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www.BJInsider.com Readers Questions #4 Ė 2/11/01

By Henry Tamburin

 

Dear BJInsider.com Expert Guide,

The following question was asked by W..

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What is the best count system for stepping up from the basic Hi-Lo? I read somewhere that the Hi-Opt II was best. Where can you get the best info on this system?
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Best regards,
The "Ask the Pro" Staff

Dear CasinoRedWolf,

My suggestion is you check out the analyses of different level 1 and 2 counting systems in either John Mayís Get The Edge at Blackjack. book, Vancuraís Knock Out Blackjack book, or Renzyís Blackjack Bluebook and then decide for yourself if itís worth the extra effort to step up to a more complicated counting system. Iíve used Omega 11 (Blackjack for Blood by Carlson) and the Mentor Count by Renzy (Blackjack Bluebook). They are both comparable to High opt II. However, I still prefer the High Low count because I make fewer mistakes and Iím satisfied with my profits.

Regards,

Henry Tamburin

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Dear BJInsider.com Expert Guide,

The following question was asked by.

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since i play in atlantic city this question relates to New Jersey, how much money can i win at a table before i have to report it to the IRS, also how is it reported to the IRS?
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Best regards,
The "Ask the Pro" Staff

<>

Dear Joe,

In Atlantic City, the casinos must report to the IRS all players who bet over $10,000 in cash or $2,500 on credit during a 24-hour period. The casinos have a form they fill out and send to the IRS. In New Jersey the form must include the players name, address, and social security number and the casinos must send it to the IRS. If youíd like more information on this topic, consult the book Blackjack & The Law by Rose & Loeb.

Regards,

Henry Tamburin

 

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Dear BJInsider.com Expert Guide,

The following question was asked by

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How does the "core counting system" rate relative to ease of use and benefit for the casual BJ player when compared with unbalanced count systems?
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Best regards,
The "Ask the Pro" Staff

 

Dear Bill,

According to a study done by John May and reported in his book, Get the Edge at Blackjack, the Core System had a playing efficiency of 0.26, a betting efficiency of 0.63, and an insurance efficiency of 0.41(these numbers represent how close the system is to a perfect playing/betting/insurance system Ė the higher the number the maximum possible gain from each area of play. The KO unbalanced system performs much better. it has a playing efficiency of 0.54 (nearly double the Core System), a betting efficiency of 0.98 (about 55% greater), and about the same insurance efficiency (0.78 vs. 0.71). The KO in my opinion is just as easy to use as the Core and it offers a much higher benefit to the casual BJ player.

Regards,

Henry Tamburin

<>

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Dear BJInsider.com Expert Guide,

The following question was asked by.

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Henry.

I have 2 questions. I've seen the figure of 25% used as the amount of times a dealer breaks. If the figure is correct, is that 25% of all the hands, or 25% of the hands that he must hit.

Also, I read a lot about the different casino edges depending on the rules in various bj games. What I never see is what effect on the casino advantage, if any, that playing head to head with the dealer has. It seems to me that playing alone with the dealer will net both of you more blackjacks, therby reducing the house's edge.

Thank you,
JM

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Dear JM,

The dealer will bust about 28% of the time, which means of all the hands he is dealt.

You wonít get more blackjacks playing heads up vs. playing at a full table. The key statistic is that in single deck games youíll get more blackjacks compared to say an eight-deck game (one in 20.72 hands vs. 1 in 21.07 hands. More importantly, the probability that both you and the dealer will get a blackjack on the same hand is 1 in 27.22 for single deck and 1 in 21.71 in eight-deck game. If you have a blackjack and the dealer doesnít you win 1.5 times your bet. If both have blackjack itís a tie and you win no money. Since blackjack pushes are 20% more likely in eight-deck game compared to single deck game, your gain more profit playing in a single deck game.

Regards,

Henry

_____________________________________________________________________________________





Best regards,
The "Ask the Pro" Staff

<>


Dear BJInsider.com Expert Guide,

The following question was asked by.

