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Choosing the Right Blackjack Dealer

Times have changed in casinos, and games are much more social than they ever were in the past. Players want more than just hands per hour, they want to be entertained. When you choose which table to play, there’s more than just the table limit to consider. You should also think about the other players on the game: are they having fun? Are they a rowdy bunch, or quiet and sedate? What’s your preference? Which dealer will make you the most money?

The dealer on the game has a big impact on how players react, and on how your stay at the table will go. Even though the game will have a stated minimum and maximum bet, the speed of the game is greatly impacted by the dealer and the players. If you want lots of hands and not much commentary, choose the quiet table with the experienced dealer. Who’s the experienced dealer? From first glance, they are probably moving quickly, with very few extra arm movements, and they don’t look around much. They aren’t looking for help from the Pit bosses, they are getting hands out. But be careful, speed kills.

The Fast Dealer

A fast dealer can get as many as 500 hands out per hour. If you are playing with two other players, you’ll get 125 hands of your own to play each hour. Less talk, less dramatics, more hands. Once you have learned Basic Strategy and perhaps moved on to a simple plus-minus count and are proficient at the game, speed is your friend. If you have a small edge over the house, you want hands, because you’ll make more money per hour with your card counting.

The fast, efficient dealer is your friend if you want all those hands. A blackjack card counter makes money based on their average bet and the number of hands played (and their edge, of course). The beauty of some fast dealers is that they are less likely to attract inexperienced players, who slow the game down.

On the other hand, you want time to make the right decision each hand, especially if you are new to blackjack. Don’t be intimidated by a gruff dealer who deals too fast for you, but you might consider a better option.

The New Dealer

Unlike the fast, experienced worker, a dealer who is new at their profession is going to move more slowly, and they are likely to make a mistake or two. That can be good for everyone, believe it or not. Aside from the fact that a new dealer will probably have several players on the game telling them, and everyone else how to play (which can be a pain in the neck), dealers fresh from school are likely to be easily flustered, but friendly. They’ll smile and do their best.

That usually promotes a friendly atmosphere, and the game will be fun. You won’t be hurried to make decisions, so, if you are learning the game yourself, there is less pressure. In addition, if you are working on a new betting system or counting cards, you’ll have plenty of time to figure out the right play. What you sacrifice is speed – the number of hands per hour.

One great aspect of playing on a new dealer’s table is that they will occasionally make an error. In the long run, errors break even, so a mistake isn’t really going to hurt you. At some casinos, an error does not impact the other player’s decisions, because only the error-hand is involved. However, at some casinos, when an error occurs, the Pit boss will give other players the option to keep playing or take their money back and kill their hand. What a great deal!

Obviously you kill your hand if you have a bad one, like a hard 12 to 16, but keep playing if you have a strong hand like a blackjack, or a 20 – or even a nice double down or split hand! Just one hand an hour like that can be the difference between making a profit and losing. That’s why dealers come and go. Not everyone is suited for the job.

Mellow and Moderate Speed Dealers

Dealers come in all shapes and sizes. They also come in all categories of experience and job satisfaction. For some, the gig is great, and they love working at the casino. That’s usually the right dealer to choose, because you’ll enjoy your time at the table that much more. Mellow dealers tend to get out a reasonable number of hands (perhaps 400 per hour), don’t sweat the small stuff, and are personable. That’s a nice combination.

You are likely to do better on a game with a friendly, relaxed dealer, because you won’t make many mistakes yourself. If you feel intimidated by the dealer, you won’t be able to relax and have fun. And, you might make errors in play, or in keeping the count. Keep in mind that dealers can be like mirrors, and they’ll give back what they get. If you want friendly banter, you’ve got to give it. If you are rude, your dealer is likely to clam-up, and frankly, you get what you deserve.

All Business Dealers

Dealers that can’t crack a smile and just want to get some hands out and move along may be fine for card counters, but they aren’t much fun if you are there to enjoy yourself and have fun. A grumpy dealer is likely to make you grumpy. You can’t change them, but they may change you; they’ll make you grumpy too! Don’t let ‘em. Pick a friendly dealer you like.

Sure, you might get a hint of a smile if you tip this type of dealer, but as soon as they move that chip behind the paddle, they’ll be right back where they were. Why bother? Tip the friendly dealers who help you.

The Perfect Dealer

Just as there are different types of players, there are different types of dealers, and choosing the right one takes experience.  If your dealer is going too fast for you and you can’t seem to keep up, try another table! The perfect dealer is taught to deal to the action, meaning they will set the pace of the game to the player making the largest wagers. If you are making a $5 wager and are getting ignored, or run-over because there is another player with $100 wagers each hand, you might be on the wrong table.

Your perfect dealer might be the serious, speedy one, or they might be the ditzy one who laughs, gets very few hands out per hour, but is having as good a time as the players are. Just remember, the dealers don’t choose their players. Players choose dealers.  And, dealers are human, even if they are able to deal hundreds of hands per hour like a robot.

A dealer is likely to have a family, and may be thinking about them while dealing, or about their lunch break, or about why they just got in trouble.  Or why the guy that keeps winning every hand won’t tip them. Cut ‘em some slack, tip when you can, and choose the dealers who make the game the most profitable and the most fun for you!


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