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3 Balls Golf

BlackjackInfo News: Issue 13 - October 16, 2002

In this issue:
1. Recent corrections to the Strategy Engine
2. Stand with (7,7) vs Ten? Yep, that's no error.
3. Online tournaments; Don't miss 'em.
4. Blackjack Switch: A new game with an interesting twist.


1. Recent Corrections to the Strategy Engine

I finally got around to something that's been on my To-Do list for a long time. The late surrender advice given by the Blackjack Basic Strategy Engine is finally accurate based on the number of decks and rules you select. Previously, the late surrender strategy was the same regardless of the settings.

Here are the specific changes:

  • Added late surrender (7,7) vs Ten in 1D.
  • Added late surrender (7,7) vs Ace in 1D H17.
  • Removed late surrender (8,8) vs Ace in 1D H17.
  • Removed late surrender (8,8) vs Ace in 2D H17 DAS.
  • Removed late surrender 16 vs 9 in 1D,2D,3D.

All you non-US players are probably saying to yourselves, "Gee, that's nice, but what about European No-Hole-Card? Ken's been promising that for as long as I can remember." Well, you're right, I have been. I'm starting to feel guilty! But, it's still not done yet. In the meantime, you ENHC players just don't double or split against a dealer 10 or Ace, except continue splitting Aces vs dealer 10. I'll get to it eventually!


2. Stand with (7,7) vs Ten? Yep, that's no error.

While I'm on the topic of errors, I'll cover another question I get a lot. At least once a month, someone emails me to ask about this one. If you use the Strategy Engine to make a chart for a single deck game, you'll notice something peculiar in the 'Splitting Pairs' section. Under (7,7) vs 10, rather than 'Y' or 'N', you'll see 'S' for Stand. How can that be right?

The peculiar case of (7,7) vs 10, in single deck:

Splitting (7,7) vs 10 is not a good idea, but surely hitting is better than standing, right? No, not in this case...

The best card for you to draw is another 7, but there are only 2 sevens left. Also, the dealer is less likely to make a pat hand, because the shortage of remaining sevens means he'll make seventeen less often. When the dealer has a ten showing, it is also quite likely that you could hit, not bust, but still lose the hand. In this case, all these factors add up to make the correct play in this case to stand.

By standing on this hand, you'll lose around 0.50974 of a bet on average. Hitting yields a loss of 0.51482 of a bet. It's a close call, but standing is better. Strange, but true. Just remember, this doesn't apply in a game with two or more decks, because the "7-deficit" isn't such a big deal. And, of course, it doesn't apply to other hands of 14, such as (Ten,4).


3. Online tournaments. Don't miss 'em.

Two online casinos are running tournaments that I think are a good deal this month. First, Global Player is running another of their popular series of events. I competed last month but had no luck. I'll be back trying again. Hopefully you'll see me on the leaderboard as 'ken21'.

The qualifying period runs from Saturday October 19th at midnight to Tuesday October 22nd at 10PM Eastern time. There's no entry fee, but you'll need $50 in chips to play. If you're a new player, you can use their buy $30 / get $30 free offer to fund your account. First place is $1000 in this tournament. The finals are at a multi-player table on October 25th.

Congratulations to 'Xanax': He's a subscriber to this list. In the August tournament at Global Player, he made the finals, though the cards didn't cooperate at the end. If you're interested in seeing details from previous tournaments, there's a nice "Replay" function available in the Guest mode of the Global Player software.

Also worth checking out are the tournaments offered at Intercasino. They run a month-long blackjack tournament, that pays $2500 in prizes, with $1000 for first place. This tournament has a $20 entry fee, but it's well worth it. In this tournament, you don't play with "live money". The bankroll doesn't mean anything. It's just your score. Intercasino is also running a smaller tournament, with a $5 entry fee and a first place prize of $200.

One helpful hint, though this may be confusing...
If you'd like to play both events at Intercasino, play the smaller one first. It ends on October 25th, while the larger tournament runs until October 30th. The Intercasino software will only allow you to play in one event per game type at the same time. I once was locked out of a blackjack tournament, because I played the longer-running tournament first. (I said this was confusing!) I ended up stuck with a $2.50 balance which is too little to make another minimum bet. But, the software wouldn't let me play the other tournament because it thought I was still playing the first one. The trick is: Always play the shorter-running tournament first. Then you can't be stuck and unable to compete in the longer one.

If that didn't make any sense, don't worry. It'll be obvious after you play once. Also, there seems to be no advantage to playing these tournaments early. Just wait until a day or so before they end, and you'll be able to see exactly how much you need to win to be "in the money."


4. Blackjack Switch: A new game with an interesting twist.

There's a new Blackjack game being offered at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, and also online at PlayTech-powered casinos. It's regular blackjack, with a new twist. You play two hands, and after the cards are dealt you can "Switch" the top card between the two hands. Let's say you're dealt a (Ten,4) and a (7,Ace). You could switch the Ace and the 4, and make a Blackjack, and an eleven. Not bad, eh?

Of course, there has to be a catch. Blackjacks only pay even money in this game. Also, if the dealer draws to exactly 22, it's a push, regardless of what your hand is, except blackjack. Despite those two rule changes, this game appears to have a reasonably low house edge, because the "Switch" is so powerful. I won't know for sure until I can make time to analyze the appropriate strategy. This is really a fun game though, and I feel sure we'll see it offered at casinos around the country soon.


That's it for now. Best of luck, online and off! -Ken-


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