Low limit blackjack is defined by different players as varying amounts. One player might consider $5 low limit while a high roller might consider $100 a low wager.
Though I admit it’s arbitrary, let’s assume for the sake of this article low limit is anything $25 per hand and lower.
In live casino play you may be able to find a few $5 tables, but some casinos are moving to higher minimum wagers. If you play online you can find minimum bets of $1 or $2 most places.
Low limit players have a few challenges, have to fight poor rules, and have different considerations between online and live play. I’ve put together a guide covering blackjack for low rollers below.
The two biggest challenges low level blackjack players face are finding tables offering low enough stakes and finding tables offering rules that aren’t too bad. I cover table rules in the next section so let’s consider finding low limit tables.
When you play online you can find the lowest limit blackjack tables in the world. But if you need to play for less than a dollar or two per hand you might as well play one of the free games.
But what if you want to play for $5 a hand in your local casino but they have $10 minimum wagers?
Your only choices are finding somewhere else to play, playing online, or getting the local casino to let you play for less than the table minimum.
The first thing to do is ask if they might lower the table minimum. If they aren’t busy I’ve seen this work a few times. If they hesitate, offer to play two hands at $5 each instead of just one.
I know you want to play blackjack, but consider learning how to play Jacks or Better video poker as a backup. If your casino has 9 / 6 machines you can play with a house edge similar to blackjack and only wager $1.25 per hand on a quarter machine.
The thing that always irritates me if I just want to enjoy a few low limit hands to relax is how bad the table rules tend to be. For some reason many casinos set up their lowest limit blackjack tables with the worst house rules.
I assume the casinos think the low rollers won’t understand or care how bad the rules are or feel they can just take advantage of small players.
Some of the rules you might find at the low limit tables that aren’t favorable to the player include:
By far the worst rule is when blackjacks only pay 6 to 5 instead of 3 to 2. If the only tables you can find that fit your bankroll pay 6 to 5 you need to find another game to play.
If all other rules are the same and you can play at $5 a hand at a 6 to 5 table and have to play for $15 at a 3 to 2 table your expected loss per hour is roughly the same.
The best thing you can do when considering playing low limit blackjack live is walk around the casino and look at all the blackjack tables. See what the table limits and rules are everywhere before you start playing.
In some large casinos the worst tables are in the main traffic areas with better tables located off the beaten path.
Don’t be afraid to ask a casino employee if they have tables located elsewhere.
When you start looking for online blackjack to play for lower limits you need to consider a few different things than playing at a local casino.
Research the available casinos to see which ones offer the best rules and where your money and play is safest. Most online casinos offer blackjack games with good rules, but you still need to shop around a little.
Read reviews on sites you trust and conduct research on making deposits and withdrawals before starting to play online for real money.
You should join the player’s club, either online or where you play locally, before playing another hand. It doesn’t matter if you play for small stakes or not, the player’s club gives away free stuff that you need to get.
You’re playing at the casino and the casino is willing to give you special bonuses, free meals, and who knows what else, so why wouldn’t you try to get some extra benefits?
In the spirit of full disclosure I wanted to let you know one more thing. This is far outside the scope of this page, but there may be one situation where you want to avoid signing up for the player’s club.
If you’re a successful card counter you may want to not sign up. If you don’t understand why, then you don’t need to worry about it and go ahead and sign up. I’m not being mean. All I’m trying to explain is you’ll know when to consider skipping the club, and that won’t be until you start being a real threat to the casino.
Until then earn as many benefits as possible.
The pit doesn’t watch the low limit tables for counters as closely as the higher limits. You can practice at the low roller tables and start beating the game for a few dollars before moving up to a higher level.
These tables are also good for players who want the thrill of wagering real money but want to work with a smaller bankroll. There’s nothing wrong with playing for a few dollars per hand to extend your bankroll and blackjack experience.
You can clear an online blackjack bonus at the low limits just like at the higher limits; it just takes more time. Isn’t that what most players want? Don’t we want the ability to gamble for as long as possible? Ok, I realize most players want to win, but most of us keep playing even after we hit a nice win, so we may say we want to win but we act like we want to play.
The majority of real money blackjack players are low limit players. While most casinos cater to high rollers, the low rollers account for a great deal of play.
Take advantage of all the opportunities the casinos give you even if you’re a low limit player. Look for the best rules, the best games, and the best comps.