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It sounds like a dream come true, one that every blackjack player dreams about. Imagine sitting down to play blackjack in your favorite casino and all of a sudden you realize that the dealer is sending you signals about the value of their hole card! That’s exactly what happened to Steve, a frequent visitor to the Counting Edge Website.

Steve was a regular at Diamond Jack’s casino in Bossier City. He played blackjack at least three times each week, and usually made a nice profit. Steve isn’t a card counter; he just plays the rules of basic strategy. Steve’s favorite way to play is head-to-head against the dealer. He often plays blackjack during the middle of the week when the casino is less crowded.


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One Wednesday afternoon, Steve made his way to Diamond Jack’s and found an empty blackjack table. The dealer was a nice looking young woman named Julie. She smiled and welcomed Steve to the table as he sat down. The table minimum was $25. Steve placed a green chip in the bet box while Julie shuffled the cards and had Steve cut. A few moments later the cards were dealt for the first round.

Steve played for about thirty minutes and was able to amass a small profit. Then he noticed the dealer something peculiar. Sometimes, when she showed a ten, Julie would peek at her hole card twice. At first, Steve thought she was just having difficulty reading the hole card. Then he noticed that the only time she peeked at the card twice was when she had a 5 or 6 in the hole, for a total of 16. Steve began to watch more closely and soon confirmed his suspicions. Each time the dealer looked at the hole card twice, Steve would stand on whatever hand he had. Each time, Julie turned over the 5 or 6 and was forced to hit her hand. She busted every time.

Julie never let on, except for a sly wink whenever Steve would collect a nice bet. Steve couldn’t believe it. As the session went on Steve increased his bets, first to $50 and then to $100. Finally he summoned up his courage and bet half of his chips on a hand. Julie dealt Steve an 8 and a 3 for an 11. She showed a 10. Steve almost jumped out of his chair in excitement when Julie peeked at her hole card once…paused…and peeked again. She had just told him she had a 5 or a 6 in the hole. Steve eagerly slid the other half of his chips onto the table.

“Double down,” Steve smirked.

Julie gave Steve one additional card. It was a lousy 3 for a total of 14, but Steve wasn’t worried. She was going to bust. She had given him the signal.

Julie turned over a 10 for a 20 and collected Steve’s money. He was broke.

Julie smiled and gave Steve that wink again as she gathered his chips. Steve was fuming, but before he could say something the pit boss walked over to the table and replaced Julie with a new dealer. Julie showed her hands and clapped them together and then walked off laughing with the pit boss.

It wasn’t until after Steve got home that he realized he had not tipped the dealer even one time during his lucky streak. He often wondered if that was why she set him up, or if setting him up had been her plan all along. At any rate, Steve didn’t play blackjack for a long time after that—especially at Diamond Jacks.

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2 Response Comments

  • blaquejacqueshellaqueOctober 11, 2014 at 2:14 am

    I dealt in Reno years ago and we didn’t attempt to set players up – why would we? We have nothing to gain and many dollars in tips to lose. We could wink and flirt to keep the player playing (and, on average, losing money). The mathematical edge is to the house anyway so we didn’t have to do any “setting up.” Changing dealers is usually on a very tight schedule so it probably wasn’t about your friend Steve. There are exceptions though and maybe Steve found one, but I doubt it. We can do simple stuff like shuffling more often if the player was a George (big tipper) and going deep if they do. I didn’t know any dealer who could deal and count at the same time. While I presume there are a few out there IMHO they’re few and far between. Checking twice was a dumb tell, but I doubt the pit boss noticed or she wouldn’t have left laughing. I suspect the laughter was some private joke or simple camaraderie. I doubt it was about Steve – after all the dealer and pit boss work together day in and day out. Even if the player has an edge, often things just don’t go as hoped – I doubt it was about Steve. It was, most likely, simple probability.

    • countingedgeOctober 15, 2014 at 9:09 pm

      Here at Counting Edge we always like to hear from the many dealers and gaming professionals that visit our website. Thanks for giving us, and our readers, the benefit of your perspective as someone who has actually been in the blackjack trenches!

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