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Best of John Grochowski

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Bad blackjack plays

18 April 2019

QUESTION: I get that you and many others who write about blackjack say it doesn’t make a difference when someone makes a bad play and takes the dealer’s bust card. I still hate it.

Just this week, the third baseman had 9-3 for 12 and the dealer had 2, and that guy hit, got a 10 and cost everybody. He busted. The dealer had a 10 down and instead of getting the 10 and busting, he got a 9 and beat everybody.

That sure made a difference to all of us. I had a $25 bet out and lost instead of winning. That’s a $50 swing, and all because some joker decided to hit a 12.

I keep wondering how I could convince these people to stand instead of taking the dealer’s bust card.

ANSWER: If you want other players to make plays they don’t want to make, you could offer to cover their losses if your way doesn’t work. Otherwise, they’re entitled to play their own hands.

The play you described was a solid basic strategy play. In a six-deck game in which the dealer hits soft 17, player losses average 25.6 cents per dollar wagered if he hits, and increase to 28.6 cents if he stands. The player didn’t make a bad play, he made a good one that didn’t work that time.

No one says another’s play can’t affect your result on any one hand. Obviously, it can.

However, those plays are as likely to help you as to hurt you. It’s not automatic that player will get a 10-value card. He could get a 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9 that would turn a 12 into a standing hand, and he could get an ace, 2, 3 or 4 that would change the hit/stand decision.

Nor is it automatic that the dealer with a 2 up has a 10 down. That 10 the player drew could help the dealer in as many situations as it hurts him.

For your specific example, let’s pretend that you know the next two cards in the deck are a 9 or 10, but you don’t know in what order. If the 9 comes out first, the player who hits has a 21, the dealer busts and the table is saved. Conversely, if the player stands, the dealer gets the 9 for a 21 that beats everybody.

There is no magic that says the higher card comes first.


QUESTION: In Three Card Poker ante-play, basic strategy is to play queen-6-4 or better, right? Your highest card has to be at least a queen, next highest at least a 6 and third highest at least a 4? What if I have queen-3-3, so the second or third cards are both lower than 6-4? I folded that, and the dealer said I should have bet.

ANSWER: The 3-3 part makes the hand a pair, which outranks high-card hands. If your hand includes three of a kind, a straight flush, straight, flush or a pair, then bet.

The queen-6-4 part comes into play only if you don’t have one of the higher-ranking hands. Even then, queen-6-4 as three different qualifying points. If your highest card outranks a queen, bet the hand regardless of the rank of the other two cards. If it’s a jack or lower, fold regardless of the other cards.

If your highest card is a queen, then bet if your second card is 7 or better and fold if it’s 5 or lower. Only if the highest is a queen and the No. 2 is a 6 does the third card come into play.
Recent Articles
Best of John Grochowski
John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

Winning Tips for Casino Games

> More Books By John Grochowski

John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

> More Books By John Grochowski