Blackjack in the morning satisfies
John Grochowski firstname.lastname@example.org June 20, 2012 6:48PM
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Updated: June 21, 2012 10:37AM
It was just past 9 on a Tuesday morning, one of my favorite times to play. Crowds were small, tables were wide open, and I settled in for a little $10 a hand blackjack.
It was a six-deck game, with the dealer standing on all 17s and doubling down after splitting pairs permitted. I was dealt a pair of 8s against a dealer’s 10. That’s one of the hands that makes players groan. I pushed out a second $10 bet to split the pair, then drew a 10 on top of each one for two 18s.
“That didn’t work out too bad for you,” said a woman who was sitting toward the middle of the table.
My response: “We’ll see.”
What we saw was the dealer turn up a 10 for a 20 before he swept away both of my bets.
About half an hour later, the same situation occurred. I split my 8s against the dealer’s 10. The gentleman sitting at first base shook his head and said, “You’re really going to make that play again?”
I smiled and nodded. Splitting was the best percentage play. If I stood, I could win only if the dealer busted. If I hit, I’d lose any time I drew a 6 or higher to bust, and I even if I drew a low card I could lose to a better dealer’s hand.
Hitting is the better of those two options. My average loss for hitting would be 53.4 percent of my bet for hitting, or 53.7 percent of my bet for standing. That’s either $5.34 or $5.37 per $10 wagered.
When I split the pair, my average loss decreases to 47.5 percent of my initial wager. If doubling down after the split was not allowed, my average loss would be a little higher at 48.6 percent of my first wager, but still less than if I just made a hit/stand decision.
Sometimes it means losing two bets at once, as it did on my first attempt that morning. Less often, it means winning two at once. And sometimes the results fall in between, as they did on my second try.
After I split, I drew an Ace on one 8 for a 19, then drew a 4 and a 9 for a 21 on the second hand. The dealer turned up a 9, and I had one win and one push. That’s a result I’ll take anytime.
John Grochowski is a local free-lance writer. Look for him on Facebook (http://tinyurl.com/7lzdt44); Twitter (@GrochowskiJ) and at casinoanswerman.com.