Misreading the Peeker,
Hitting a Soft Hand,
& Are Math Skills Important

Misreading the Peeker

Q: “Just started working at a casino; was trained as a roulette dealer, but also learned to deal blackjack. I’ve been having difficulty regarding dealing aces; any advice for me? Having trouble in dealing to myself. I understand if I have a ace up and a 6 down, that I have to hit myself a soft 17, but not sure how to handle the hit if it’s less than a face/10. If its an 9 or lower, should I resort to my original 2 being a 7, and hit myself again, or did I just bust? Also, if I have an ace up and a card lower than a 6, does the same ‘1 or 11’ rule apply to me?"

A: Okay. So I see that you are having some difficulty understanding when you are supposed to hit and stay on a soft hand.

      First, for those who don’t know, a soft hand is any hand with one or more aces in it which results in having two plausible totals. This is possible since the ace can be either 1 or 11. For example, if the hand has an ace and a 5 then the hand can be either 6 or 16. If the hand has multiple aces in it, then count the aces in a way that gives the player the highest possible total without going over 21. For example, if you have 3 aces a 5 and an 8 then the total will be 16 because the other option is 26 and that would be a bust hand.

      Some houses will have their dealers hit a soft 17 and other houses will make their dealers stay on a soft 17. Make sure you know your house rules. If the dealer is stationed at a table that hits a soft 17 then these are the rules that they must follow. If the dealer has an ace and their second card is a 7 through 10 then the dealer will stay. If the dealer has an ace through 6 as their second card then that dealer will hit.

      If the dealer is stationed at a casino that stays on a soft 17, then these are the rules that they will follow. If the dealer has an ace and their second card is a 6 through 10 then the dealer will stay. If the dealer has an ace through 5 as their second card then that dealer will hit.

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Hitting a Soft Hand

Q: “What happens if the dealer misreads the peeker and finds out that he has a blackjack after all players hit their hands?”

A: I've had this happen to me. There will be times when you’re human and you’ll make a mistake. Don’t freak out. It’s a normal occurrence in the everyday happenings of life and the casino is well aware of this fact. If this happens to you, standard procedure is to call over the floorman as soon as you flip over the blackjack. Then all you’ll need to do is just follow his directions. There is no set procedure for what to do when the dealer misreads the peeker, so different floorman will tell you to do different things. What my floorman told me to do, was to take only the players original bets, which is what they would have lost if I had flipped over the blackjack at the beginning of the hand, and then shuffle the deck.

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Are Math Skills Important

Q: “What about math skills? Is this important? I suck at math.”

A: I have known plenty of dealers who suck at math. That shouldn't stop you from getting a job as a dealer. You will need a high school diploma or a GED to get the job. Now don't get me wrong, math is important to all games because you will be adding (like on blackjack, even though you won't go over 22) and multiplying (like when you pay odds on a side bet, on a carnival game, roulette, or craps). On roulette you’ll have to think a bit more because you’re going to be multiplying and then adding large numbers. Craps is the most difficult game when it comes to math because of all of the different odds.