Ask the Blackjack Dealer!

Ok, as the title suggests, and as i’ve mentioned in a few GQ threads, im a dealer in a casino. (A ‘croupier’, if you wish).

I dont only deal Blackjack, i also deal Caribbean Stud Poker, 3 Card Poker, Big Wheel(+ Rapid Big Wheel) and Sic-Bo (+ Rapid Sic-Bo).

I think i’ll leave the info at that and just answer any questions you may have.

Read? Set… Go!

There is a scene in Casino where two players are caught cheating using some kind of electronic signalling system (I think). I doubt whether you have seen a punter have his hand broken with a hammer but a) is this form of cheating still possible b) if it is possible, have you ever known it to happen and c) if it has happened what is your employer’s policy in dealing with the culprits.

Ok well for starters there are no electronic devices allowed near gaming tables, at all.

I know of an incident in Crown Casino where a couple of players where in cahoots with the dealer and a few people staying in a hotel room in Crown Casino. What happened was the dealer did a VERY dodgy shuffle, allowing the players’ video camera (which was in a small wallet or something) to record where the cards were. This video was beamed to the people in the hotel who pretty much know the exact positions of all the cards. The game was Baccarat so this helped them win a lot of money before being found out.

Also i believe at Star City Casino (i believe) there was a gentleman who had an electronic device in his shoe which he used to try and calculate the momentum, speed, etc of a ball in a roulette where and try to predict where it would land.

In all cases, once someone is found out the police will be called and they will be charged to the full extent of the law. The casinos love making an example of these people.

How often do you, as a dealer, make a mistake? I don’t play much black-jack (and never have at a casino), so I’m not really sure what would be considered a ‘mistake’.
What are some typical mistakes and how do you correct them?

Let’s say you were a dealer who was willing to stretch the rules but stay within acceptable dealer conduct.

What could you do (if anything) to give any advantage to a big tipper or conversely hinder an annoying player?

A typical mistake would be something like overdrawing a card. Say if you signal for "stand’ yet i draw another card anyway. That is easily fixed, i just call my supervisor, explain what happened and then that card is the next card in play. Sometimes there will be a problem like a player may say they made a motion for a “stand” yet i believe they made a motion for “hit” in which case the Pit Manager will have to check on the video footage to see what happened.

Other mistakes would be giving out an incorrect amount for a cash/colour change. Paying a losing bet, collecting a winning bet. If you pay a losing bet and dont realise it, chances are no one will say anything, but if you collect a losing bet then people speak up REAL quick. Once again these are easily fixed and its not a problem at all.

My trainer told me to go by the saying of : Find it, Fix it, Forget it. (with regards to mistakes). And that there are no mistakes that can’t be fixed.

I generally dont make too many mistakes, nor do most people. But as i said before, everything is easily fixed.

Well first of all no dealers in Australia may accept any sort of gifts or tips for the job they do. (We get paid better though).

There isnt really much you can do for people you really like, maybe just be nicer to them, let them get away with a little bit (for example in Carribean Stud, players arent allowed to talk foriegn languages while at the table and during a hand, but if you KNOW they arent cheating you can sort of let it slip. This does become hard though when you have to tell trouble makers to be quiet).

On the other hand if someone is a pain int he arse it can be lots of fun. Going slower, taking longer to shuffle the cards, speaking slightly louder and more clearly, constantly telling them about the restaurants and bars at the casino (when you KNOW they dont want to hear it, but you cant get in trouble for it). You do have to be careful though so as to not cross the line and get yourself in trouble. But generally if you keep your cool, and they blow up at you, they’ll be the ones in trouble.

  1. What stake limits apply at your place of work.

In your personal experience*:

  1. What is the highest amount of cash you have seen a player win in a day and walk away never to be seen again.

  2. What is the highest amount of cash you have seen a player win in a day and subsequently return to lose some or all of it.

  3. What is the highest amount of cash you have seen a player lose in a day.
    *I say this to exclude high rollers such as the late Kerry Packer. Unless he ever came into your casino.

  1. Anything from $2 Roulette to unimaginable amounts of Baccarat. I know of one man who upon winning a hand in Baccarat would distribute $5000 chips to the others playing with him. On the main gaming floor however the most you can put on Blackjack is $5000, and i believe Baccarat’s limits are a little different, i think they can bet whatever they want as long as there is no more htan $20,000 difference between the bets on “Banker” and the bets on “Player” (that is, the casino is only willing to lose $20,000 per hand)

2)The most i’ve seen them win and never seen them again? not much. If they win big, they generally bet big. And if they bet big, they enjoy gambling, and return. But as for “winning big and NOT putting it back into the casino” probably Royal Flush winners on Caribbean Stud, who generally win about $200,000.

