If you’ve ever been to a blackjack table, or played live dealer blackjack online, chances are you’ve seen the dealer make a swift motion across the table.
This action is one of the great traditions of the casino known as “swiping the table”. You may be curious about its meaning and why it’s done – after all, it happens every round in land-based casinos as well as during live online games.
The reason that a blackjack dealer swipes the table is so that players, as well as casino staff on the casino floor such as pit bosses and the casino cameras, are aware of the dealer’s intentions.
It serves several purposes: to ensure faster more streamlined gameplay and to prevent cheating.
When do Blackjack Dealers Swipe the Tables
At most casinos, a blackjack dealer swipes the table at two points during the game. When they are opening and closing the betting.
The First Swipe Opens the Betting
The casino dealer swipes from left to right to indicate that it’s time to start placing bets on blackjack hands.
The Second Indicates that All the Bets Have Finished – The Game Has Officially Begun!
When the dealer swipes from right to left, this signals that no more wagers can be placed — it’s time for cards to be dealt and for play to begin! To make it 100% clear, the dealer announces “no more bets” as well.
When the dealer starts swiping, players have a few seconds to place their chips in the circle. Once the blackjack dealers swipe is finished no more bets can be placed.
Why do Blackjack Dealers Swipe the Table Before Each Hand?
Like other hand gestures used by casino card dealers, swiping the table is used to make their intentions clear to both the patrons and other casino staff such as the pit boss. It’s also so the eye’s in the sky can see what is happening on the tables.
This helps keep casino games fair and honest.
Swiping their hand across the table in one swift motion at the start of the game ensure players know that it’s time to start placing their bets. Without this signal, players may not know it’s time to do so.
When they swipe the table, a second time, from right to left it signals that betting is closed at that time. It prevents any confusion or disputes over who placed a bet and when.
If the dealer doesn’t swipe the table and deals too quickly a player may claim that they hadn’t had time to place their chips when they see the first card they’ve been dealt.
If an ace is drawn they may claim they were about to wager £5o, trying to take advantage of the situation.
The hand signal is the best way to make it clear to everyone that no more chips can be placed in the circle. If there is a dispute the casino CCTV can be replayed to see who is correct.
Increase Clarity and Prevent Confusion
It can be difficult to hear in a land-based casino, they are noisy and it can be hard for players to hear. The use of hand gestures ensures that the player has visual instructions that can’t be misheard.
Players May Not Have Time to Bet
If someone is new to playing blackjack or busy socializing they may not be aware that it’s time to place their bets. Swiping the tables gives a clear indication that it’s time to place chips down on the table.
Speed Up the Game
If play is going too slow it can influence the casino dealer’s profit. Just an extra 30 seconds between hands can reduce their hourly profit. If the game is kept at a steady pace they will generate enough profit per hour – keeping them and the casino owners happy.
Increase Player Enjoyment
Many players like a faster game. Ensuring all players place their bets quickly will keep those who like a speedy game happy and interested in playing for longer.
Ensure Players Place Bets Quickly
Some players, especially if new to the game may dither about how many chips to place. Swiping the tables will ensure that they have to speedily make a decision and put the chip in the circle.
If there is a dispute about when a player placed their bet the casino’s network of overhead security cameras can be replayed to show whether the bet was placed before or after the swipe.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Any Other Card Games Use this hand Gesture?
Yes, a baccarat dealer will swipe their hand before drawing the first card. It’s also to prevent cheating.
Does Swiping the Table Prevent Card Counting?
No, casino dealers cannot stop players from card counting by swiping the table. Card counting works by players keeping a running total of the cards that have been dealt, and dealers are unable to prevent this.
Do Blackjack Dealers Use Any Other Hand Gestures?
As well as swiping the table, blackjack dealers use a range of hand gestures to show their intentions.
Casino card dealers clap their hands before leaving a table – it’s called clearing the hands. This shows the security cameras above the tables that they do not have anything in their hands.
Do Players Use Hand Gestures?
Yes, there is a range of hand signals for players. There are blackjack signs for a hit or stand, double down, and splitting.
Your Next Step
To find out more about the blackjack game rules, check out our beginner’s guide.
If you’re ready to take your game up a level, our blackjack strategy tables will guide you through how to use basic strategy to increase your returns.
Last Updated on January 27, 2023
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