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PLAYING STRATEGY FOR

DOUBLING AFTER SPLITTING ACES

by Monkeysystem

Monkeysystem has been playing advantage blackjack recreationally for many years.  Early in his career he used High-low and AOII, and then simplified things, switching to Knockout a few years ago and getting better results.  He started playing tournaments in 2004 and has cashed in several, including two of the last three Blackjack Blowout events at St. Ignace, Michigan. In this article, Monkeysystem reviews Kewadin Sault Ste Marieís Blackjack Blowout event held in June, 2010.

Editorís Note: In BJI #127 contained an article by Monkeysystem titled:TOURNAMENT REVIEW: KEWADIN SAULT STE MARIE BJ TOURNAMENT. At the end of the article, Monkeysystem described a playing strategy for a new rule that he noticed at the Kewadin casino. Inadvertently, we published an early draft of that strategy when we distributed the BJI to our subscribers. What follows is the updated playing strategy for doubling down after splitting aces.

Double After Split Ace Strategy

Hereís a strategy for the Kewadin casino chainís unusual blackjack rule regarding split aces. In this rule, you may double down on your new hands after you split aces, but you cannot resplit aces or take simple hits on the new hands. The dealers are trained to refer to this as "buying another card" and you can do this for a minimum bet, up to the amount of the original bet. If you know of any casinos outside the Kewadin chain with this rule, send me a private message at blackjacktournaments.com. "Buying" another card for the minimum bet or anything less than your original bet is doubling for less. Doubling for less might occasionally be a smart play in a tournament, but you should not normally do this in a live game. However, in a game in which you can double down after splitting aces, but cannot take a hit, doubling for less is sometimes the best play. 

You will double down on more of your split ace hands than you would with normal soft hands. The reason in regular basic strategy that some soft hands are not doubled down against some small dealer cards is that the increase in expected value is overcome by the decrease in your probability of winning the hand by denying yourself the opportunity to take second and subsequent hits. For example, if you double A-4 against dealer 3, you might get an ace or deuce. The resulting low hands are weak against a dealer 3 and you would be better off being able to take another hit. The loss of this opportunity costs you more EV than any marginal increase in EV you get from doubling your bet.

At the Kewadin chain, however, you canít take second and subsequent hits because itís not allowed in the rules. The only consideration in the decision to double down is if one additional card with doubled money yields higher EV than just leaving the hand alone. As in normal situations, you will not double down on high soft hands such as A-9 because the potential disruption of this strong starting hand negates the potential advantage of getting extra money on the table.

It is noteworthy that some of these double downs are actually negative EV plays. In these situations, you minimize your loss by doubling for less for the minimum bet. The rest are positive EV plays and you maximize your gain by doubling for your full bet.

After splitting aces, you will not double any hand against dealer...

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