Blackjack Dealer Tells and Hole Carding

The Oxford English Dictionary defines tell as including the following:

“…an unconscious action believed to expose an attempted deception.”

Most individuals are familiar with “tells” from the world of poker, in which participants reveal their true intentions while attempting to feign or act otherwise deceptively. Blackjack players may be unaware of the fact that it is possible to detect dealer signals that can significantly alter their game strategy.

You won’t discover dealer tells on every hand, but you may find enough to affect your winnings statistically.

Identifying Tells

Identifying signals involves observing a person’s characteristics, identifying patterns in their regular behavior, and searching for inconsistencies within those patterns. These inconsistencies are known as “tells,” and they typically indicate a particularly strong or weak hand.

Because players can alter their odds by taking decisive action when the dealer has a high or low hand, these signals are valuable.
Tells are the greatest method to determine when a player is posturing, when they have nothing, and when they have a strong hand.

Why do reveals occur?

The study of human psychology.

Most of us don’t want to deceive on the inside, and we can’t hide all the physical signs of lying when we feign or attempt to conceal the truth. Some individuals grimace when they deceive, while others twitch their nose or become talkative or aggressive. By paying a little attention and learning to recognize mannerisms and vocal patterns that indicate a tell, you can use human nature to your advantage at the blackjack table.

Standard Blackjack Dealer Bluffs

These are by no means the only blackjack dealer signals; rather, they are merely three examples of common dealer behaviors to watch for at your next blackjack table.

Smiles and Optimistic Attitudes

Dealers who wish to interact with players (in the hopes of receiving large gratuities) are pleased to burst. This dealer will sometimes beam or act cheerfully when they reveal a low hole card, but will become angry when they reveal a high hole card.

This tell indicates that the dealer is on your side and may even be carelessly revealing a base card. (Hole carding is discussed in greater detail below.)

A dealer who is pleased when you win can be an asset at blackjack tables.

You can also use this indication as a countermeasure; dealers who are biased against the players are typically pleased when you break and disappointed when low cards appear under their aces.

Frequent Hole Card Verification

When a dealer checks her hole card twice or thrice, you should expect a high-ranking hole card. Because the distinction between a numeral and a letter is more obvious, they should only need to glance once to determine if it is a numeral.

If it is a face card, she may need to look again to distinguish between a K and an A.


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