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Best of John Marchel
Indian strategy card1 August 2015
I was traveling back to California so I didn’t stay too long. Before I finished playing I asked the pit boss for a deck of their cards and he gladly provided me with one. A short time later I opened the deck to see its makeup. Sometimes Indian cards have unusual face or court cards. They will profile Indian chiefs in lieu of the standard jack, queen and king royal figures.
What caught my attentions in this particular deck was an extra card that displayed basic strategy for multi-deck blackjack. Comparing it to the blackjack strategy card from Instructional Services, found in many gift stores in Las Vegas, it had the same strategy.
Looking back at my experience playing in that specific casino and seeing all the bad plays being made by my fellow players, I was surprised they played so poorly since the casino provided the knowledge on how to play blackjack correctly.
However, those Washington patrons seemed to play their own "bad" way. In fact, at the few tables I played at, everyone except me, played the side bets each hand, and most took insurance every time the dealer showed an ace. Based on their play, the casino was making a lot of extra money from these unskilled players! Each of those actions has a high house advantage and is a bad move on the part of players.
The visit seemed to boil down to a simple concept: To bring blackjack close to an even game requires a two-step process. Number one, you need to obtain a strategy card, and in this case the casino provided it, and number two, the most important action -- read the card!
BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW
• Many believe Edmond Hoyle (1672-1769) wrote the first book on card games. However, Charles Cotton published The Complete Gamester in 1674 in London. He laid out the rules and basic strategy for more than a dozen card games.
• The computer tells us that blackjack dealers will break, on average, approximately 28% of the time. Basic strategy players, on the other hand, will bust only about 16% on average.
• It was in March 1964 that Life magazine published a major nine-page article about Dr. Edward Thorp’s book Beat The Dealer and his work about blackjack strategy and card counting.
• Larry Evans (1932-2010) was a rare individual who mastered both blackjack and chess strategy. He became an International Grandmaster and the U.S. State Department’s “Chess Ambassador.” He also used his refined memory to make extra dollars in casinos playing blackjack. Eventually, he was banned from all the casinos in Las Vegas and elsewhere.
• Originally, baccarat in US casinos had a side bet that the Bank hand would receive a natural 8 or 9, with payout odds of 9 to 1. Edward Thorp, who popularized card counting at blackjack, used a counting system for the side bet at baccarat. When casino management discovered he was hitting the “natural” more often than normal, they dropped the optional side bet.
• Washington State has only 29 Indian tribes, but they operate 33 casinos.
Join John on his website at www.johnmarchelgamblingtips.com.
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Best of John Marchel