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Best of John Grochowski

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Banned in blackjack and bonus video poker

14 April 2013

QUESTION: I’ve been playing blackjack for a long time, and recently encountered a situation I’d never seen. The first baseman hit a hard 17 against a 10. The dealer called out the play, and a supervisor game over to watch. The player drew a 6 and busted. The dealer turned up another 10 and finished the hand. Security then came over, and told the player to pick up his chips, that he could no longer play there.

Hitting 17 against a 10 isn’t really a card counter play, is it? What am I missing here?

ANSWER: My best guess is that surveillance found the player was getting a glimpse of the dealer’s hole card, or that an associate was seeing the hole card and relaying the information.

Ideally, the problem would be corrected at dealer level. He or she has to stop exposing the hole cards. But casinos are private clubs, and in most jurisdictions are allowed to refuse service to any player for any reason. And let’s face it, if you want to keep playing, you have to use a little discretion in using hole card information. Standing on 16 vs. 7 when you know the dealer has a 9 down is one thing. That just looks like a common bad play. Hitting hard 17 is on a different plane, a play that is certain to draw attention from the pit and from surveillance.

QUESTION: Tell me something about Bonus Poker Deluxe, where all four of a kinds pay 400. Do you make any kind of strategy adjustment for that? I know about Double Bonus and the other games where the 800 on four aces mean you break up full houses with aces up. Are the Deluxe bonuses big enough for any special plays?

ANSWER: Other than Bonus Poker, Bonus Poker Deluxe is probably the game most like Jacks or Better in terms of strategy. In fact, the website videopokerhelp.com has a page that shows our expected return when using strategy for one game on another, and using 9/6 Jacks or Better strategy on 9/6 Bonus Poker Deluxe drops the average payback only from 99.64 percent to 99.61 percent.

The bonuses on fours-of-a-kind aren’t large enough to force any major strategy adjustment. We don’t break up a full house to keep three aces, as we do in Double Bonus Poker and any other game that returns 800 or more for a five coin bet when the fourth Ace turns up, nor do we break up two pair, keeping a pair of aces by themselves, as we do in Double Double Bonus. We don’t have enhanced flush and straight paybacks, as in the best versions of Double Bonus.

The one feature of Bonus Poker Deluxe that does cause us to make some adjustments is that two pairs return only 1-for-1 instead of the 2-for-1 we get in Jacks or Better and Bonus Poker. That affects our strategy on inside straight draws, because it limits the value of throwing away an entire hand, or the value of keeping fewer high cards. Dealt 2-4-5-6-9 of mixed suits, the best play is to discard the entire hand in Jacks or Better. In Bonus Deluxe, we hold 2-4-5-6.

In Jacks or Better, we draw to inside straights only when we have at least three high cards. Dealt 2-8-10-jack-queen of mixed suits, we hold jack-queen. In Bonus Deluxe, the lower two-pair return lessens the value of that two-card hold just enough that we go for the inside straight draw instead, holding 8-10-jack-queen.

That’s minor tinkering of the kind we do on Double Bonus, Double Double Bonus and other games with 1-for-1 two-pair pays in addition to other adjustments needed to keep up with other changes in the pay table.
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