The short answer: statistically speaking, it does not matter where you sit at a blackjack table. Some players believe the third base (the farthest left seat at the blackjack table) is the best spot. However, this claim is not based on any blackjack math.
It doesn’t matter which seat you take at the blackjack table. The only exception is if you are a professional blackjack card counter. The position matters to card counters because they need to act last once they have counted as many cards as possible.
Indeed, most card counters indicate that the farthest seat from the first action is the best seat for their card-counting strategy. Some claim that the so-called 3rd base seat gives the holder the power to decide whether the whole table will lose or win. But, mathematically stalking, there is no merit to this claim.
Various Seating Positions at the Blackjack Table
Blackjack is a highly popular casino game with a long-standing lingo. It so happens that every blackjack table seat has a name based on its relative position to the dealer. According to some blackjack players, each position provides the player with some advantages and drawbacks, but these ultimately don’t impact your odds of winning.
But, looking at the statistics, it becomes clear that the blackjack strategy works equally well across all seats. Blackjack tables at land-based casinos can have seats for up to seven players, but only three positions matter. If the table isn’t full, you’ll want to pick your seat based on these positions
1st Base Position
This seat is named after the player who is the first to see the cards at the blackjack table. The first base is to the dealer’s right, near the deck of cards.
Players here feel in charge of the table since they are the first to receive a card and act on each hand.
Some players select this seat because they are seasoned and do not want other players to influence the cards they receive. If you like to act first, pick the first base.
This seat is situated right in the middle of the table. Because there are typically players on both sides, the shortstop has little control over the cards that other players receive. This player, on the other hand, may have the most “control” over the table. This person can be strategically placed to discourage other players from getting seated in the other spots at the table.
Third Base Position
It’s the last seat from the dealer on the table’s left side. The third base is sometimes regarded as the table’s gatekeeper. Players in this position are the last to act before the dealer’s turn to look at their cards. In principle, they have some power over the cards that the dealer receives. This player sometimes believes that they have control over the dealer’s hand by making the correct or incorrect move.
Positions While Playing Blackjack Online
Seating positions are not relevant in online blackjack because they don’t exist. That means this is ideal for newbies and non-card counters. If you are a beginner and often take third base, you should head to online casinos. You don’t have to worry about getting terrible cards due to your seating positions.
Online blackjack games have no real seats or seating positions. You are actually playing, one-on-one, against the virtual dealer. In reality, online blackjack dealers are playing against the computer algorithm behind the random number generators.
The only exception to playing online blackjack seating is the live-dealer version. Live casino tables are authentic. Although betting takes place at a virtual table, your position is reserved based on a first-come, first-serve basis.
This means you must pick the right available seat based on your playing preference.
Is it better to play blackjack with a full table?
It depends on your preference and style of play. Playing blackjack with a full or empty table doesn’t impact your odds of winning. However, having other fun players at the table could boost the social experience of the game.
What is the best seat at the blackjack table?
Although many people think the third base is the best seating position at the blackjack table, the right spot really depends on a number of factors. Your best seat will depend heavily on your skill set, experience, and strategy. Each blackjack seating position has pros and cons, and choosing the most suitable seat will help create the best setting for your strategy.
When all’s said and done, where you sit at the table has little to no consequence on your gameplay and odds of winning. The only big exception is if you are a newbie or plan to count cards. Speaking of card counting, most professional players swear by the third base position, saying it is the best seat at the table for card counters.
There is merit to this claim, at least on paper. After all, having the advantage of acting last among other players allows you to read as many cards as possible. However, experts say that seating position doesn’t affect your ability to count cards and apply your strategy.
The claim is based on the fact that the player in 3rd base takes action right before the croupier does.
If you are seated at third base and stand rather than hit as the basic blackjack strategy indicates, your action may cost other players at the table.
The truth, however, is that the third base player’s action may also end up favoring other players. Similarly appreciated is the first base position, which provides not only a full view of the table but also the discarded pile, allowing you to keep track of which cards have been pulled and which have not. However, if they lose, players in this position are second in line to suffer scowls from other players, so be prepared for the eye rolls.
In contrast, the shortstop position provides a nice perspective of the table. However, it is not as excellent as first or third base, and it is supposed to prevent players from sitting at third base if a seat is available, resulting in fewer participants and more opportunities to place an additional wager.
Other seat locations are not frequently stated, depending on the number of people at the table. If you wish to see other players’ moves, the fourth position (to the left of the middle) provides a view of the whole table.
Although other players’ plays do not affect your gameplay statistically since they can eventually both damage and assist your hand, it is always a good idea to keep a watchful eye on players who are on a hot streak. You can pick up some useful strategy tips this way.
Furthermore, if you dislike being dealt the first and last cards of a round, we recommend seating in the second or fourth seats, depending on the number of players at the table. If only the third or first base spots are available when you join the table, keep in mind that statistically, it has little effect on the overall odds of winning, so pick any random seat.
Best Seating Position for Card Counting
Card counting is one of the most effective winning strategies for blackjack, although some casinos frown upon it. Card counters can easily beat the dealer and create a decent bankroll. A crucial part of card counting is to know where to position yourself at the blackjack table.
As we have explained, the seating position at the blackjack table does matter to some extent to card counters. The majority prefers the third base seating position. This seat provides them with a holistic view of everything that happens before they act.
That’s the main goal of card counting – get a good count of the remaining cards.
Ideal Seating Position for Beginners at Blackjack Tables
If you are new to the game, you want to understand how blackjack is played. That is why most beginners are recommended to take a middle seat, somewhere in the shortstop position. This is where they can get a good look at what is happening on the table. It also helps the newbie avoid being blamed for any move that is deemed wrong.
A shortstop position could be an ideal seat that may work in favor of beginners. This position allows beginners to dissuade additional players from taking a seat at the table. It also allows you to place more bets.
Other sitting locations allow you to gain an excellent view of your opponents’ actions, depending upon the number of players at the table. For example, the fourth position on the right-hand side of the shortstop provides you with a nice vision of what’s going on at the table while not putting you in charge of first or third base.