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Best of Fred Renzey

Gaming Guru

 

Four blackjack questions that separate the men from the boys

19 October 2007

Casino blackjack is an entirely beatable game, but do you have what it takes to beat it? We've been over the vital stuff many times in this column, but I see very few players who have a realistic chance of winning when I'm in the casinos.

So I'm going to print four very critical multiple choice questions for you. If you don't answer all four of them correctly, you're playing right into the casino's hands and have no long-range chance to win. Either re-tool your game according to what actually matters, or remain a confused loser for the rest of your blackjack life. Ready? Go!

1) You're playing your first hand off the top of a six-deck shoe at a seven-handed table. The dealer has an Ace up. Of all seven starting hands, there's not a single 10 on the table. You have A/9. Your correct play is to:

  1. Take Insurance regardless of your hand since a 10 is due.
  2. Refuse Insurance regardless of your hand.
  3. Take Insurance because you have 20.
  4. Take Insurance for just one-fourth of your bet.

2) You and your mother sit down at a blackjack table with you at first base and Mom at third. You bet $500 while Mom bets the $10 minimum. You're dealt 11 and Mom has 12. The dealer's got a 3 up. You double down, but catch a stupid deuce. How can Mom best play her $10 hand to help her son win $1000 with 13?

  1. Stand according to the cardinal rule of not taking the dealer's bust card.
  2. Hit because that would be Mom's correct basic strategy and playing her hand correctly is most likely to bring the best results not only to Mom, but to all others at the table.
  3. There's nothing Mom can do to improve your chances of winning your hand. So it makes no difference to you what she does.

3) You sit down at a $50 table where it's customary for players to receive more personalized treatment. The floorman comes over holding a sign and cordially invites you to make it a "No-Mid-Shoe" table -- which forbids any new players from entering the game until the next shuffle. The main accomplishment of a "No-Mid-Shoe-Entry" sign is that it:

  1. Keeps the game shorthanded, which in turn causes the cards to be dealt more truly to form.
  2. Pampers high rolling customers with nearly useless perks, while stopping expert players from jumping in with big bets when the shoe turns advantageous for the players.
  3. Stops new players from barging in during the shoe and corrupting the natural order of the cards, which works against the current players.

4) You're standing behind a blackjack table, scouting the action and looking for a good place to sit down and play. On the first hand of the shoe, the dealer has a deuce up. First base splits a pair of 4s, catches a 5 on each 4, doubles down on both 9s and makes two 15s. The next player doubles down with 8, but catches a 3, sticking him with 11. Center field stands with 12, then third base splits a pair of 5s. He catches a 7 on each 5 and proceeds to double down on both 12s, finally ending up with two hands below 17. The dealer promptly rips off a five-card 21. What's your move?

  1. Dive right in and play two hands at a time, betting extra on each hand.
  2. This table is filled with morons. Run for your life!
  3. Watch the next few hands to see if the dealer cools off.
  4. Wait until the kamikaze at third base leaves, so he won't kill everybody else, then sit down in his seat and control the cards.

Check in for the correct answers and explanations next week.

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

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