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The Blackjack Dealer

The Blackjack Dealer
by Jason Green of Predictem.com

When all the bets have been made by the player/players on the Blackjack table, the dealer will then deal the cards. The dealer will make two passes on the table beginning the deal with the player directly to the left of them until the players have two cards each. The dealer will always show one of their cards face up.

In shoe blackjack games both of the player's cards will be dealt face up and you cannot touch the cards. If you are a beginning player you may want to start at a shoe game, since you do not have to worry about handling the cards dealt to you. In games where the cards are dealt face down, when playing in a game such as this there is few things that you have to be aware of.

1. You can only touch the cards with one hand.
2. You have to keep the cards dealt to you over the Blackjack table.
3. If you take any hits (taking more cards), those cards must stay on the Blackjack table and not be added to your hand you are holding in your hands.

Ok, so let's say the cards have been dealt. Play will begin with the player directly left to the dealer acting first, which is referred to as "first base." Each player then acts in turn (clockwise from the dealer's perspective) going left will tell the dealer what his or her action is.

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If the dealer is showing an Ace they will ask players for insurance. The cost of insurance is half your initial wager, but if the dealer gets a Blackjack insurance pays 2-to-1. You just lose your initial wager. If the dealer doesn't get a BJ you lose your insurance and the game continues.

How the Blackjack Dealer will Play Their Hand

The dealer must play be specific set rules, with no variations. There are 2 dealer rule variations and you can find out what they are by looking at the Blackjack table before you sit down, as they should have it clearly marked. These are the 2 rules:

2. Dealer stands on all 17's. This is the rule that is the most common. If this is the case the dealer must continue to hit until they have 17 or more. If the dealer has an Ace it is always counted as 11, if it is possible that they do not go over 21. For example, an Ace and 8 would be a 19 and the dealer will have to stand. But if the dealer has an Ace and 5, total of 16, they must hit because they have less than 17. If the dealer has an Ace and two other cards that would cause them to go over 21 the Ace is then counted as 1. For example, an Ace, 4,7, is 12 so they will have to hit again. An Ace 9, 8 would be 18 so they would have to stand.

2. Dealer hits on soft 17. There are some casinos that follow this rule. This rule is exactly the same except when the dealer has a soft 17. A soft 17 can be hands such as Ace-6, Ace-Ace-5, and Ace-2-4. These are all examples of a soft 17. The dealer has to hit in these hands and then will have to stand on a soft 18 or more, or a hard 17 or more. When a casino uses this rule for Blackjack the house advantage increases. Because of this you should try to find a Blackjack game with the first rule, as it will give you a better advantage over the house.

On an unrelated note, the dealer cannot split but only has to hit until they reach at least a point total of 17 and not go over 21.

Asking the Dealer for Help

The dealer can help players out but you have to be a little wary because many dealers are degenerate gamblers themselves so what's to say their advice is any good? If you are not sure how to play Blackjack it is a good idea to find an empty table, because dealers are generally more than happy to help you out. Never sit down at a table that there are other players at if you are not sure how to play. The dealer will still help you out but you are interrupting the flow of the game, which other players will get annoyed at. Also if you take cards when you shouldn't or don't hit when you should you can alter what the hands are of other players, which can annoy them if it costs them a win.

When talking with a dealer you have to get a read on them after a few hands. Some are talkative and will give advice and some are just all business. If you are there to chat and not really play seriously you have to find a table where that will be ok. Doing that at a table where other players are serious will not make you any friends.

Related: Live Dealer Online Blackjack

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FAQ

Soft Hand Strategy - We explain what to do when your holding a soft hand. Oh, and ALWAYS hit on soft 17!

Winning at Blackjack - It can be done by utilizing the correct strategies.

Interesting Facts

Did you know... that the chances (probability) of being dealt a blackjack is .024%, which equates to one BJ approximately every 42 hands dealt?