What is ‘Front-Loading’?
‘Front-loading’ is a term used in the game of blackjack. It denotes a legal maneuver a player can use to gain an advantage within a round. It basically means that a player is able to glance and see the dealer’s ‘hole-card’ (undrawn, face down card) from the front of the table before they have dealt it face up.
Within a round of blackjack, the dealer will deal a ‘hole-card’. This is usually tucked beneath the face-up card that has already been dealt and seen by the players within the game. If the dealer is new, or careless, the players around the table can sometimes get a glimpse of this ‘hole-card’ while it’s being dealt face-down. This can then give an advantage to the players that have seen it, as they now have a better idea of the type of hand the dealer is going to get.
Even though ‘front-loading’ is not illegal, casinos have cottoned on to the practice and now train their dealers to make them aware of how to deal ‘hole-cards’, without players catching sight of them.
To successfully ‘front-load’, you are better off seated right in front of the dealer (at the front of the table), slouching slightly so you’re eye level with any ‘hole-cards’ being ‘loaded’ (tucked under the face-up card). ‘Front-loading’ is actually easier for short people to do, as they arouse less suspicion.
There have been court cases in the United States regarding certain methods of ‘cheating’ in blackjack, but the courts has ruled that, as the defendants didn’t bring or use a device to cheat within the casino, ‘front-loading’ is more down to the dealer’s carelessness than any wrongdoing on the player’s part. ‘Front-loading’ only applies to live blackjack with a live dealer, clearly it cannot be used in online games.