Pressing a Bet



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In blackjack, when a player catches a natural (Ace and 10-card) the player is suppose to show the cards to the dealer, so that the dealer can settle the bet before other players start playing their hands. At a busy table a cheat may have a small window of opportunity to increase his bet, after his hand has already won. This maneuver is called "pressing" or "capping" a bet. Pressing a natural is a tempting situation because all naturals pay 3 to 2.

In this video the player places three black chips ($300) in the betting area. The dealer is unaware of the fact the player has another black chip palmed in his right hand. The cheat intends to use this chip only if he catches a natural, which he does (AS, JC). At this point the player should show the cards to the dealer and collect 3 to 2. Most players do so by casually tossing the cards face-up over the insurance area.

On this video, however, the player first squares up the two cards and then places them neatly in front of the bet. The player then "suddenly realizes" that the cards are not spread apart and the dealer may not be able to see the Ace under the Jack. He then reaches over to spread the cards, but in doing so his hand momentarily covers the wager, which gives him a split-second opportunity to drop the palmed chip on top of the existing bet.

This move virtually has no vulnerable angles. However, it is still not 100% fool-proof. First of all, it is one of the best-known pressing moves and the security personnel are on the lookout for players spreading their naturals in this manner. Basically the actions that the cheat has to perform to facilitate the execution of this move are also dead giveaways, even if no one can see the actual chip land on top of the stack.

Furthermore, it is almost impossible to control exactly how the chip will land on top. Casino chips have design elements that make it possible to see the orientation of the chip. In the video, the original top chip is rotated so that the lower stripe is roughly at the 7 o'clock position. After the press, the chip seems to have rotated two steps counterclockwise, and the lower stripe is seen near the 5 o'clock position. Also note that I accidentally flashed the palmed chip while checking my cards. I discovered this mistake while reviewing the video clips, and decided to leave it in. In my case the mistake doesn't make a big difference because the purpose of the video is to expose the move. If such a mistake is caught by a surveillance camera then it's another story.