Dealing to a Peek.

July 20, 2011 § 3 Comments

In the previous post I wrote about dealing the second card.


Why would a dealer deal the second card from the top?  Why is the dealer saving the top card, and who is it for?  How does the dealer know the value of the top card?

In this post I am including a couple of self-explanatory pictures of how a 21 mechanic peeks.  In the example of the “heel peek” there should be no doubt in the readers mind as to which of the two cards the player will receive from the mechanic for the hand she is doubling down.

A real casino with a gaming license would never let a mechanic use marked cards.  Their gaming license is too valuable to lose.  If there were casinos that let mechanics deal reading “juice” or “paper” —euphemisms for marked cards— I didn’t know about them and no mechanic I knew personally, did either.  Bear in mind that I am writing about the past.

We dealt to a “peek.”  We had to peek at the top card, or the top two cards, to know what card(s) were coming next.  It’s easy to catch a mechanic if his peek is obvious.  The most common peek is the bubble peek.  The bubble peek when the dealer (lets assume a right hand dealer, a dealer who holds the deck in their left hand) is when the dealer “bubbles” the top card at the front of the deck when paying a bet or moving chips in the rack.  This can easily be spotted by the players if the mechanic is sloppy, as the players are sitting just a couple of feet away directly in front of the dealer and able to see the front of the deck.  Not all players are suckers and this always has to be kept in mind.

I doubt if any of the demonstrators of second-dealing on YouTube actually ever worked as a 21 mechanic in a real casino.  Most of them probably cheat in games played in somebody’s home.

I’m not making disparaging remarks about the demonstrators, but “whacking out”—or “going for the money” or whatever the euphemistic terminology—is much more complicated than just dealing seconds—and it takes nerve.  One has to act calm, although inside one might be nervous.  A good mechanic will deal the game correctly “and” cheat the players.  The mechanic should deal in the same manner as the regular dealers.  A mechanic should not appear to be using dealing moves that the regular dealers do not, like implementing phony stalls that somebody who really understands how the game is dealt would wonder about and be suspicious.

It can be nerve wracking with many things to think of when going for the green.  Most likely there would be one big player the mechanic will be focused on.  The smaller players, at the time, would not be important because the mechanic is concentrating on the big bettor.  A good technique is to concentrate on setting the big bettor on a stiff, a bad hand.  I would, for example, “carry” on the first go-round, pitching cards to the players, a six or a five for the big bettor as his first card.  Then on the second go-round, I would drop a card short in front of a player before I got to the big bettor.  I made this look like I didn’t control the card correctly, didn’t pitch it far enough.  This gives a mechanic the opportunity to turn his deck-hand upside down to shove the player’s card all the way to her with his index finger and simultaneously peek at the back of the deck to ascertain the value of what the next card or cards are.  “Carrying” cards for the big bettor is taking dead aim at him or her.  If all the players are betting about the same amount, the mechanic will concentrate on his own hand, trying to show the players 20 every hand.  Nobody can beat a dealer making 20 or 21 every hand.

Dropping cards short or moving chips in the rack, allows the mechanic to move his hands in front of his eyes.  A good mechanic will never move his eyes to the deck.  It is not natural to keep glancing at the deck while waiting for somebody to ask for a hit-card.  It is natural to straighten up a players bet and simultaneously peek at the next card.   This way the mechanics moves his hands in front of his eyes.  This is not obvious and is natural.

A card purposely dropped short allows the mechanic to shove the card that was dropped short, toward the player with the index finger of his deck-hand moving his deck-hand in front of his eyes and peek at the next card or two coming.  Hopefully one of them will be a nine or ten, maybe and eight, and that card would be ‘held” as the top card, while the mechanic continues on the go-round and carrying that nine, ten, or eight for the big bettor.  The mechanic would know what the value of the big bettors hand was. If he had saved and carried a ten for him, he would know the big bettor had 16.  Next, he would search for a card with a value of six or more when the players were asking for hit-cards.  When a player busts her hand, this is the perfect time for the mechanic to move his hands in front of his eyes to peek at the cards coming.  If the big bettor asks for a card, the deck-hand should drop down to the layout—the felt table-top— and very slowly give him the top card so the high roller can see very plainly see he is getting the top card, not a second.  If the big bettor does not want a hit-card the mechanic just needs a card for his hand that would make a hand of 17 or better.

