Reading Bent Cards in Blackjack
There is another trick the professionals use to gain a slight advantage over the house. The number of times is usually small,
but you should be aware of them in case you run into a favorable situation where this trick can be used. It also involves
getting information from the dealer looking at the hole card. What you are looking for here are bent cards.
Think for a moment about how cards might get bent in a Blackjack game. If it is a face-down game, you could bend them while you hold them, but this is considered cheating (it's like marking the cards). Or the dealer can bend them while shuffling and checking his hole card for a Blackjack. Since the dealer must check his hole card for every Ace or 10 up, these cards get bent after being in play for a while. The Ace or 10 gets bent face up like a rocking-chair rocker, while the hole card gets bent in the opposite direction. But while the hole card is picked from the whole deck, the up card is always an Ace or 10. If you begin seeing any cards that have the rocking-chair curve, however slight, you can be fairly certain they are Aces or 10s. Since there are four 10s for every Ace, 80 per cent of the bent cards will be 10s.
You can use this information to your advantage when you notice that the dealer has a bent down card. This gives you a fairly accurate estimate of the dealer's hand. You have to see this before the dealer checks for a Blackjack, or else the slight bend will be gone. If you are tracking the cards in a face-down game, you can also use the bent-card information to guess what the other players are holding and modify your play accordingly.
The problem with this bent-card strategy is that its application is so infrequent. If the dealer does not take a hole card, then there is no bending of the cards. If the dealer gives the cards a hard shuffle, the bending is destroyed. A four-deck game also reduces the amount of bending that is likely to take place for an individual Ace or 10.
Also, if the casino is sharp and rotates a new deck in the game every hour or less, the cards probably will not have had enough time to get noticeably bent.
It is best to locate a single-deck hole-card game where the dealer really bends the hole card back during his peek. Try to find a table where the deck is a little dirty around the edges from handling. This tells you that the deck has been in play
for quite some time. Make certain the dealer doesn't shuffle the decks too hard. A soft, easy shuffle doesn't destroy the
cards' "memory" for a bend. And if there are only one or two players at the table, this is ideal. The fewer the players, the
more dealer hands that have been dealt, and the more often the dealer has had to bend the Aces or 10s checking the hole card.
Reading whatever bend is in this type of game gives you another edge in becoming a winning Blackjack player.