BLACKJACK ANSWER MAN By John Grochowski
casinoanswerman@casinoanswerman.com.
About 30.8 percent of the time, the down card is going to be a 10-value. When that happens, the dealer who starts with a 7 has 17, and the dealer who has a 10 up has 20. That’s just part of the overall picture, but will more often wind up with a higher-ranking hand when starting with 10 than when starting with 7. And what happens if we don’t bust when hitting with 16? That means drawing an Ace, 2, 3, 4 or 5. One-fifth of the times we don’t bust on 16 are hands in which we draw Aces, for a total of 17. That 17 has a chance to push if the dealer has a 10 down (i.e, hole card) to a 7, but loses when the dealer has a 10 down to a 10. If you draw a 2, you win if the dealer has 10 down to a 7, but lose if the dealer has 10 down to a 10. If you draw a 3, you win against 7-10, but lose to 10-10. On 4, you have 20, beating 7-10, but pushing 10-10. With 5, finally, you have 21, a winner either way. So, if the dealer has 10 down and you don’t bust, you push one-fifth of the time and win four-fifths if the dealer has 7 up, but lose three-fifths of the time, push one-fifth and win just one-fifth of the time when the dealer starts with 10. Yes, there are more possibilities when the dealer has cards other than a 10 face down, but the bottom line is that we win more often if we don’t bust when the dealer has 7 up than when he or she has 10. The potential for gain is much higher if we’re facing a dealer’s 7 than if we’re facing a dealer’s 10. That shows up in card counting systems. A Hi-Lo counter will stand on 16 vs. 10 at a true count of plus 1, but will keep hitting 16 vs. 7. Wins are seldom enough that some counters, such as your friend, will stand on 16 vs. 10 just to throw the pit crew and surveillance off the scent. It’s a low-cost move that is counter to basic strategy and might help convince the crew that your friend is no threat.
On Michael Shackelford’s wizardofodds.com, there’s a handy-dandy chart on the effect of card removal in blackjack. Removing a 10-value card per deck from play, increases the house edge by nearly half a percent --- 0.4932 percent. That would be the effect of removing a single King from a single-deck game, or two Kings from double-deck, six Kings from six decks, and so on. Remove all four Kings from a single-deck game, or all 24 from a six-decker, and that’s nearly a 2 percent swing. That’s almost half again as bad as the 1.4 percent increase in house edge that comes with paying only 6-5 on blackjacks, and we know how tough that is on players. If there really are 10-value cards missing from a deck, you don’t want to play.
A 12 vs. 4 is a close call hand, one where Fred Renzey’s It could well be that the other player was making good, advanced plays. Even if he was just playing hunches, it’s nothing for you to sweat. If another player’s decisions bother you to the point it’s affecting your concentration or enjoyment, change tables. The other guy’s doing nothing wrong.
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