Another trick  I used to use was to announce out loud that I had 20 or some pat hand when I really did—knowing the big bettor had 16. The players would look at me when I said I had 20 and I’d tell them that I really did have 20.  After doing this a few times, they were believers when I turned over my hole card and they saw I was telling the truth, I had a pat hand, the hand I had told them.  But, you see, I was saving a bust card for the big player.  He’d hit his hand and bust.  Then I’d turn over my cards and the big player could see I was his friend, trying to help him to make a toke (tip) for myself.

When I was working as a Mechanic, a mechanic could do or say whatever he wanted, as the bosses behaved like they didn’t know anything was going on and pretty much ignored what the mechanic was doing.  If the mechanic got caught the bosses could cower and say they didn’t know what was going on.  However, there were some bosses that really had some nerve and would belly right up on the game to enjoy watching me, and talk to the players while I was working them over.

The “heel” peek was my favorite although I did use the bubble peek, too. The heel peek is when the mechanic peeks at the card at the back of the deck.  Assuming a right handed dealer again, the mechanic will turn his hand upside down many times while dealing.

Reader, yes you.  Pick up a deck of cards and hold the deck in your left hand.  Turn it upside down and notice the numbers on the card are located under the heel of your thumb.  With a lot of practice you can learn how to squeeze the deck to make the top card, by the heel of your thumb, pop out to ascertain if you want this card for yourself or to give to a player.  Usually, when dealing seconds, the second-card is always for the player, as the mechanic is saving the top card for himself.

How does the dealer know what he has in the hole?  Remember the “go-round?”  If there are five players sitting at the game the mechanic, on the go-round, will have to deal 11 second- cards and the card he was holding for himself making it his hole card.  It doesn’t matter what the dealers up card is because he/she knows what the hole card is.  This is when the dealer will begin peeking at cards.  Example, the dealer has six up and knows he/she has a ten in the hole for a total of 16.  The mechanic will be looking and, ideally, find a five, but settle for a four or a three.  The settling depends on how many players are going to be asking for cards.  If the mechanic can see that four people are going to be asking for cards, and he/she finds a card right away with the value of three, he/she will hit the player with that three, and chance it that he will find a card of a higher value.  Say subsequent to the three the dealer sees a four or a five, he will “hold” that four or five and begin to give players their hit cards.  The players will now receive the second card from the top, as the mechanic is holding the top card for himself.

When it is time for the mechanic to give himself a card, the mechanic should drop his deck-hand down low to the table top and very slowly so all the players can see, take the top card for himself.

Players’ are confused as to who gets the second card.  They don’t realize the notion of the mechanic dealing the second card is one of saving the top card for himself.  Players might watch for a second card when the dealer hits his own hand because they don’t understand that all the second-cards have already been dealt.

When I couldn’t find a card in time that would give me a strong hand and I had a ten up and low card in the hole, I’d save a face card or ten to switch my hole card with.  Switching the hole-card is a very strong move and will certainly get the money.

Between dealing seconds, switching the hole-card and running up hands the players didn’t have a chance.

A mechanic or cheater who is excellent at home or while practicing with friends, but panics when under the gun in live action is sometimes referred to as a “gymnasium fighter.”  The term gymnasium fighter is a disparaging remark about a person who is an excellent prizefighter in the gym with a sparring partner, but when it’s time for live action in the ring against a real prizefighter coming after him, he can’t cut it.


§ 3 Responses to Dealing to a Peek.

  • Jane says:

    This was clearly written, and the picture demonstration, gave me a perfect understanding of how the mechanics worked. I have been living in Vegas, so have heard of this being done. I have been reading your blogs, and like your stories. You had mentioned that you have written a book soon to be available, when will this be, for I will surely buy your book.

    • Jane:

      Thanks for your kind words. I hope to have the book up on Amazon for the Kindle e-reader in less than a month. I will most likely put it on Amazon using their Print on Demand (POD) feature, also.

      Edward Curley

  • Fascinating stuff. It’s no wonder that pictures of all the big winners in a casino can fit on one little wall by the bathrooms.

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