"Hot" Blackjack Dealers

Everyone who has been around the game of blackjack for any length of time has heard tales of woe from players who were supposedly done in by a "hot" dealer.

Well, I've seen basketball games where someone like Allen Iverson got the hot hand. I've witnessed quarterbacks like Peyton Manning go on a tear. There's a difference between those guys and a blackjack dealer who seemingly goes on a streak where he can't lose.

Iverson and Manning were doing it with skill. For the dealer, it was pure luck.

Don't ever lose sight of the fact that the dealer can only play one way - according to the rules of the house. That means he draws to 16 and stands on 17. When he has an Ace showing, he asks if anyone wants insurance. If there's a ten-value card underneath, the insurance bet pays off. If there's isn't, it doesn't. The dealer doesn't make any independent decisions to split pairs or double down. In point of fact, the dealer doesn't make any independent decisions at all.

Listen - I have worked in and around the casino business. I have befriended a lot of dealers. Many of them have not been out of dealer's school that long. Most of them hardly even know they're alive, much less when they're about to get "hot."

Yet the myth is propagated by pit bosses and supervisors who are either superstitious or who just don't know any better. I know, because I've heard it from them. They talk proudly - even triumphantly - about sending in a certain dealer for the specific purpose of beating a particular player, as if it really makes a difference. The player may lose, but it won't be because of the dealer.

If you feel you can be thwarted by a "hot" dealer, you've lost half the battle already.

By Charles Jay

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