Dealer checking for Blackjack..

I work in a Casino, but we deal Blackjack a little differently to in the US.

In the US, as im sure you are aware, the initial deal consists of everyone getting two cards face up, except for the dealer who has one card face up, and one card face down. I understand the dealer “checks for blackjack” if they have an Ace.

Down here in Australia the dealer only recieves one card on the initial deal, and its face up.

So i guess my questions would be, a)Why does the dealer recieve two cards in the initial deal in the US? (or maybe, why DOESNT dealer recieve two cards in Aus).
and b) Why “check for blackjack”?

I’ve never played table blackjack, but if the dealer has blackjack on the initial deal, I would think the hand would be over and the dealer would collect from anyone that doesn’t also have 21.

That’s pretty much the case. It also provides an opportunity for the house to “upsell”, by offering insurance against a dealer blackjack. This is almost always a bad deal, since the odds on a dealer ace are normally against a blackjack, so the player would normally be throwing money away. Some houses also offer players on a blackjack to buy out early, at even money, rather than risk a push.

We have insurance also, but i’d think giving the dealer information such as what his hand is would pose at least a small possible security issue.

ALso forgot to mention, the “buy out early at even money” for those with Blackjack is the same as tkaing full insurance, which we offer in Australia.

A number of casinos have moved away from having the dealer look at the downcard to having it read by machine.

While we are on the topic of casinos, why do i still hear stories about card counting in Blackjack?

In Australia EVERY blackjack table (which exceptions to high roller and private rooms) uses an automatic continuous shuffling device. This not only thwarts card counters, but speeds up the game, therefore increasing profits.

Why haven’t most US casinos adopted these yet?

They don’t see what their hand is, they just see whether or not the down card is a ten. There is a device that reflects a red dot, if memory serves, if it’s a ten, otherwise nothing shows. This does give some new information to the table, but just that the dealer didn’t hit the 4 of 13 chance to get a down ten/face.

Small correction – if they have a 10/face showing, they can also use this device to check for an ace.

In the US, in general, the checking speeds play - after offering insurance, the dealer immediately collects all bets that aren’t also blackjack and deals a new hand. The house doesn’t collect doubled-down or split bets against a dealer BJ – just the original bet. Much more time efficient to not let each player play out his hand, burning more cards that will ultimately be useless.

It depends where you are. In New Mexico, there are a lot of casinos run by the pueblos. The biggest one (Sandia) uses both auto-shufflers and shoes, but it’s harder to find a shoe game (they’re also often at higher limits) and the house rules prohibit mid-shoe entry. Others mostly use shoes but allow mid-shoe entry. Interestingly enough, use of a CSM actually decreases the house edge, although as more hands are dealt in an hour the player’s expected losses increase.

And I have to say, knowing that the dealer doesn’t have a ten with an A face up (or conversely, an A with a ten face up) doesn’t really help much, especially if you’re playing basic strategy.

As for why a hole card? Just a different rule set. Personally, I hate playing no-hole blackjack or European blackjack. Even worse, you can find a variant on the Internet that isn’t actually European blackjack, but a weird hybrid of Las Vegas Strip rules with a no-peek no-check rule. Tack on the no re-split rule and you’ve got a blackjack game with a very high house edge, probably as bad as 0.6%. Atlantic City probably has the best rules for the player with the advantage that the rules are standardized for all casinos, compared to the game in Vegas or other casinos. Assuming you lose all bets on a no-hole card game when doubling or splitting, it reduces the amount of doubling and splitting you can do, though I’m not sure how much damage this does to the player.

Other than most players, like myself, hate them, they also chew up cards, jam up, and according to one blackjack pro (Standford Wong, I believe) are also predictable. I’m pretty sure they corrected the shuffler, though. I played in Sydney and that blackjack game only fairly resembles US or even European blackjack.

I don’t understand the time saving argument. If someone has (for example) 8 showing, without the rule they would have a chance to hit a couple times and get 21 themselves, thus breaking even on the hand.

Unless there’s a rule where a 21 with two cards is superior to 21 with more than two cards?

Correct, natural blackjack beats a three or more card 21.

Ah, thanks. I thought the “checking for blackjack” was a rule to give the house a further edge, but it looks like it is mostly a time-saver. Learn something new everyday (especially at the SDMB). :slight_smile:

If blackjack is an automatic win, you never get to draw other cards. If the dealer has blackjack and you don’t, you’ve lost. If you have blackjack and the dealer doesn’t, you win.

Not sure what happens if both have blackjack.

It’s a push, or tie. The player gets his bet back.

Unless you take the “even money” option that most casinos provide on a player 21 + dealer Ace.

You lost me Bricker, how does one double-down or split if the dealer has a BJ?

True, I was assuming no insurance.

[quote=You lost me Bricker, how does one double-down or split if the dealer has a BJ?[/quote]

I think what he’s saying is that flipping up the dealer blackjack first means that the players aren’t hitting, splitting, doubling down or otherwise playing hands that are already losers. Not playing out player hands across from a dealer BJ means the table moves on to the next hand faster.

But I could be wrong.