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by Henry Tamburin

Note: Henry Tamburin is the Editor of the Blackjack Insider newsletter and host of

The next time you belly up to the bar with a friend or co-worker who thinks he knows everything about the game of blackjack, ask Mr. Know-It-All a few of these questions.

How did the game of blackjack get its name?

When "21" was initially introduced in the United States in gambling houses, it wasnít very popular. So casino operators offered a 10-1 bonus payout if a player received an ace of spades and a black-colored jack (i.e., either a jack of spades or jack of clubs). This hand was called a "blackjack" and the name stuck to the game even though the bonus payout was eventually abolished and subsequently replaced with the traditional 3-2 bonus payout.

In a single-deck game, what is the maximum number of cards that could comprise a dealerís hand of 18?

Ten cards. The dealer would have to have the following hand: 2, 2, 2, 2, 3, A, A, A, A, 3.

Who were "The Four Horsemen of Aberdeen," and what important contribution did they make to the game of blackjack?

The Four Horsemen were Roger Baldwin, Wilbert Cantey, James McDermott, and Herbert Maisel. In 1956, using nothing more than desk calculators, they developed and published the first reasonably accurate basic playing strategy for blackjack.

Who invented and published the first card counting system for blackjack?

Dr. Edward Thorp is universally regarded as the "father of blackjack card counting."

What was the name of Thorpís classic book on card counting?

The name of the book is "Beat the Dealer." The book was published in 1962, and it quickly made the New York Times list of best-selling books. It still is one of the all-time best-selling books on blackjack.

What does a new 52-card deck of Bee playing cards weigh?

It weighs 3.4 ounces.

How frequently does a player get dealt a blackjack hand?

About once in every 21 hands, or roughly 4.8 percent of the time. (For single-deck itís 4.8%, rounded 4.8265%. But for 6-deck, 4.7489% rounds to 4.7%.)

What is the chance that you could lose three consecutive hands at blackjack, if pushes are excluded?

You have a 14 percent chance of losing three hands in a row, excluding pushes.

For every 100 hands that you play, using proper basic strategy, how many will you bust?

You will bust about 16 hands on average out of every 100 hands played, using proper basic strategy.

What is the more profitable hand for a blackjack player, a two-card hand that totals 11 or a pair of Aces?

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