Captain Video: Virtually all blackjack dealers will wait for a hand signal on close plays -- a 16 against a dealer 10, for instance. Some will even insist on a hand signal for obvious plays, say a three-card 19 against a dealer 6. Well, that's the rule and it's fine with me but what I find most annoying are those dealers that presume to know that the correct play is to stand and quickly skip ahead to the next player. “Everyone knows” to stand on hard 17, so some dealers routinely assume that you want to stand, not waiting for a hand signal, and just move ahead. But maybe under the right circumstances I may want to surrender a 17 to an Ace or split tens against a 5 or 6.
I’m glad to play quickly, but I resent dealers playing my hand. I've asked dealers to "Wait" after they've passed me by. Sometimes I might ponder, say, splitting 3's against a 2 for a while just to slow a know-it-all dealer trying to impress the players and pit personnel with his/her speed-dealing skills.
Friendo: Annoyingly, I seem to have more than my share of dealers who like to play my hand. I try to move quickly for my double-down chips, to the point that sometimes I have them in my hand before the cards are dealt.
On unusual doubles - A8, A9, 10 v 10, 10 v A, etc. I emulate many casual players: put the extra chips out before, or just as, the dealer's attention reaches your hand. Obviously, if the count is borderline for such a decision, and you like to be double-plus certain of the index number, you can wait, but moving chips early will put a brake on the dealer, even if you're still hovering over the betting square as he reaches you. I recently doubled an A9 so fast that I was forced to feign hesitation after the fact: "Aw, what the heck -- I'm committed now!"
For super high-count index plays like 16 v 8, be a little aggressive with your hand motion, or add the verbal "Stand!" as you wave him off.
During heads-up play-all (no wonging out), things get trickier because there's so little delay, and the dealer may remember that, for example, you didn't hit 13 against 2 a couple of minutes ago. For double downs, you can still keep the chips in your hand, ready to pounce. For unusual negative-count plays, try to get your hand out earlier -- the weirder the play, the earlier you should move. Holding your extended index finger up -- without tapping the felt -- usually stops the dealer for a moment, letting him know that you want to take a moment to decide this one.
I still have trouble dealing with the dealers who play my tiny-card hands really fast: say, starting with a 5, receiving a 10, and the dealer doesn't know that I want to stand on my 15 because his 9 upcard justifies my standing under the circumstances. Of course, these situations are not a large chunk of play, but they can be really irksome.
Originally published on bj21.com Green Chip, edited for this format.