Mathematically, where you sit at the blackjack table won’t affect the house edge. Regardless of where a player sits at the table, the casino has the same advantage over time. In the short term, you might see some specific moves that change the outcome but that tends to even out over time. Having said that many blackjack players have preferences on the best place to sit.
I’m a flexible blackjack player and don’t have much of a preference of where to sit. First base, third base, and shortstop all work depending on mood and who’s playing blackjack. Let’s look at the different positions at the blackjack table and discuss.
Different Seat Positions At Blackjack
First Base: This seat is named because it’s the first player to see cards at the blackjack table. First base is located next to the shoe to the right of the table. Since players here are the first to receive a card and the first to act each hand they feel control over the table. Some players choose this seat because they’re experienced and don’t want another player affecting the cards they see. Other players simply like to make the first move.
Third Base: This is the last seat from the shoe on the left side of the table. Third base is sometimes seen as the gatekeeper of the table. They’re the last player to act before the dealer sees their cards. In theory, they have some control over the cards the dealer sees. This player sometimes thinks that they have power over the dealer’s hand by making the right or wrong play.
Shortstop: This seat is located right in the center of the table. Shortstop doesn’t have much control of the cards other players see since there are usually players on either side. However, this player might have the most “control” of the table. This player can be positioned to possibly dissuade other players from sitting in the other position at the table.
Does Seat Position Matter?
We know that other players and seat position over time won’t change the house edge of a blackjack game. So, does seat position matter? No, and yes.
Seat position doesn’t change the game over time. Where a player sits doesn’t matter to the math over time. In the short term, you might see different cards depending on who’s sitting at the table and where you’re sitting. Depending on how many people are at the table you can see more than 100 hands per hour so the positive and negative have a good chance of evening out quicker than you think.
Card counters might prefer sitting at the third base position. This spot at the table gives the player the most time to pay attention and count other players hands. On the other side, counters might prefer getting cards quicker since they spread bets based on the count. Waiting for cards at third base could change the count. The casinos know this and might make it easier for them to catch players counting.
Many recreational players have recency bias and might have a problem with other players not using correct basic strategy. Sitting at first base might allow someone to feel comfortable since they see cards first. Meanwhile, third base might be better for someone who’s concerned about the cards the dealer plays. Sit wherever you feel most comfortable at the blackjack table.