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I've come to the conclusion that the only way to really win at BJ over the long haul is to learn card counting. Otherwise, how can you possibly know when to maximize your bet. And, if you play the same amount, in time you will lose. I play basic strategy correctly and have had some modest wins in October, but have done nothing since. I realize it is a very streaky game, but, really just playing correctly won't do it. Your thoughts? BLV
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Best regards,
The "Ask the Pro" Staff

<>

Dear BLV,

You are correct in your assessment. Playing blackjack with basic strategy is a start but that alone wonít give you the long term edge (which means youíll have some winning sessions and some losing sessions but in the long term youíll lose at the rate of about 0.5% times all the money you bet. However, you can decrease this expected loss and maybe break even or have a slight overall gain if you smartly use the comp system). To gain the long term mathematical edge you have to know when to bet more when you have the slight edge on the next hand and bet less when the edge is in the dealers favor. And the only way youíll know this is to learn a card counting system.

Regards,

Henry Tamburin

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Dear BJInsider.com Expert Guide,

The following question was asked by

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I read ur strategies on card counting.very good.but i rarley visit the real casinos. I play blackjack online majority of the time. I dont see how u can card count when u dont know when they shuffle the cards..I play at gold club, but just startd at pharoahs,.any stratagies on playing online and at those casinos?? Thanks
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Best regards,
The "Ask the Pro" Staff

Dear Bandit,

Check out the information on these two web sites for techniques on how to gain the edge playing blackjack on line by either taking advantage of promotions, using a composition hand playing strategy, playing in single deck games which give the player the slight edge just with correct basic strategy, and even counting in some games that use multiple decks of cards and a variable shuffle point.

www.gamemasteronline.com and www.wizardofodds.com.

 

Regards,

Henry Tamburin

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Dear BJInsider.com Expert Guide,

The following question was asked by

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i recently had a casino in Laughlin (The Riverview) ask me for ID after i'd won a few hundred on a slot machine (some are beatable at certain times, i.e. progressives). i showed it since i was afraid they'd keep my winnings if i didn't, under the excuss that i didn't prove i was 21 (i'm 40). they then handcuffed me, dragged me to their basement, emptied my pockets and bag, and held me until i would "cooperate" and answer alot of questions. i was then forced to buy a bus ticket. was any of this illegal? should i have called their bluff and just waited to see what they would do next. i'm asking you instead of the slot expert since i imagine slot players rarely get barred, but blackjack players do.
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Best regards,
The "Ask the Pro" Staff


Dear Michael,

Casinos do have the right to backroom a player but only under limited conditions. (if the player committed a felony and the casino is detaining the player for the purpose of notifying a peaceofficer. Also casinos must post a sign stating this). The law protects the casino from both criminal & civil penalties if it acts reasonably; hover if the detention is unreasonable, the casino can be sued for false arrest (taken from Blackjack and the Law by Loeb). Iíd suggest you contact a lawyer about the treatment you received.

Regards,

Henry Tamburin

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Dear BJInsider.com Expert Guide,

The following question was asked by

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I am a beginning blackjack player and I am interested in finding out information on how to play, what trends to look for, how much money should I bring, how much money should I expect to lose, when should I get out and any tips you have for a first timer? Thanks, Matt from Lock Haven, PA
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Dare Matt,

Start by reading the basic and advanced articles I have posted on www.BJInsider.com plus the archived articles. For a good beginners book Iíd suggest Knock-Out Blackjack by Vencura & Fuchs or my Blackjack: Take The Money & Run.

Regards,

Henry Tamburin

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Dear BJInsider.com Expert Guide,

The following question was asked by

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does this cost any thing or pay back?

---------------------------------




Best regards,
The "Ask the Pro" Staff

<>

Dear Sonya,

I do not understand your question. Can you be more specific.

Regards,

Henry Tamburin

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Is there anything else a Boss will do with my players card that I hand
over, except give me credit for play? The asking for a comp. Am a
little puzzled. May I have a free?... We're an adult couple and it
seems as though there's a better way to get the complete casino
experience without losing face with the, hand-out request.
Al-Joy

<>

Dear ?

When you play blackjack in a casino and you want a comp, you must be rated and you must ask for that comp. Thatís the system and like it or not you have to play by the rules if you want a comp.

