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Best of John Grochowski

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It's all about Aces

19 April 2015

QUESTION: I have a blackjack strategy question. I was playing in a casino that allowed you to split Aces more than once. I don’t think I’d ever seen that before. I split, and when I got another Ace, I groaned because I thought I was stuck with 12. Instead, the dealer paused, and it took me a second to realize he was waiting for me to make another decision.

I said, “I didn’t think you could resplit those,” and the dealer said, “Most places you can’t, but here you can.”

I went ahead and split again, but I was wondering later of that was the right play. The dealer had a 7.

ANSWER: Allowing players to resplit Aces was never a common rule, but I used to see it a lot more than I do now. Blackjack rules have been toughened up in the last decade or so, and Ace resplits are pretty low in the modern game mix.

As with splitting any pairs, if it’s the correct basic strategy to split the pair once, it’s the correct basic strategy to resplit when dealt another matching card. So yes, it was the correct play to split the Aces again.

That’s not just true against a dealer 7, the situation you encountered. Basic strategy is to split Aces against any dealer face-up card. Starting two hands with 1 or 11 instead of one hand with 2 or 12 turns disadvantage to advantage in some situations, and strengthens the player edge with extra money on the table in others.

Check out the blackjack hand calculator at the Wizard of Odds site, http://wizardofodds.com/games/blackjack/hand-calculator/.

To use an example of a house-edge hand that you can turn into a player-edge hand, I set it up for a six-deck game in which the dealer hits soft 17, then defined the hand as a pair of Aces for the player, and a King face-up for the dealer. The calculator tells you that if you just hit, the result is 6.6 percent edge for the house, but if you split, it’s 18.2 percent in favor of the player.

Eleven is just too strong a building block to pass up. If you can split the Aces, do it.


QUESTION: Your recent column about video poker stories reminded me of my favorite.

I went to The Hard Rock in Tampa a few years back to play video poker. I found a machine and early on, I saved a single ace and drew 3 more for quads. I think it was $400. I cashed out and moved to another machine and after a few minutes I caught three aces. I looked at the lady next to me and I told her that I just had quads saving only one ace. How ironic that now I have three aces and the odds are against me drawing the last ace.

She said “It's there.” I said “Right,” sarcastically. And of course I drew the last ace putting me up $800 after less that half an hour in the casino.

ANSWER: Thank you for the story – I love collecting these. It reminds me of a time I was playing $1 Bonus Poker, and was down to my last bet not only for the session, but for the day. I’d put myself on a strict daily budget, and was getting ready to spend the rest of the day sightseeing. On my last wager, I was dealt three Aces, then drew the fourth. Suddenly I had $400 in my daily budget, and a lot more flexibility.
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