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Best of John Grochowski

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Guarantee 20 Redux

13 December 2000

I am the developer of the game Guarantee 20. I would like to thank you for devoting your December 5 article to the game. Naturally, I wish the article was a little more positive, but I respect your opinion. I would hope you would keep an open mind as I share my opinion.

I have been working as a floor supervisor for about a decade. Every day people holler at me, "Hey Pit Boss, come over here! I want you to know this is the fourth 20 I've gotten and I haven't won yet."

I was watching one man's play. He won the first two hands that he got a two-card 20, pushed one, on the fourth two-card 20, the dealer got a blackjack. Gamblers remember losses, not wins. He won two hands, lost one and pushed one. He was one unit up for the four hands, yet he called me over to tell me his horrible luck, that he couldn't win with a 20. I felt I had to come up with a game that would let players guarantee their hands when they are dealt a 20. This is how I got the idea and invented Guarantee 20.

I had a world-renowned statistician in Las Vegas, Stanley Ko, help me. I told Stanley about my idea and said I wanted a variation of blackjack that:

  • Would not slow down the game.
  • Would not have a side bet.
  • Would have the lowest house advantage a casino would accept.
  • Would be capable of being put on every blackjack table in the world.

Your stats in the article are absolutely correct. Stanley Ko gave me those exact numbers when I was preparing the game for approval in Nevada, Mississippi and Indiana. However those stats are for millions of dealt hands. Anything can happen in a short playing session, just as I mentioned in the above example, where the player called me over because he felt he wasn't winning his fair share of 20s. Had he taken the guarantee, instead of being unhappy about only being up one unit, he would have won three units.

I would hope you would let your readers determine if the guarantee would be right for them. I know you would never take the guarantee, and you would also never take insurance. Let me tell you that insurance (with its house edge of more than 6 percent) is the most widely taken bet in the casino in one situation: When a player has a blackjack and the dealer's up card is an Ace, 95 percent of players take even money.

I would ask that you write a small addendum to your column and say that although Guarantee 20 in your opinion is not a good bet, it is a much better bet than insurance.

Michael Cyrkiel, president, Circle Gaming, Henderson, Nev.

Guarantee 20 is a better percentage play than taking insurance -- but I don't recommend insurance, either, even when the dealer shows an Ace. What I try to do here is point out the best percentage plays, and the best percentage play on a 20 is to stand.


For more information about blackjack, we recommend:

Get the Edge at Blackjack by John May
Best Blackjack by Frank Scoblete
The Morons of Blackjack and Other Monsters! by Frank Scoblete
Winning Strategies at Blackjack! Video tape hosted by Academy Award Winner James Coburn, Written by Frank Scoblete
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:

Winning Tips for Casino Games

> More Books By John Grochowski