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Best of John Grochowski

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Machine mistakes and doubling on blackjacks

4 May 2017

QUESTION: A few years ago, I was playing a virtual craps game where the dice were vibrated to simulate a roll. The die was at an angle and I was not paid for the bet. I objected to the other players, and they said “ignore it, it happened yesterday” and that the attendant “wouldn't pay it.” A casino suit came by and I mentioned it to him, and he pretty much repeated what the players had told me, and I was out of luck, but he asked for my card.

A few minutes later he came back, gave me $20 and apologized. I told him the $20 was much more than I lost, but it was OK. The other players were not happy. That experience made me aware to be very observant on payoffs, and pursue it.

ANSWER: The above is an excerpt from a much longer e-mail in which the player also describes a payout error on an electronic baccarat game. It came in response to a column I wrote several weeks ago in which a player thought there was a payoff mistake on a fully automated blackjack table.

Payoff mistakes at such games are rare, just as they are on slots or video poker games, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be glitches. If you think a game has taken your money on a hand, roll or spin you’ve won, hit the call button to signal an attendant immediately before making another bet.

On a multiplayer electronic game, the others aren’t going to stop to wait for an attendant to settle your dispute. The game is going to move on. Make a note – whether with pen or paper or on your phone – of the exact time you made the bet, the size of the bet and the outcome of the play, whether that consists of your hand and the dealer’s, the roll of the dice or the spin of the wheel.

You may never encounter a payoff mistake. I never have. But if you do and want to raise the dispute, take the necessary steps to make it easier to track down and verify the outcome.


QUESTION: Weird thing at blackjack the other night. Some guy wanted to double down on blackjack when the dealer had a 6. The dealer told him it was against house rules to double on blackjacks. It became this whole big thing. The pit supervisor came over and told the guy sorry, they don’t allow it.

The dealer busted, the player complained some more, but I told him we didn’t know if the dealer would have busted if the player had taken a card for his double.

Just for discussion, how bad is doubling with blackjack vs. 6? Does it make a difference if blackjacks pay 3:2 or 6:5?

ANSWER: Doubling on ace-10 value vs. a dealer 6 brings an average profit of 53.6 percent of your original bet. So if you started with a $10 bet and doubled down on blackjack, your average profit would be $5.36.

Sometimes you’ll win $20, but sometimes you’ll lose your bet and sometimes you push. If you draw a 10 value, you’re left with an ordinary 21 that pushes if the dealer also draws 21 instead of having that blackjack that wins regardless of the dealer’s draw.

If you just smile and accept the payoff on you blackjack and take no more cards, your $10 bet brings back a $15 profit if blackjacks pay 3:2 and $12 if blackjacks pay 6:5. Risking that to double down is … um … not optimal.
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