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John Marchel

John Marchel is an author, speaker, teacher and player -- what John plays are casino games. He’s been a casino player for over 25 years and has played successfully in Europe, Panama, the Caribbean, Canada, Atlantic City, Las Vegas, on Indian reservations, cruise ships and in over 350 casinos throughout the US. He is also the author of six books about gambling, and has written numerous magazine articles and is currently a columnist for three gambling magazines and one internet magazine. Since 1988 John has combined his experience as a manager, teacher and player to present seminars and lectures about gambling. In addition, John has had an Internet website since 1995 that offers books, special reports and tips about gambling. He also publishes a monthly Internet gambling newsletter. The newsletter keeps subscribers alert to trends, information and winning techniques that allows them to be more successful when visiting casinos.

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Obey the rules in blackjack

2 Jun 2018

By John Marchel
Casino management is very fussy about what goes on at the blackjack table. They worry about cheating both by the customer and dealer. They have firm procedures that the dealer must follow at all times. In addition they have procedures they want the player to follow. The game will sometimes stop if there is a variation to specific procedures. It’s important for the player to understand what is required. Here are some of the procedures you need to know.

When playing with decks that are dealt face-down (one- and two-deck games) it is important to pick up the cards with only one hand. In addition, also always keep the cards over the table. Dealers are taught that cheats will try and change cards when they use two hands or drop cards on their lap or floor when holding them past the edge of the table.

Scratch the cards toward you if you want a hit or tuck the edge of the cards under the chips if you are standing. Telling the dealer you want a hit, or split or any other verbal command just won’t work. You need to visually make a motion so the camera (eye-in-the-sky) above the table can see it.

When playing with multi-decks, point to your cards if you want a hit, or move you hand back and forth or make a stop motion with your hand if you don’t want any more cards.

Do not touch your bet anytime during the round. Once a bet is in the betting spot do not touch it again. With face-up games (4, 6 or 8 decks), use hand signals to hit or stand and do not touch your cards during the round. When splitting or doubling, you do not have to wait your turn to put the new bet down — just put a chip(s) next to your original bet — never on top. Always let the dealer position the cards, again, do not touch them. Let the dealer do all the work.

Over 140 countries in the world offer casino blackjack. In some of these countries the dealers don’t speak English. It shouldn’t matter since almost all your actions are transmitted by hand signals. However, the one move the player must speak to the dealer is surrender. Do not make any motions or hand signals: just state to the dealer “surrender.” The dealer will pick up your cards and return half your wager. All other moves at blackjack can be done with hand signals.

A note here: A few casinos are starting to require surrender to be done with a hand signal. Using your index finger and moving from left to right behind your cards (in a 4, 6 or 8 deck game) will indicate surrender.

Try to treat dealers and other players with respect and friendliness. Use your wit to lighten up a game, not to abuse dealers or follow players. You want the game to be fun and enjoyable for you and your follow players. Lastly, there is an old saying about helping other players at the blackjack table: “Wise men don’t need it, and fools won’t heed it.”


• Surrender, a blackjack option found in a few casinos, was first introduced in the Philippines at the Continental Casino in Manila in 1958.

• Many have heard of Early and Late Surrender in blackjack, but there is also Asian Surrender. Some Asian casinos allow the player to Surrender after receiving one or more hits.

• Blackjack is a extremely popular card game in Russia, where it’s traditionally called
“Ochko”, “the hole.”

• According to statistics published in U.S. News and World Report, 45% of casino players are men, and 55% are women.

• California allows 18-year-olds to gamble in the Indian casinos provided no alcohol is sold on the premises; if alcohol is sold players must be 21.

• In Las Vegas it’s been estimated that high rollers account for 5% of all players, but they generate 40% of the casino’s revenue.

• In Britain, the government Gaming Board regulates that a blackjack player can only double down on 9, 10 and 11. The board also prohibits the splitting of 4-4, 5-5 and 10-10.

• Shills, staff hired by the casino to look and act like gamblers to draw other players to a table game are forbidden by law in Atlantic City.

• Norwegian Cruise Lines was the first cruise line to offer a rewards program for players similar to traditional land-based casinos.

This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at

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