MR. SMITH’S "AUTO PILOT" PERIL
by The Babe
"The Babe" is a dedicated Tournament Blackjack veteran. He was attracted to the game at the start of the 80’s and has undoubtedly participated in more major blackjack tournaments than anyone. He learned the game the hard way…….from his own mistakes, and has won his way to the televised tables of The Hilton Million Dollar II Tournament, the Ultimate Blackjack Tour on CBS, and the World Series of Blackjack on GSN. He still competes, and has three major titles to his credit in the past three years.
Regular followers of this column may be looking for a part 2 on the subject of splitting Aces, but that is still in the works and the following topic seemed timelier. This is a comment on, or addition to, last month’s Blackjack Insider entrée from Kenneth R. Smith, titled Automatic Pilot, which was a most excellent offering.
It deals with the last three hands of an actual tournament round, where Mr. Smith claims his best bets were exactly determined by the actions of his opponents, and any experienced player would do the same thing that he did. The first two hands were indeed automatic, and I almost instantly made my imaginary bet only to read on and find that Mr. Smith had indeed made the same bet. (From here on, I will refer to Mr. Smith as "Ken." Ken is shorter to type, and that is what I call him when I see him. Fortunately, he in turn does NOT call me "Babe".)
When it came to his last hand bet, I had to pause and reflect over more than one possibility, and was about to go in another direction when I read that Ken categorized his opponents as "inexperienced." Then I quickly placed my last imaginary bet, and (Lo and Behold) it was identical to Ken’s. So what more is there to discuss, you ask?
My interest has remained peaked across the past three decades by asking questions of myself about a fascinating game that I consider to be more strategic, and have more potential variations and "situations," than the game of chess. Ken is undoubtedly the best tournament blackjack analyst there has ever been, but my questions usually differ from his. In short, there is always more to discuss!
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