Blackjack Tells: Spot the Dealer

If you know the term tell, then perhaps it comes from experience with poker - but despite common knowledge, other games also have tells. Blackjack is one of those games and reading the dealer is a basic tactic in the game.

A tell is an unconscious or reflexive gesture or communication, which, in terms of blackjack and poker, shows information about a player's hand. In blackjack, however, only the dealer's tells matter, as it is the dealer you are fighting against. Spotting these tells could significantly turn the odds in your favor. There may be of course some question as to whether or not dealer tells work - the simple answer is yes. Dealers, while professionals or at least experienced at their job, are still people and there are some basic things you can take note of to gain an advantage.

Keep in mind though, that dealers and their tells vary, which also varies the usefulness of this tactic. Some of them may have very quiet tells that are hard to spot, while others are very expressive.

The most common tell would be accidentally revealing the hole card, or the facedown card, literally or figuratively. There are a few variations of the figurative reveal for the dealer. You must be aware and get a gauge of the average time a dealer takes to take a look at the hole card.

Cards two to six are a gold mine for players, as the dealer may be required to lift the card higher to confirm that it isn't an ace. The most difficult number to see on a card is the four, as the two very closely resembles the top of the ace. Even the most experienced of dealers have this tell, as they have to look more than once to completely assure that they have the right card in mind. Face cards are usually more noticeable than number cards and the fact that they all count the same helps players figure out if a dealer has a face card. If the peak is quick, then in all likelihood it is a face card.

Knowing and interpreting the tells alone cannot guarantee or enhance the chances of victory. You must also combine the knowledge you gain with basic strategies and betting patterns in blackjack in order to improve on your chances. Also keep in mind that you need to have a good gauge on the way the dealer plays his hand. With this combination of aspects your chances of victory should improve, slightly, perhaps to tilt the odds in your favor enough to let you win consistently.