Regards,

Henry Tamburin

_____________________________________________________________________________

Dear BJInsider.com Expert Guide,

The following question was asked by

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hello there,

I have a question on the Blackjack game. It is noted that the House must have a minimum total point of 17 and also not exceeding 21. Does the House still have to HIT or STAND if the House has:

a) 10 + 4 + 2 = 16

and, does this rule apply to all casinos worldwide?

if the house has to HIT to the above situation, can u explain why the Blackjack table has the sentence "DEALER MUST STAND ON 17 AND MUST DRAW TO 16"?


Thank you, and hope to hear from you again.

Hun Goh





Best regards,
The "Ask the Pro" Staff

<>

Dear Hun,

The dealer must hit whenever his cards total 16 or less regardless of the number of cards in the dealer hands. Therefore if a dealer had 10 + 4 for a 14 and hit and got a 2 for 16 the dealer must still hit again. The statement you see on the blackjack layout means standing on 17 or more (through 21) and hitting on 16 (or less total). They just use the shorthand description because of space limitations on the layout.

Regards,

Henry Tamburin

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Dear BJInsider.com Expert Guide,

The following question was asked by

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I use a balanced count. You seem to promote an unbalanced count. I belive that their is a lot of dificulty in keeping your count speed speed accurate. What do you feel about a balanced count? And why wouldn't you use it over an unbalanced count?
---------------------------------




Best regards,
The "Ask the Pro" Staff

<>

Dear Dave,

I donít Ďpromote" an unbalanced count. I recommend it for players who have a difficult time adjusting their running count to a true count. I personally use a balanced count and have taught thousands of players. How top use a balanced count. However, some players have a phobia over the true count and if using the unbalanced count works for them they should use the unbalanced count rather then give up counting all together.

Regards,

Henry Tamburin

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Dear BJInsider.com Expert Guide,

The following question was asked by

---------------------------------
where is the best casino to play blackjack in reno?
---------------------------------




Best regards,
The "Ask the Pro" Staff

<>

Dear Bill,

Currently the following casinos offer the best games for basic strategy players.

Single deck at the Alamo (east of Sparks, NV)

Single deck at the Sundowner (downtown Reno)

Single deck games at Boomtown (Verdi, NV), Peppermill (Reno), Rail City (Sparks, NV), and the Western Village and Silver in downtown Sparks.

Regards,

Henry Tamburin

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Dear BJInsider.com Expert Guide,

The following question was asked by

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When using the basic strategy, is it better to wager the same amount for all hands or to use some sort of incremental wagering system?
---------------------------------




Best regards,
The "Ask the Pro" Staff

<>

Dear Blair,

Itís bet to use an incremental betting system based upon a card counting system.

Regards,

Henry Tamburin

______________________________________________________________________________________

Dear BJInsider.com Expert Guide,

The following question was asked by

---------------------------------
I have seen lots of advice for playing strategies in blackjack, but I have not seen enough advice on betting strategies. It seems to me that this is almost the most important part of the game because it's not about how often you win or lose if you are winning more when you win and lossing les when you lose. I wanted to know what you thought of a betting strategy I have been, for the most part, successfully using.
It's sort of based on the gambler's fallacy, where the more hands you lose, the more chances you to win the next one. What I do is bet small amount, say $5. Everytime I win, I increase my winnings by $5. If I lose, I try to gain my money back. After the first loss, I bet another $5 and if I win I am back to trying to increase my winnings again. If I lose a second time, I then double the bet to $10. Again if I win, I'm back to increasing my winnings. If I lose this hand as well, I then double it again to $20, and so on.
Of course you can not do this for ever unless you have an unlimited money suplply and there are no betting limits. To insure that I do not lose too much, I have a betting limit, which is, for right now, 8 times my original bet, or $40 from a $5 original bet. This makes it so that in order for the house to take any money from me he must beat me five times in a row. This becomes a calculus race. What number gets higher quicker...the winnings from your $5 bets or the $80 lost from the house occasionally beating you five times in a row. Obviously, the more you double your bet, the harder it will be for the house to take your money. Maybe I should double more, or maybe there is a happy medium or maybe there is something else I should alternate. What do you think of this betting strategy and do you know of a blackjack strategizer that allows testing for creative betting strategies?
---------------------------------




Best regards,
The "Ask the Pro" Staff

<>

Dear Joe,

Your betting strategy is a loser. Itís nothing more then a classic Martingale Betting system, which has been studied to death for many years. You canít change the odds at blackjack by varying your bets based upon whether you won or lost previous hands. There is no correlation. The only correlation that works is how many high vs. low value cards have been played in previous hands (i.e. card counting). If you want to read more about this I suggest Fred Renzyís book Blackjack Bluebook. However, let me add that my friend Walter Thomason is a firm believer that progressive betting systems will perform better then just flat betting and you can read his results in his book Twenty First Century Blackjack (including software he used to test his systems).