3)I’ve seen a guy get up about $50,000 on a $100 Blackjack table. He was a few days of the week, sometimes he’d win big, sometimes he’d lose big. I remember one day he started off small, cashing in only about one or two thousand. All the way up to $50,000-$60,000… and all the way down again.

  1. Hm… probably again the same guy as above i remember him burning about 50k on blackjack. He was just really unlucky that day. Couldnt win a hand to save his life.

Do you play and of the table games yourself?

We arent allowed to play at the casino we work at, or at any of the casino’s that are owned by the company that owns ours (this will change soon though, when we will only not be allowed to play at our place of employment).

I do plan on taking a trip to another city with a few friends from work and having a casino weekend. I think i’d spent most of my time on Blackjack, maybe a bit of cheap Sic-Bo (that game is LOADS of fun to deal).

Will you feel that you have an upper hand when you play, since you’re a dealer and all?

More of a sepcific casino related question -

About ten years ago, I spent a few months in Australia and in that time hit a handful of casinos - Crown, Conrad Jupiters, Conrad Treasury and Adelaide Casino.

The majority of my time was spent in Adelaide, and I came to really appreciate and enjoy Adelaide Casino - the smaller size was nice, and the old railway station made for a beautiful building.

So, have you ever been since it was taken over by SkyCity, and if so, has it been changed much?

Also -

While playing in Crown, I vaguely recall an odd scenario in blackjack rules that does not happen in the US, and I’d like you to clarify or tell me if I mis-remembered, since it is hazy.

I believe I played ten dollars and either split or doubled a hand. Now, in America, the dealer would have checked for blackjack before allowing the players to draw, but I seem to recall that’s not how it worked in Oz. I think the dealer did in fact have blackjack, and I started to leave the table - when the dealer called me back and told me that if the dealer has blackjack and a player had split (or maybe doubled?) the house only takes the original wager?

Does this sound correct? Or maybe something similar? I was confused even then because I don’t think Adelaide had the same rule.

Thanks much.

I would think that a dealer would get tired of having losing players vent all their frustration on the dealer. What’s the nastiest loser you’ve encountered?

Just 2 anecdotes; comment on them, if you like:

A friend was playing at a dumpy little dive (in Tahoe, NV) 20 years ago, before they invented the hole-card-reader. It was late at night, and friend was playing heads up against the dealer. Whenever the dealer had a 10 showing, he would need to peek at the hole card – and he started giving help to my friend. Like (if the hole card was a 6) “I wouldn’t risk busting, if I were you”. Friend cleaned up, and tipped generously.

Just this month in Reno, a dealer made a mistake. I was playing 2 hands, and the dealer had an ace showing, and made the “Insurance?” offer. While I was still checking my 2nd hand (and deciding to buy insurance) she pushed her button and revealed that she did indeed have a 10 in the hole. Had to call over the pit boss, who chided the dealer for rushing, and me (gently, but completely unwarranted) for making me insurance bet too late.

How often do you spot card counters? How do you tell when you have one? I presume you use a multi-deck show to discourage card counters.

Also, if a real-life “Rain Man” came in and amassed a large amount of winnings could he be kicked out just like they did to Charlie Babbitt in the movie?

Shoe, not show. Fucking typos that pass spell check!

You in Sydney or Melbourne?


>>Will you feel that you have an upper hand when you play, since you’re a dealer and all?

I had this discussion with someone at work today. While i feel i’ve had more exposure to the game than the average player, there is nothing that dealing the game will give you that basic strategy wont. As i said we dont deal from a shoe so i dont get the chance to practise card counting.

Re: SkyCity Adelaide… Never been.
>>Dealer checking for blackjack.

In Oz the dealer only gives themself one card on the initial deal, and takes their second (and subsequent) cards after the last player has finished playing their hand, so there is really nothing to check for blackjack. On a dealer’s blackjack we only take your initial bet. So you get to keep your splits and doubles.

>>I would think that a dealer would get tired of having losing players vent all their frustration on the dealer. What’s the nastiest loser you’ve encountered?

Its not really a problem with me. I know i have no affect on things, and i find it funny that some people think i do. The nastiest would be a man who was having a bad run of luck, getting angrier and angrier, had been warned TWICE to keep his cool, especially at me. Finally he gets a 20, i get blackjack and he says “aw f*** you!”. I call my supervisor and the man is ejected from the building and a file is opened on him.

And about the dealer giving the player information about the hole card, not that i have the opportunity but even if i did i never would. Even if i could get a few tips im not going to do something dishonest to my place of employment to get them. Why risk it? I can think of better ways to steal from the casino (but i never would…)

>>How often do you spot card counters?

We use the CSM (continuous shuffling machine) so no card counting. You could count to about 20-25 cards out of 312 (6 decks). Not that helpful.

>>You in Sydney or Melbourne?

I could be in Sydney, Melbourne, or neither. I’d rather not say. All you know is im not in Adelaide (and thank god for that!).