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Best of John Grochowski

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Double exposure and Pete Rose

19 July 2015

QUESTION: My wife and I went to Detroit to visit relatives, and some of us went to a casino. Her brothers are blackjack players and so am I, but they like a game called double exposure. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen it before, but I know I’d never played it.

In blackjack, the house has an edge because you only get to see one of the dealer’s cards, right? The dealer sees all your cards before he plays. So where does the house edge come from in double exposure?

ANSWER: You misunderstand the source of the house edge. It’s not because one of the dealer’s cards is hidden. The house has an edge because players must make their decisions before the dealer plays his hand. If you go bust, you lose regardless of whether the dealer busts, too. If both you and the dealer bust, the house wins.

Even when you see both dealer cards, as in double exposure, you still must risk busting first. You do have better information, but there are a number of house rules that pad the edge to take back some of the value of that information. Double exposure pays only even money on blackjacks, for one thing, and the dealer wins on all ties, other than on blackjacks.

The extra information does lead you to some uncomfortable strategies. If you have 19 and the dealer has 20, then you have to hit, no matter how great the chance of busting. You and the dealer each have 20? Too bad. Ties lose, so you have to hit.

You can find Michael Shackelford’s full analysis of the game at http://wizardofodds.com/games/double-exposure/. But the answer to your basic question of how the house gets its edge is the same as in regular blackjack: You have first opportunity to bust.


QUESTION: I’ve been reading your gambling column for a long time. I Googled you and see that you also write about baseball. So when I read the latest news about Pete Rose having gambled on baseball when he was still a player, I thought about you.

Does it make you at all uncomfortable that Pete Rose was banned for gambling? I see him referred to in some stories as “unsavory” and “degenerate gambler,” and wonder how someone feels whose business it is to write about both gambling and baseball.

ANSWER: If Rose had been banned from baseball for going to Las Vegas or Atlantic City in the off-season and playing blackjack or craps, I might feel some twinges. But he wasn’t. He was banned for betting on major-league games while he was a manager, with the latest news being that he wagered on games involving his own team when he was a player, and because he lied to investigators.

Those who run baseball and other sports are understandably skittish about any appearance that a player or manager might be involved in gambling on their own sport. Game-fixing was a serious problem in baseball’s early days. The Black Sox scandal that involved throwing the 1919 World Series to the Reds is the most famous example, but there were unproven allegations of earlier thrown games. Ever since, it has been emphasized to players on every team, every year, that gambling on baseball is not permitted and is subject to ban.

The Rose situation is sad, keeping an unquestionably great player away from baseball activities and the Hall of Fame. But I have no personal conflict over his ban, given that the issue isn’t just Rose and gambling, it’s Rose and gambling on his own sport.
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:

The Craps Answer Book

> More Books By John Grochowski