give you more of an advantage since you have first dibs on cards and if there are aces or picture cards going, you will statistically more likely to receive them.
Some people prefer to go last (third base), so they have seen more cards on the table and can calculate the statistics of a desired card coming up. However, being last means that you could dictate whether to hit or stick and this could impact positively or negatively on everyone else on the table – hence it comes with responsibilities.
When playing blackjack online, the seating and probabilities are random, so this is very much related to playing blackjack at a casino.
Is the third base seat best in blackjack?
A number of people suggest the third base seat is best. This is because many believe this position has the benefit of knowing whether or not the entire table will win or lose, as the third base player will perform their action prior to the dealer.
However, you should think about choosing the third base seat carefully if you are new to playing blackjack. This is because you may not necessarily know how to play basic strategy at this point. Many players who are new to blackjack and sit in a third base position could get criticism from other more experienced players, who believe that this position is only for those with considerable experience of blackjack, with amateurs potentially messing up the game.
If you want to improve your blackjack skills, check out our article on how to win at blackjack.
Is it best to be the first base position in blackjack?
Others believe that the first base position can be advantageous. Why? This is because if you are sitting in this seat, you get to see the entire view of the table, as well as the discard pile. That means you have the possibility of keeping an eye on not only the cards that are being drawn, but also to be able to see which cards are not.
However, this position does come with risk – if you lose by hitting instead of sticking, you are prone to getting criticism from other sitting players.
What about the advantages of sitting in the shortstop position?
It should also be said that you can also gain advantage from sitting in the shortstop position as you can also get a good view of the table. However, you will find that it is not as good as a seat compared to first or third base.
Nevertheless, it does have benefits. For example, it stops players from sitting in third base if the seat is available. That can mean less players overall for you if you are in the shortstop position, and the likelihood of more players joining the game is reduced, meaning more chances for you to put in an extra bet.
Things to remember about blackjack seating positions
Ultimately, there is no seat that is going to give you a greater mathematical chance of winning blackjack. A lot of it comes down to the level of skill you have acquired, and your confidence in the game itself.