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Best of Fred Renzey

Gaming Guru

 

Lose Those Dumb Blackjack Myths

20 August 2006

Don't take the dealer's bust card. Never change the order of the cards. Always take even money – it's a sure thing. Figure the dealer for a 10 in the hole.

It's a shame to say it, but these false beliefs are cornerstones upon which losing blackjack strategy is built. Let's review them one at a time.

The dealer's got a 10 in the hole: Most players heard this incorrect advice when they first started playing the game – and insist on sticking with it all the way to the poor house. For example, many players will look at this hand:

DEALER
?/2

PLAYER
10/2

……and call it, "12 against a 12". That gets them into trouble right there. Sure, there are four times as many 10s in a blackjack deck as any other card – but there are still over twice as many other cards as 10s. Fact is, since only 30% of all the cards are 10s, the dealer will have some other card in the hole 70% of the time.

Get this straight. A dealer's deuce up is not 12 – it's 2. In fact, she's more likely to have 7 through 11 (with a 5, 6, 7, 8, or 9 in the hole) than 12.

Just remember this. Every time the dealer has an Ace up, the house will lay you 2-to-1 odds that the 10 isn't in the hole. Why do you suppose they're doing that? So get that "dealer's 10 in the hole" mentality out of your head and play your hands right.

Always take even money: When players are dealt a blackjack and the dealer's got an Ace up, 95% of them will take the sure thing – even money. They couldn't live with themselves if they just sat tight and ended up pushing when the dealer turned up a 10 in the hole – which happens 3 times out of 10.

The curious thing is, these same players show no remorse at all over those 7 other times out of 10 when they ended up throwing away an extra half a bet (because of no blackjack). Some fourth grade arithmetic will show that you make more money by winning 1.5 bets 7 times out of 10 than by winning one bet all 10 times. Taking even money on blackjack against a dealer's Ace is a mistake – and the bigger the bet, the bigger the mistake.

Don't mess up the cards: You're sitting at the table and doing fairly well, when the player next to you suddenly puts in an extra hand. The rotation of the cards is being altered, and most players believe it has to be for the worse.

Sure, you'd like to keep the cards coming the way they've been, but those hands are already over. Those cards are gone. You can't get them back whether the number of hands at the table stays the same or not.

What's coming now is some different cards and there's absolutely no telling whether the new rotation will be better or worse than the old. In-depth analysis has shown that good hands do not beget more good hands. So that little run you may be having has no connection to the order of the upcoming cards.

Don't take the dealer's bust card: You're playing third base and are the smallest bettor at the table. The dealer has a 4 up and you've got 12. Everybody else has stood with 14s and 15s.

You're not sure what to do, but this irrepressible voice within you keeps whispering, "Don't take the dealer's bust card". First base has $500 riding on his 14. Everybody's staring at you and their eyes seem to be saying, "Save the table".

You ponder intently and just then, the dealer reaches inside the shoe and reverses the order of the first two cards. Quizzically, you look to the other players. They remain silent, but their eyes are screaming, "Save the table – don't take the dealer's bust card".

But which card is the dealer's bust card now? In fact, which card was the dealer's bust card before? When you can answer that, then you can criticize third base for how he plays this hand.

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:

> More Books By Fred Renzey