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Dear BJInsider.com Expert Guide,

The following question was asked by

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I love to play black jack but i am really not that great of a player, can ypu tell me what does doubling down mean and when do you split a card and how do you do it, do you need to bet more money to double down?
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Best regards,
The "Ask the Pro" Staff

Dear Helena,

Doubling down means to wager an additional amount of money up to the initial wager and receive one additional draw card to the hand. You can only double down after you receive your first two cards. Once you draw a third card, the double down option is no longer available. Hereís an example of a double down play. You bet $5 and the dealer gives you a 6 and 5 (total 11) and his face card is a 5. You can double down by placing another $5 chip next to your original wager on the layout. The dealer will give you one and only one draw card. No matter what it is you must stand (of course you are hopping it was a 10 or picture card giving you a 21). Pair splitting is when you create two separate hands from an initial hand that has two cards of the same value. For example, suppose you bet $5 and are dealt a pair of 6ís and the dealerís face card is a 4. You can place another $5 chip on the layout next to your original $5 bet to indicate to the dealer you want to split your cards. You will now have to play out two hands each one starting with 6. For more details on double down and pair splitting including the correct playing strategy for both, check the articles I have posted on blackjack.BJInsider.com.

Regards,

Henry Tamburin

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Dear BJInsider.com Expert Guide,

The following question was asked by

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Does basic stategy apply when you have been dealt more than 2 cards. After I've been dealt 1 or 2 more small cards, I have a hard time hitting a 16. I don't want to count cards.
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Best regards,
The "Ask the Pro" Staff

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Dear Chazz,

Yes the basic strategy applies even if you have been dealt more then two cards. Basic strategy is the maximum way to play your hand using only the information of the dealerís upcard and the players hand (regardless of how many cards in the players hand). However, having said all this there are a few exceptions to the basic strategy that you can use to your benefit without having to card count. One has to do with a hard 16 made up of 3 or more cards against a dealerís 10. If your multi-card 16 contains any 4ís or 5s then stand instead of hit.

Regards,

Henry Tamburin

Dear BJInsider.com Expert Guide,

___________________________________________________________________________________
The following question was asked by

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could you explain the term deck peneration of 2% or whatever the peneration thing means.
Thanks,
Jack
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Best regards,
The "Ask the Pro" Staff

Dear Jack,

Penetration is the percentage of the cards that the dealer will deal before shuffling. For example if a 6 deck game has 75% penetration it means the dealer will deal out 4.5 out of the 6 decks in the shoe before reshuffling the entire shoe and starting the next shoe. Penetration is an important variable for card counters. The more cards that they can see before the reshuffle the greater will be their advantage. Most card counters look for games with at least a 75% penetration.

Regards,

Henry Tamburin


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Dear BJInsider.com Expert Guide,

The following question was asked by

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My wife and I are going to vegas in two weeks. We have studied the web on gambling and which casino to play blackjack in. We thought we would do better at $1 tables. But your atricle on CSMs, 4 vs 6 decks made us stop and think...maybe it is more profitable to play these $5 table. Can you explain the 4 vs 6 deck and CSMs and are $1 tables somehow more stacked against you than $5 t
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Best regards,
The "Ask the Pro" Staff

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Dear Mike,

My advice is to stay away from the tables that have CMSís because the games are faster and this will increase your theoretical hourly loss rate. There are plenty of good single deck as well as 6 deck games in Vegas with low minimums that donít use a CSM.

Regards,

Henry Tamburin

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Dear BJInsider.com Expert Guide,

The following question was asked by

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hi,I am going to lasvegas in march.what are your favorite casinos for blackjack? thanks carl
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Best regards,
The "Ask the Pro" Staff

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Dear Carl,

My favorite casinos to play blackjack in Vegas are the 2-deck games at Treasure Island in their baccarat pit, the single deck game at Binionís Horseshoe, and the 2 and 6-deck games at Bellagio and Mirage.

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Dear BJInsider.com Expert Guide,

The following question was asked by

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hi henry, your artical on card counting--rensey k-system count 4and fives as +1 and tens and aces as -1 do you start the count at +18 and do you count face cards? can this count work on 6 deck games. thanks carl
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Best regards,
The "Ask the Pro" Staff

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Dear Carl,

With Fred Renzyís Key Card Count, you only count the 4ís and 5ís (as +1) and the 10ís and black ace as

Ė1. You do not count the face cards or the red ace. You start your count at +18 for a single deck game, +16 for 2-deck game, +12 for a 4-deck game, and +8 for 6-deck game. Whenever your running is +20 or higher you have the edge and you should bet more. The Key Card Count is one of the easiest unbalanced card counting systems to learn although the trade off is that it is not as powerful as counting systems that count more cards (eg. High-Low). You can decrease the casinoís edge by about 0.5% using it. In a 6-deck game you need therefore to find good rules so that your starting disadvantage is around 0.25% (such as dealer stands on soft 17, doubling after pair splitting allowed, resplit aces and late surrender). This will give you the slight edge of 0.25% using Renzyís Key Card System against the 6-deck game. Keep in mind however, that most 6-deck games donít have quite as favorable rules and the casinoís edge is usually around 0.5%. Using the Key Card system in this game will make it break even, which is still better then a game where the casino has the advantage.

