Why Do Blackjack Dealers Swipe the Table?

min read
a blackjack dealer swiping the blackjack table with playing cards on it in a casino
BetMGM Aug 25, 2023, 6:59 AM

Blackjack is a favorite among casino games and players love it because it combines strategy and luck in a fun way. One of the figures making the game captivating is the enigmatic blackjack dealer. You’ve probably noticed these skilled dealers gracefully making hand gestures.

You might not see this in online slots, but it’s common with live blackjack dealers and in land-based casinos. Some of these gestures might seem odd if you’re new. For example, you might notice dealers making a quick motion across the table. 

This move is an important tradition in casinos called “swiping the table.” If you’re wondering what it means and why it’s done, this blog post will provide all the answers you need.

When Does “Swiping the Table” Happen?

Blackjack dealers swipe the table twice during the game — when they open and close betting.

The first swipe means it’s time to place bets and typically goes from left to right. The second swipe indicates that all bets have finished and the game can officially begin. It’s a right-to-left motion, accompanied by the dealer announcing, “No more bets,” to avoid confusion.

Players have less than a minute to deposit their chips in the circle during the swipe. Once the dealer finishes swiping, players can no longer place bets.

What’s the Reason Behind This Gesture?

It’s a tradition that started from land-based casinos but is now present in blackjack dealing online. Blackjack dealers use table swiping to communicate clearly with players and casino staff, including the pit boss. It also helps the surveillance team keep an eye on the tables, ensuring fairness in the games.

Before starting a new game, the dealer swiftly swipes their hand across the table, signaling players to start placing their bets. This clear signal ensures everyone knows it’s time to wager. 

Later, a dealer will make a second swipe from right to left. A common blackjack myth is that the gesture is a way to bid players farewell and wish them luck. However, what it actually signifies is the dealer indicating that betting is now closed. This definitive gesture prevents disputes about when bets were placed, maintaining a smooth gaming experience. 

What if the Dealer Fails To Swipe the Table?

It Gives Room for Cheating

If the dealer fails to swipe the table or call “no more bets” and quickly deals the card, a player can take advantage of the situation, especially if the first card is an ace. They can claim that they were about to place a bet with a higher amount but were given limited time. 

This becomes a problem if there’s a chance the player was trying to cheat. The best way to resolve the issue is to review the casino CCTV to determine who is correct. However, this could have been avoided if the dealer had swiped the table.

It May Reduce the Betting Time

Sometimes, players genuinely want to bet but are unaware or busy socializing. Casino dealers have a duty to manage the game, ensuring all players are involved. 

In poker, some players take their time before making a move — and that’s fine. But in most other online casino games, like blackjack, the dealer determines when a new hand begins. 

Most players know it’s time to start placing their bets when the dealer swipes the table. For some players, especially beginners, deciding how many chips to bet can take time. Swiping the tables prompts them to make a quick decision and place their chips in the circle on time. 

Slower Pace and Reduced Profit

Maintaining a steady pace allows dealers to deal more hands per hour and generate higher profits. Giving players more time to wager, like an extra 20 seconds, would result in significant profit loss for the casino.

Moreover, most blackjack players prefer a faster game. When all players place their bets quickly, it keeps those who enjoy a speedy game happy and engaged. They could also play for longer periods. 

The game maintains a balanced speed with well-timed table swiping, pleasing the managers and the players.

Other Common Dealer Rituals in Casinos

Swiping the table is just one of the few visual signs used in blackjack dealing. Other signs you may notice include the following.

Tapping the Table

Casino dealers often tap their tips on the table loudly before placing a chip in “the box.” This gesture informs the cameras and floor supervisor that the dealers are not taking a customer’s chip or one from the rack. It’s also a hint for players to know they’re open to receiving tips.

Clapping Hands

Dealers often clap their hands before leaving the table. They do this to inform the CCTV camera that they’re not stealing or hiding any chip. This simple gesture helps the casino build trust, especially with those who play casino games online.

Alternatively, the dealers may tilt their palms upward swiftly, shake their hands and wiggle their fingers. 

Frequent Dealer Switch

When casinos switch dealers, it’s not about cheating or tricking players. Every casino game has a fixed house edge that players can easily research before playing. The purpose of dealer changes is to ensure the casino maintains this house edge, preventing them from having an unfair advantage.

Burning a Card

The blackjack dealer employs a card-burning technique after shuffling in some casinos. Essentially, the first card is not dealt to any player; instead, it goes directly to the discard pile.

You may also notice this during a dealer change. When a new dealer arrives at the table, they put one card in the discard pile before commencing the game. 

The reason behind this practice is to prevent cheating. If a player figures out the first card through shuffle tracking or marking, they may have an unfair edge over the house. By burning a card, this unlikely cheating method becomes almost impossible. It’s a simple yet effective way to maintain the fairness and flow of the game.

Watch Your Next Step and Play Cheat Free Games at BetMGM

The various hand gestures play a vital role in maintaining the integrity of the games. It also guarantees that all gamers have a fair and rewarding experience.

Choosing a reliable online casino will allow you to experience the excitement from the comfort of your own home. Register now on BetMGM and enjoy the excitement of fair play and exclusive bonuses.

Actress Vanessa Hudgens flipping casino chips next to the text "The King of Casinos"
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Our BetMGM editors and authors are casino experts with a wealth of knowledge of the online casino industry at all levels. Their coverage includes company news, game reviews, how-to instructional articles, strategy guides, and editorials showcasing BetMGM’s superior product and game library.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are casino experts with a wealth of knowledge of the online casino industry at all levels. Their coverage includes company news, game reviews, how-to instructional articles, strategy guides, and editorials showcasing BetMGM’s superior product and game library.