Strategies for Identifying Dealer Tells in Blackjack.

Skills like card counting and knowing when to hit or stand are essential in all blackjack games. However, one skill is unique to live dealer or in-person blackjack: spotting dealer “tells.” Read on to discover what tells are and how they can enhance your blackjack strategy.

What Are Tells?
A tell is any involuntary behavior exhibited by a game participant that you can exploit to your advantage. While often associated with poker, tells can be physical, verbal, or behavioral cues that emerge during a game.

For instance, in poker, a player might scratch their nose when they have a strong hand or consistently call with a winning hand to lure others into the pot.

Similarly, tells can be a valuable tool in live dealer blackjack or when playing in a physical casino.

Why Are Tells Important in Blackjack?
Understanding how to read the dealer in blackjack can provide clues about their hole (face-down) card. Since the dealer typically looks at their face-down card after all bets are placed in many live blackjack games, spotting tells might reveal whether they have a high or low-value hand, allowing you to adjust your strategy accordingly.

Tips and Tricks for Spotting Blackjack Dealer Tells

In most modern casinos, dealers no longer directly look at hole cards but instead use a device to determine if they have blackjack. However, not all casinos use these devices. In such casinos, reading the dealer’s tells can be a valuable part of your blackjack strategy.

Dealer Tells to Watch for in Live Blackjack Games
Observe Their Reaction When Checking Their Hole Card
In casinos where dealers still check the value of an actual card, you can gain insights by watching their reactions, especially if they are inexperienced. Similar to poker, a dealer who is pleased with their hand might subtly smile, whereas an unhappy dealer might double-check their cards.

Notice How They Look at Their Hole Card
When dealers peek at their hole card, they may need to take extra steps to identify certain cards (typically 2s through 5s), which can look like an ace.

Angling the Card: Dealers might need to tilt the card slightly higher to get a clear view.
Extended Look: Dealers might take longer to examine the card to ensure it’s not an ace.
These actions can be noticeable if you pay close attention. High-value cards such as 10, jack, queen, or king are very distinct, so dealers can quickly identify them.

Recognize the Art of Judging Tells
Reading tells is more of an art than a science. Different dealers exhibit different behaviors, and what might be a tell for one may not be for another. For instance, one dealer might take varying amounts of time to check their hole card, while another may take the same amount of time regardless of the card’s value.

These variations make reading tells a nuanced skill. However, learning the specific tells of a dealer can give you an additional edge in blackjack.

Practice Reading Blackjack Dealers in Live Dealer Blackjack

If you want to put these blackjack tips and tricks to the test, you can easily do so by playing a live dealer game from the comfort of your home.