CasinoCityTimes.com

Gurus
News
Newsletter
Author Home Author Archives Author Books Send to a Friend Search Articles Subscribe
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Newsletter Signup
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Recent Articles
Best of Fred Renzey

Gaming Guru

 

How Should You Handle These Blackjack Situations?

11 March 2006

These days, every blackjack player seems to be a self-proclaimed authority on the game. The other day, other players criticized how I played three times in my first four hands.

On my very first hand of the day, right off the top of the shoe I was dealt 12 against the dealer's 3 and hit it. Of course, I caught a 10 and the dealer would've bust had I not hit. That brought a crescendo of admonishment from the armchair quarterbacks at the table.

Folks, please understand something. The dealer will break only 37% of the time with a 3 up. That's how often you'll win that hand if you stand. You'll win it more often by hitting. This is basic stuff! Get it down!

Next hand, I had a pair of 4s against the dealer's 7. I hit twice and wound up looking at 4/4/4/4. My next hit busted me again and the woman on my right murmured, "You know the next card's gotta' be a big one – no sense in hitting it anymore".

Fact is, there's a lot of sense in hitting that hand. You know how often the dealer breaks with a 7 up? Twenty-six percent of the time. Even with those four 4s gone from the shoe, 38% of the hit cards would keep me alive in the hand – and most of those would win it for me! Please don't ever, ever stand with any kind of 16 against a dealer's 7. That's the mark of a real amateur.

Two hands later, I was dealt a pair of 5s against the dealer's 10 up. I hit and caught a third 5, then hit again and caught an Ace. There I was, sitting with everybody's favorite hand – 16 against a 10. You know what I did? I stood, of course. Seem like the wrong play to you? It sure did to the others at my table.

Let me explain something. If you have 10/6 against a dealer's 10 and hit it, you'll win 93 times out of 400 – that's all. If you stand, you'll win 92 out of 400, because that's how often the dealer actually breaks her 10. This is how close it is when your 16 is made up of 10/6.

But if you've got 5/5/5/A, things have more than flip-flopped. Three cards that would've given you 21 are now dead (the 5s). Plus, that 10 and 6 that would've been dead if you had 10/6 are back in the shoe, available to bust you if you hit. Basic strategy that has been fine-tuned to take your card composition into account says to stand with 16 against a 10 if your 16 contains any 4s or 5s. But most players never get to that level in their game.

So how'd that hand work out for me? I lost it and took a few more jabs from the other blackjack "studs" at my table.

Along about then, the pit boss came by and "generously" asked if we wanted a No-Mid-Shoe sign. How would you answer?

I said I didn't need one, but the other players outvoted me. Like most superstitious gamblers, they wanted to "preserve" the "sacred" order of 312 randomly shuffled cards so as not to "curse" the players.

In fact, one local casino in my area has now gone "No-Mid-Shoe" at all their "21" tables, regardless of stakes. They even advertise for players to come in and enjoy the "benefit" of No-Mid-Shoe blackjack. How ironic! The casinos enforce rules to insulate themselves from the maneuvers of alert, skillful players and the superstitious losers think it's being done to protect them.

A little while later, first base was dealt 7 against a deuce. He hit twice to make 12 and then stood. Remembering how I was chided for hitting 12 against a 3 earlier, I commented, "You don't hit 12 against a deuce either?" He replied, "Usually I do, but two straight small cards just came and every third card is always a 10".

For the record, there's a huge difference between nearly one third of all the cards being 10s -- and every third card being a 10. The fact is, when two small cards have just come, the next card will be a 10 only 31% of the time!

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