Regards,

Henry Tamburin
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___________________

Dear BJInsider.com Expert Guide,

The following question was asked by

---------------------------------
I'm certainly no expert..a small time player, with alot of luck. I've read everything about BJ I could lay my hands on...But, counting is too difficult for me as I'm dislexic...Then, I found a counting system I could deal with...Can't recall the authors name but you keep track of the 5,6,7,8 and that's it...I remember he took alot of heat for his "system". I've had alot of success using it, especially against the 8deck shoes. Do you know who this author was?
---------------------------------




Best regards,
The "Ask the Pro" Staff

<>

Dear Tedd,

I donít know of any counting system that only counts the 5, 6, 7 and 8 cards only. There is a Core System by Scott Frank that counts only the 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 cards and Fred Renzy has a count system that counts only the 4 and 5 and black ace (key card count in his book Blackjack Bluebook).

Regards,

Henry Tamburin

__________________________________

Dear BJInsider.com Expert Guide,

The following question was asked by

---------------------------------
I am a fairly new blackjack player... I don't really count cards, I usually only play one bet, although that is starting to change as I learn more about unbalanced card counting, but my question concerns the other players at the table. Does it hurt you if you are at a table where people don't play by the book? I.e. stand on soft hands to dealer's bust cards, not take hits on hard counts to make cards
---------------------------------




Best regards,
The "Ask the Pro" Staff

<>

Dear brad,

No the skill or lack of skill by your fellow players wonít effect your results.

Regards,

Henry Tamburin

_________________________________________________________________________________

Dear BJInsider.com Expert Guide,

The following question was asked by

---------------------------------
your article (advanced blackjack strategy part 5) says when the count is +1 or more to stand on 12 vs 4 and when the count is +3 or more to stand on 12 vs 3 and on 12 vs 4. why did you repeat the 12 vs 4 stand. is this a misprint?
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Dear Mike,

Yes itís a misprint. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. I will have it corrected.

Regards,

Henry
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Dear BJInsider.com Expert Guide,

The following question was asked by

---------------------------------
what do you think of core system by scott frank i am a card counter?
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Dear Mike,

Itís not nearly as powerful as a simple unbalanced counting system. See John Mayís analysis in his book Get the Edge in Blackjack. Iíd recommend the KO or simple High Low counting system.

Regards,

Henry Tamburin

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Dear BJInsider.com Expert Guide,

The following question was asked by

---------------------------------
My sister lives in another state and we were wondering if there is any website that would let us play Blackjack at the same table at the same time.
---------------------------------



Best regards,
The "Ask the Pro" Staff

<>

Dear Sherri,

Yes there are several. That will allow you do to this. Check them out in the reviews at www.gamemasteronline.com.

Regards,

Henry Tamburin

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Dear BJInsider.com Expert Guide,

The following question was asked by

---------------------------------
I'll be playing in a blackjack tournament in a few weeks. Can you give me any tips for successful play?

If you have answered this question previously, please let me know where I can view the answer.

Thank you.

Deb
---------------------------------
Dear Deb,

Check out Andy Glazerís article in Blackjack Insider Newsletter # 7 (www.BJInsider.com/newsletter/archive) or read the article I posted on tournament basics on www.BJInsider.com in the archives.

Regards,

Henry Tamburin
____________________________________________________________________________________

Dear BJInsider.com Expert Guide,

The following question was asked by

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when do you double down at 8
---------------------------------




Best regards,
The "Ask the Pro" Staff

<>

Dear Kkrono,

You double down on 5,3 hand in a single deck game when the dealer shows a 5 or 6 upcard. Do not double down on 8 when 2 or more decks of cards are used.

Regards,

Henry Tamburin

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