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Best of John Grochowski

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Blackjack Ball Quiz

19 April 2005

Each year, Max Rubin hosts a "Blackjack Ball," bringing dozens of card counters to a secret Nevada location. They socialize, induct new members to the Blackjack Hall of Fame --- this year's inductees were Playing Blackjack as a Business author Lawrence Revere and basic strategy/card counting pioneer Julian Braun --- and hold a World Championship of Blackjack competition.

There's also a fun little quiz that goes with the event, one that Dr. Henry Tamburin brought to my attention. Tamburin, author of Blackjack: Take the Money and Run, is one of my good friends in this business. He also publishes a monthly Blackjack Insider newsletter you can find at www.blackjackinsider.com, with a $19.95 fee for a one-year membership. The newsletter is chock full of the ups and downs of blackjack, with trip reports, information on the best games in different markets, warnings about some of the worst, strategy discussions, a word about poker from Bill Burton and much more. The insights of Henry and his team make the Blackjack Insider one of my most valued resources.

In January and February, Blackjack Insider published the Blackjack Ball preliminary quiz and answers. Tamburin asked if I'd like to share some of the quiz, which includes many non-blackjack questions with my readers, so let's try five of the 31 questions. Test yourself, then I'll give answers below.

1. If you stand a standard $5 chip vertically on its side, then stack $5 chips next to it until they reach the top of the vertical chip, what is the value of the stack? A. $40. B. $45. C. $50. D. $60.

2. To the nearest tenth of one percent, with Aces counting as one, what is the average value of all the cards in a standard deck? The answer must be exact.

3. Which of these is the best game for the basic strategy player? A. Single deck, dealer hits soft seventeen, no double after split, double 10-11 only, split up to four times, late surrender allowed. B. Double deck, dealer hits soft seventeen, no double after split allowed, double any two cards, split up to four times, no surrender. C. Four decks, dealer stands soft seventeen, double any two cards, double after split, split up to four times, no surrender. D. Six decks, dealer hits soft seventeen, double any two cards, double after split, split up to four times, surrender allowed.

4. Which of these four is the best starting hand you can have if a dealer has a 5 up? A. A total of 2. B. Soft 17. C. A total of 6. D. A total of 18.

5. True or False. In some Missouri casinos, players are allowed to smoke cigarettes and cigars on the games but there are signs posted telling the players not to spit tobacco juice while playing.

ALSO ON THE WEB: Before we get to the answers, I just wanted to let everyone know that my own Web site is now up and running. At www.casinoanswerman.com, you'll find some of my past columns, quizzes, some basics on how to play and strategies for casino games, and more. I'll post some of my magazine articles and occasional book excerpts there, and there's a page where you can order my books.

Once I figure out the designer's instructions on how to update the site, you'll find something new there every week. I hope you'll stop by.

QUIZ ANSWERS: Thanks again to Henry Tamburin and his Blackjack Insider site for making this quiz excerpt available. On to the answers:

1. If you stack $5 chips until the stack is as tall as one chip stood on it's side, it'll take 12 chips to reach the top --- a total of $60.

2. With Aces counting as one, the average value of a card in a standard 52-card deck is 6.5.

3. This one is for those who think fewer decks always means a better game. If all other rules were equal, a single-deck game would have a lower house edge than those with more decks, but there are some powerful negative rules on the one- and two-deck games here. The dealer hitting soft 17 and the restrictions on doubling down are bad for the player, more than enough to overcome the advantage of using fewer decks. The six-deck game offers surrender, but the dealer hits soft 17. The best game here is C., the four-deck game, which doesn't offer surrender but has the dealer stand on all 17s and has favorable double-down rules.

4. When the dealer has 5 up, the player is hoping for an opportunity to split a pair or double down. We'd double down soft 17 against a 5, but the best opportunity listed here is A., a total of 2. A total of 2 means we have a pair of Aces. We'd split them against any dealer up card --- and split them quite profitably against a 5.

5. I've not encountered this myself, but the answer is True. In some Missouri casinos, players are allowed to smoke, but signs warn them not to spit tobacco juice. Hey, it's a start.

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:

> 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