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Dealer Tells and Dealer Reading in Blackjack

How to Read the Dealer in Blackjack – Blackjack Tips on Dealer Tells

Staff Writer 04/15/2021 Blog 191 views

A dedicated blackjack player never stops trying to find ways to tilt the odds in their favor. Some are quite feasable, some less so, but staying on top of different blackjack strategies can only help you in the long run. The one we’ll be talking about today relies on the human factor in every blackjack game.

Reading the dealer in blackjack means trying to deduce their hand based on their reactions and behavior. This is not at all easy, as you might imagine. Still, even the best dealers are fallible, and there are ways in which players can exploit this.

Dealer Tells and Blackjack

Reading a person’s thoughts and emotions simply by their physical tells is not easy at all. Just ask any poker player ever. It’s a skill that takes years of practice and education to master, which is far beyond the scope of this simple blackjack guide. The fact that dealers are trained to not give information away easily makes things even harder. After all, whether you win or lose doesn’t really affect the dealers. They don’t have much of a reason to care about the cards they draw.

Still, the majority of human communication is based on subtle body language. As such, even the most professional dealers can have a small tell. Keep these things in mind as you read on.

Also, not to state the obvious, but these blackjack strategy tips may not be completely applicable to online blackjack. They can be useful for live casino blackjack, but spotting tells can be very difficult online.

It’s also important to curb your expectations and not rely on tells too much. You’re looking for small hints as to which cards the dealer has. At best, you may get a vague idea for a single card. These things are probably best explained through some concrete examples, so let’s get right to it.

Revealing Hole Cards

The easiest way to use dealer reading in blackjack is when they peek at their hole card. They have a split second to see the card at an uncomfortable angle, which is important to remember. For example, cards like 2s, 3s, 4s, and 5s can look like an Ace. Some casino blackjack dealers are instructed to look carefully at these for this very reason. Sometimes, even professional dealers have to peek an additional time or two to make sure they read the card right. Combined with blackjack techniques like card counting, this can be useful knowledge.

Conversely, big-value, ‘painted’ cards are quite easily distinguishable. The same is true for 10s – they are the only double-digit card, after all. A very quick peek might mean the dealer has a high card.

Card Placement

Where the dealer places the cards can also be a tell. For instance, some believe that if a dealer places their cards slightly to the right, they are expecting to hit for more cards. Conversely, if they center their cards, they’re not expecting any more and won’t need the additional table space.

Peeking for Blackjack

Some blackjack rules have the dealer peek for blackjack if they have an ace or 10-value card. The moment they peek is the most obvious time to look for tells. Knowing if a dealer will actually win blackjack at this important moment can make or break your game. Still, the signs are as subtle as ever. Look for facial expressions, how they lift the card, and so on.

Players often fold when faced with a dealer 10 or Ace, especially if their hand is weaker. This makes sense according to blackjack strategy charts. However, spotting a tell can save you a bust.

These were some handy examples of blackjack dealer reading. As you can see, this isn’t the safest of strategies, and it takes a lot more to know how to read blackjack dealers. Still, now that you know what to pay attention to, you can start trying to practice with live dealer blackjack. For example, the 888 Live Casino has a great selection of live blackjack games, so you can start right now!

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