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By Fred Renzey

Fred Renzey is an "advantage" blackjack player, and author of the highly rated "Blackjack Bluebook II Ė The Simplest Winning Strategies Ever Published", a vividly detailed 217 page handbook for casino "21". BJI readers can purchase the book at 10% discount in our store by clicking here.


The majority of players believe itís morally right to keep a mistaken payoff from a blackjack dealer on a hand they actually lost. After all, they say, itís the casinoís responsibility to collect all losing bets, and if the dealer makes a mistake, thereís no obligation to point it out.

Iíve always opposed that point of view, and call out any mistake I notice on my hand, whether it went for me or against me. But thatís a whole other story. Still, thereís another facet of the game that Iím not too sure about the ethics of Ė and this oneís worth more than just keeping a mistaken payoff every once in a great while. Yet, I willfully take part in this strategic, though questionable practice, on a regular basis. What is it?

Well, a good blackjack player should know that whenever heís dealt a pair of 2ís, 3ís, 6ís or 7ís against a dealers 2 or 3 up, heís an underdog whether he hits, stands or splits. Basic blackjack strategy says to split all those hands simply because that happens to be the play that loses the least. But I repeat -- those hands are statistical losers no matter how you play them!

So when Iím dealt one of those hands, looking uncertain about what to do, Iíll ask the table what the correct play is. Somebody practically always knows you should split, and is usually eager to boast that sage advice. That same somebody, however, never seems to realize that even the correct move is still a "moneyloser," rather than a "moneymaker." So Iíll generally ask the advisor if he wants to go partners on my split. (i.e., put up the secondary wager for the split).

After just having flaunted his blackjack prowess about a hand that looks pretty decent on the surface, he usually canít resist taking me up on my offer. Now, what Iíve done is relieve myself of half my financial liability on an overall losing hand!

I generally feel comfortable with this coup, win or lose. Itís well within the rules of the game and saves me money Ė albeit at another playerís expense. I normally experience no guilt over "snookering" somebody this way, largely because he never wouldíve taken me up on my offer if he didnít think he was about to make money on my blackjack ignorance. Besides that (and this doesnít make it any more right), such advisors are often the socially aggressive type who lambaste people for making a play contrary to their standards, and openly blame them for his own losses because the "sacred order" of the cards got "messed up".

But the other night was different...

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