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By Henry Tamburin

Henry Tamburin is an accomplished blackjack player, editor of the Blackjack Insider newsletter, and host of He is a featured blackjack writer for numerous regional and national magazines.

Note: This is the send part of a two-part article on 2015 Blackjack Ball. Part 1 appeared in March issue of BJI.

Picking up where I left off last month, as promised, you will find below the questions and the answers to the challenging 21-question test given to the attendees at the Blackjack Ball. Give yourself one point for each correct answer. (If you got 12 or more correct, you did better than all the blackjack pros that took the test.)

The four players (many used pseudonyms) who had the most correct answers were Rick Blaine (11.5), Tony (10.5), WRX (10), and Richie Rich (9.5). These four finalists advanced to the card-skills part of the competition that involved card counting, card memorization, reading the shoe, and more.

Here are several examples of what the skills part of the competition entailed. In one contest, the four finalists had to rapidly count down a partial deck of cards using the Hi-Lo card counting system, including keeping a side count of sevens, and then say what the count was and the exact number of remaining sevens in the pack of unseen cards. In another, Max spread a shuffled deck of cards face up on the layout, gave the contestants about 30 seconds to memorize the order of the cards, then stacked the deck face down, and each contestant in turn had to say what the rank of each card was in the stack in order. (Amazingly, all four contestants correctly named the first 13 cards; on the 14th card, only one contestant got it right.) In another competition, each player had five seconds to cut exactly 22 cards out of a double-deck of cards. (One player missed by one card; several others were off by three cards). (Note: If you think these contests are easy, try them at home.)

The winner of this year's Grosjean Cup was Rick Blaine, and the second place winner of the Munchkin Award was Richie Rich. (Note: Rick Blaine is the author of the book, Blackjack Blueprint).


Blackjack Ball 2015

Round One Questions and Answers

  1. True or False: This one comes from James Grosjean, so you'd better pay attention. In a heads-up, two-deck, H17 game, with one card to split Aces, you make a $100 bet off the top as well as a $100 cover bet on the Lucky Ladies, with the 1000:1 payout schedule, and 4:1 on Any 20, and 9:1 on suited 20s. You get an Ace as your first card but the dealer forgets to burn a card and the moron boss declares a dead hand so you leave in disgust. Here's your True or False Question: Whether the Round would have been profitable or not, in EV, depends on whether the game allows you to Resplit Aces. True or False?

    We used dollar amounts in this question to simplify the answer: The Lucky Lucky Ladies bet costs you $51.46. With Resplit Aces, the Ace would earn $52.07, for a net Expected Profit of 61 cents. Without the resplit option, the Ace earns only $51.39, which is not enough to recoup the Lucky Ladies loss, so whether the round is profitable DOES depend on whether you can resplit Aces; therefore, the answer to number 1 is True.

  2. The Blackjack Cup Trophy is named after BJ Hall of Famer James Grosjean, who won so many times that we had to tell him, "Sir, your game is simply too good for us, but you're welcome to wager on other players if you'd like and we're renaming the coveted trophy the Grosjean Cup." Which of the following statements about Mr. Grosjean is true?
    1. He once guarded Paris Hilton from paparazzi as she tried to eat a hot dog on the street.
    2. He wrapped Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller in saran-wrap.
    3. He once started a fire in Seahawks wide receiver Sidney Rice's kitchen. And it wasn't on the stove or in a fireplace.
    4. He dated a porn star who has multiple AVN-award nominations.
    5. He had necrotizing fasciitis, sometimes called "flesh-eating bacteria."
    6. They are all true.

    And here you guys thought...

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