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Best of Fred Renzey

Gaming Guru

 

Blackjack Quiz

23 February 2003

I've never met a blackjack player who thought he was a poor player. Yet, even most experienced players have several misconceptions about the game that cause them to make costly mistakes.

Let's try to separate the solid players from the pseudo-experts with the following quiz. None of the questions are very high tech; just basic stuff that every good player should know. The answers will follow at the end.

1) Which dealer's up-card(s) will cause him to bust more than 50% of the time?

  1. the 6
  2. the 5 and 6
  3. the 4, 5 and 6
  4. there aren't any

2) Which soft hands are best for doubling down?

  1. none of them
  2. Ace/2 & Ace/3
  3. Ace/4 & Ace/5
  4. Ace/6 & Ace/7

3) Overall, the dealer will have a 10 in the hole just about:

  1. 75% of the time
  2. 60% of the time
  3. 45% of the time
  4. 30% of the time

4) When you have a multi-card 16 like 4/5/3/4 you should:

  1. hit against a dealer's 7 or higher
  2. stand against the 7, but hit against 8 or higher
  3. stand against the 7 and 8, but hit against 9 or higher
  4. hit against a 7, 8, 9 or Ace, but stand against the 10

5) You're playing two hands and have a blackjack and a 16. The dealer has an Ace up. You should:

  1. take even money on your blackjack and decline insurance on the 16
  2. take even money on blackjack and insure the 16 as well
  3. decline even money on blackjack but insure the 16
  4. decline both even money and insurance

6) When you have 17 and the dealer has a 5 up:

  1. you're a big favorite to win
  2. you're a small favorite to win
  3. you're a dead 50-50 shot
  4. you're a small underdog in the hand

7) You have 15 against the dealer's 4 up and stand. Third base has 12 and is about to act. How do you want him to play his hand so as to maximize your chances to win your own bet?

  1. double down for less
  2. stand
  3. hit
  4. you couldn't care less

8) You have a pair of 7s against the dealer's 3. Your optimal play would be to:

  1. split
  2. stand
  3. hit
  4. sell one of your 7s to the player next to you





ANSWERS:

Very simple -- all the correct answers are answer "D". Here's a brief explanation of each.

1) The dealer will break just under 43% of the time with a 5 or a 6 up -- less than that with any other up-card.

2) When you have Ace/2 through Ace/5, eight hit cards will leave you with a stiff and only five cards will make you 17 or better. With Ace/6 and Ace/7, it's the other way around.

3) Since 30% of all the cards are 10s, that's how often the dealer will have one in the hole. Why would you think anything else?

4) Against the 10 up, you're in such bad shape with those dead 4s and 5s up there that you shouldn't even try to make a hand any more. But against the other up cards, even catching a deuce or a 3 would be of serious help.

5) Taking insurance and even money are exactly the same bet. You're simply betting the dealer has a 10 in the hole. Both bets are always either good or bad at the same time as each other and 93% of the time, they're both bad.

6) It all goes back to question #1. Don't expect to win your hand just because the dealer is showing a bad card. In this spot, you'll win 43, lose 46 and tie 11 out of 100 hands.

7) Third base's decisions do help or hinder his own chances because he's actually massaging the value of his own hand. Understand, however, that his decisions do not influence the dealer's chances to make a good or bad hand. That part is always blind chance. Since this second part is true, you have no idea which way third base's play will turn out best for you.

8) Many proper basic strategy splits are proper only because they lose less money than if you didn't split. Two 7s against a dealer's 3 is one such hand. You'd lose even less, however, if the player next to you would be nice enough to take one of your 7s off your hands. It's called "pawning" your losing splits.


For more information about blackjack, we recommend:

Blackjack Bluebook: The Right Stuff for the Serious Player by Fred Renzey
Best Blackjack by Frank Scoblete
The Morons of Blackjack and Other Monsters! by Frank Scoblete
Winning Strategies at Blackjack! Video tape hosted by Academy Award Winner James Coburn, Written by Frank Scoblete
Fred Renzey
Fred Renzey is a high-stakes, expert poker player. On a daily basis he faces--and beats--some of the best players in the country in fierce poker room competition. Now for the first time, Renzey offers his perceptive insights on how to play winning poker. For Fred's 13-page blackjack booklet "Ace/10 Front Count", send $9 to Fred Renzey, P.O. Box 598, Elk Grove Village, IL, 60009

Books by Fred Renzey:

> More Books By Fred Renzey

Fred Renzey
Fred Renzey is a high-stakes, expert poker player. On a daily basis he faces--and beats--some of the best players in the country in fierce poker room competition. Now for the first time, Renzey offers his perceptive insights on how to play winning poker. For Fred's 13-page blackjack booklet "Ace/10 Front Count", send $9 to Fred Renzey, P.O. Box 598, Elk Grove Village, IL, 60009

Books by Fred Renzey:

Blackjack Bluebook II

> More Books By Fred Renzey