Learning to read the dealer in blackjack

Learning to read the dealer in blackjackWhen it comes to mastering the game of blackjack there’s certainly not a shortage of things to learn. Some players spend their time trying to master the essentials of blackjack terminology while others may prefer to focus on the intricacies of blackjack strategy.

Wherever a player chooses to start it’s clear that all serious players are looking to master elements of the game that will increase the odds of winning. But there are those players who believe that mastering the game is less about their blackjack skills and more about their ability to notice the minutest of details.

There are some players who believe they can get the upper hand by focusing on their opponents instead of their own playing. Players will train themselves to notice the slightest change in body language, to pick up on gestures and any unusual facial expressions. These unconscious gestures and changes in body language are thought to reveal crucial information about an opponents hand and for that reason are referred to as tells.

A lot of skill is required to not only notice an opponent’s tells but also interpret them correctly. Players who take this approach to blackjack will spend an inordinate about of time honing their skills and ability to read other players. This is particularly useful when it comes to the dealer.

Any player who can work out what cards the dealer has will have the upper hand. Players need to keep in mind, however, that reading tells is not full proof. It also doesn’t work in all situations as some dealers can be harder to read than others. Nonetheless, learning to read tells is a very useful skill that can greatly enhance a player’s game.

Dealers at most big casinos are trained to do their jobs without giving away anything. But of course they are human and facial expressions, gestures and changes in body language are part of what it means to be human. It’s therefore unlikely that the dealer won’t give away some sort of body language even if it’s something as subtle as changes in breathing patterns.  The trick however is to be able to notice these subtle tells and to be observant enough to notice patterns. Noticing an isolated tell isn’t always enough.

There are, however, some basic things a player can look for. Certain cards will require a dealer to look closer and hold the card higher to see the symbols on the card. This is something a player needs to look out for. For example, if the dealer’s showing card is an Ace and the dealer takes at look at the hidden card and then peeks harder and holds it higher, it’s likely that this card is either an Ace or 4 card.

If however, the dealer’s showing card is a 10 card or any picture card and the dealer peeks attentively or holds the hidden card higher it’s likely that it is a Jack or 4 card. Lastly, if a dealer’s showing card is a 10 or any picture card and the dealer looks at the hidden card twice, in all likelihood the hidden card is a 4 card. This is because of how similar the Ace and 4 card look forcing the dealer to look more closely to differentiate the cards.

If a dealer looks at the hidden card very quickly, it’s likely that the card is a King, Queen or 10. This is because these cards all are printed in such a way that it’s easy to peek at them by simply lifting the corner of the card. If, for example, the dealer’s showing card is a 10 card or any face card and the dealer glances at the hidden card quickly it could be that the dealer has blackjack.  These are some of the more basic tells which focus simply on observing how a dealer reads his/her cards.

As a general rule of thumb, a dealer’s hidden card is likely to be 6 or higher if the dealer gazes at the card quickly. While careful and thorough gazing at the hidden card could indicate that it’s any card between the 2 card and the 6 card. This, however, isn’t always the case and players need to spend time studying the individual dealer before concluding that the dealer is working by these rules.

Another tell to look out for is if a dealer looks at the hidden card and then shifts it slightly to the side where the card are usually placed.  This could indicate that the dealer is getting ready to take another and so is making place for a new card. A simple shift could therefore be enough to indicate that the dealer’s hidden card is a low card. Conversely, if the dealer looks at the hidden card and doesn’t shift it, it could indicate that the hidden card is high enough not to require another card.

If a player is lucky enough to pick up on a dealer’s tells it’s important that a player does not let on. Discovering a dealer’s tells can be the equivalent of hitting the jackpot and can really improve a player’s chances of winning.  The moment a dealer catches on the game is over and the dealer will do his/her utmost to not reveal anything else. If this happens it’s in the player’s best interest to move to a new table.

Paying attention to and picking up on tells can’t guarantee a player a win but if the player is skilled it can greatly improve the player’s chances of winning.  Learning to read the dealer in blackjack is something all new players should do. At the very least this will give the player a better understanding of the inner workings of the game. It will also teach a player to be more observant, a skill which can greatly enhance a player’s game.  It’s important that players keep in mind that reading tells isn’t always accurate and will differ from dealer to dealer.

If you’re ready to try your luck at outsmarting the dealer, give the blackjack at Royal Vegas Casino a try.

This entry was posted in Articles, Blackjack and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.