Regards,

Henry Tamburin

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Dear BJInsider.com Expert Guide,

The following question was asked by

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Where should a rookie card counter look to play blackjack in Atlantic City. I'm looking for something around a $15 minimum table and pressing my bets when the count is in my favor.
Thanks in advance!
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Best regards,
The "Ask the Pro" Staff

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Dear Allen,

According to our Atlantic City reporter, Alene Paone, (see BJ Insider newsletter #9 at www.BJInsider.com/newsletter.shtml) the best game for blackjack in Atlantic City is at the Sands. Youíll find 4 and 6-deck games with good rules at $10-$15 minimums. The Sands also has good penetration.

Regards,

Henry Tamburin

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Dear BJInsider.com Expert Guide,

The following question was asked by

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hi henry, going to lasvegas march6,7,8 love to play blackjack play good basic strat. bad card counter. are there any easy card counting systems? what lasvegas casinos have liberal rules in blackjack? thanks carl
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Best regards,
The "Ask the Pro" Staff

Dear Carl,

Suggest you learn the Key Card Count by Fred Renzy (Blackjack Bluebook) and play at these casinos in Vegas which have very liberal rules: Aladdin, Bellagio, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, Horseshoe (single deck), New York New York, Rio (4-deck game), and Venetian.

Regards,

Henry Tamburin

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Dear BJInsider.com Expert Guide,

The following question was asked by

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I play in Atlantic City with 8 deck games. Does card counting give the player an advantage against 8 decks?
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Best regards,
The "Ask the Pro" Staff

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Dear Lucky Judy,

You can get a slight advantage against an 8-deck game with card counting but you need to leave the table when the count gets very negative and have at least a 1 to 10 betting spread. You must not stay and play at the same table with an 8-deck game. There are however, better games then 8 deck games that are currently being offered in Atlantic City that you may want to consider (Sands has a very good 6 and 4 deck game Ė see BJ Insider Newsletter #9 at www.BJInsider.com/newsletter.shtml.

Regards,

Henry Tamburin

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Dear BJInsider.com Expert Guide,

The following question was asked by

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what is the advantage an best plays for double down and splitting pairs. Its still a mystery to me. I am your greatest in Colo.
Sincerely,
Jack
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Best regards,
The "Ask the Pro" Staff

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Dear Jack,

You stand to win more money in the long run when you double down and pair split per the basic strategy instead of some alternate strategy (like hitting or standing). See my articles on www.BJInsider.com that explain the logic behind doubling and pair splitting.

Regards,

Henry Tamburin
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Dear BJInsider.com Expert Guide,

The following question was asked by

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I would like your opinion on unbalance card counting and how effective it is?
Thanks
Jack
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Best regards,
The "Ask the Pro" Staff

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Dear Jack,

Unbalanced card counting are effective in that they will give the player the advantage. I recommend the

K-O unbalanced count or if you find that to difficult Renzyís Key Card Count. Unbalanced counting systems are good for players who have a hard time computing the true count which is necessary for balanced counting systems.

Regards,

Henry Tamburin


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Dear BJInsider.com Expert Guide,

The following question was asked by

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I will be staying at the Flamingo Hilton in a few weeks, could you tell me what there double deck rules are?
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Best regards,
The "Ask the Pro" Staff

Dear Jim,

The rules at the double deck games (mostly $10 minimums) at the Flamingo Hilton (Las Vegas) are dealers hit soft 17 and players can double after pair splitting. These are not such great rules Ė the casinoís edge is about 0.4%, which is still better then the rules on their 6 deck game (here the casinoís edge is 0.54%). There are a lot better games in Vegas then those at the Flamingo Hilton.

Regards,

Henry Tamburin

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Dear BJInsider.com Expert Guide,

The following question was asked by

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WHAT IS THE BEST BOOK FOR CARD COUNTERS?
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Best regards,
The "Ask the Pro" Staff

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Dear Taffy,

If you are a beginner, Iíd recommend Knock-Out Blackjack by Fuchs & Vencura, my Blackjack: Take The Money & Run, or Fred Renzyís Blackjack Bluebook.

Regards,

Henry Tamburin

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Dear BJInsider.com Expert Guide,

The following question was asked by $5Bill.

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I'm just starting to learn to play blackjack.They say you have to know basic strategy,but every basic strategy I have found is different in some way.What gives?Your basic strategy was the only one that matched the strategy card I bought at Grand Victoria in Elgin.
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Best regards,
The "Ask the Pro" Staff

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Dear Bill,

The basic strategy wil lvary depending upon the number of decks of cards being used and the playing rules. Thatís why in my book (Blackjack; Take The Money & Run) I included an Appendix containing basic strategy charts for different rules and number of decks.

Regards,

Henry Tamburin

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Dear BJInsider.com Expert Guide,

The following question was asked by

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1) If both the player and the dealer have 21 how much does the player get?.

2) What does Blackjack mean?



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Best regards,
The "Ask the Pro" Staff

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Dear Gokul,

A blackjack is a two card 21 (it must contain a 10 value card and an ace). In order for a player to have a blackjack hand, it must be the initial two card hand dealt to him (ie two card 21ís that occur after a split are not blackjack hands). A 21 is a hand that totals exactly 21. Obviously a blackjack hand is a 21 but the distinction is that blackjack hands are paid at 3 to 2 payoff odds and 21 hands win at 1 to 1 odds. For example a player who has a 5, 6 and draws a 10 has a 21 hand. If a player gets a 21 and the dealer also a 21, then no one wins (itís a tie or push). A dealerís blackjack will also beat a players 21.

Regards,

Henry Tamburin

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