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Gaming Guru

 

Understanding the games

21 September 2013

On a recent trip to Las Vegas I was quite surprised with the number of players I saw at the blackjack tables where the house was paying only 6 to 5 for a blackjack. I heard some players say “It's only single deck, so it must be a good game.”

However, you should know that the house advantage with this rule goes from a small percent (less than 1 percent) for the normal single-deck game to almost one and a half percent.

Here is the math: the traditional 3-2 payout for a blackjack will get the player $7.50 for a $5 bet. With the 6 to 5 rule the player is only paid $6 for a $5 bet. Reducing blackjack payouts from 3:2 to 6:5 adds a substantial 1.4 percent to the casino's advantage. That difference in the payout will rate the game as a poor one for the player.

Al Rogers, manager of the website bj21.com and a semi-retired professional gambler, is quoted as saying "People are being scammed, and I don't like to see them being ripped off." Going back in time when Doctor Edward Thorp's great classic blackjack book “Beat the Dealer” came out (1962), casinos panicked and changed the game's rules, which greatly increased the house edge. Well, players stayed away from the game since the odds were so bad and that forced the casinos to suspend those poor rule changes. Today, if players would avoid blackjack tables with a 6 to 5 payout they could again get the rule changed and return blackjack to a reasonable game.

So don't you be a sucker. Never play those 6-to-5 games and that's an order; they are bankroll killers!


BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW

From 1976 to 1997, Washington State allowed commercial card rooms to operate throughout the state. Those card rooms offered mostly poker and blackjack, and were player-backed instead of house-backed.

Some casinos have a spot on their blackjack rating slips, which can be marked to indicate that a player knows blackjack basic strategy.

When playing at a shoe game of blackjack, you will play the same number of hands in one hour as you would in three hours against a single deck.

Edwin Thorp, the man who revolutionized casino blackjack, is quoted as saying “It would have taken roughly 10,000 man-years to do the same calculations with the aid of a desk calculator.” Thorp had used the IBM 704 mainframe computer at MIT to do all his blackjack calculations.

Howard Stern, a popular radio/TV personality, was once refused by all casino owners in Las Vegas when he requested to place a $1 million bet on a single blackjack hand.

Numerous surveys have shown that blackjack dealers prefer that you bet their tip instead of just passing it to them, even if the house sometimes wins it.

A $5 player at blackjack will wager about $300 to $350 an hour. A 25-cent slot player, playing 5 coins each pull, will wager about $500 to $600 an hour.
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Best of John Marchel
John Marchel
John Marchel is an author, speaker, teacher and player -- what John plays are casino games. He’s been a casino player for over 25 years and has played successfully in Europe, Panama, the Caribbean, Canada, Atlantic City, Las Vegas, on Indian reservations, cruise ships and in over 350 casinos throughout the US. He is also the author of six books about gambling, and has written numerous magazine articles and is currently a columnist for three gambling magazines and one internet magazine.

Since 1988 John has combined his experience as a manager, teacher and player to present seminars and lectures about gambling. In addition, John has had an Internet website since 1995 that offers books, special reports and tips about gambling. He also publishes a monthly Internet gambling newsletter. The newsletter keeps subscribers alert to trends, information and winning techniques that allows them to be more successful when visiting casinos.

John Marchel Websites:

johnmarchelgambling.com

Books by John Marchel:

KISS Guide to Gambling

> More Books By John Marchel

John Marchel
John Marchel is an author, speaker, teacher and player -- what John plays are casino games. He’s been a casino player for over 25 years and has played successfully in Europe, Panama, the Caribbean, Canada, Atlantic City, Las Vegas, on Indian reservations, cruise ships and in over 350 casinos throughout the US. He is also the author of six books about gambling, and has written numerous magazine articles and is currently a columnist for three gambling magazines and one internet magazine.

Since 1988 John has combined his experience as a manager, teacher and player to present seminars and lectures about gambling. In addition, John has had an Internet website since 1995 that offers books, special reports and tips about gambling. He also publishes a monthly Internet gambling newsletter. The newsletter keeps subscribers alert to trends, information and winning techniques that allows them to be more successful when visiting casinos.

John Marchel Websites:

johnmarchelgambling.com

Books by John Marchel:

101 Casino Gambling Tips: Affordable Strategies & Techniques for Maximizing Profits & Reducing Loses

> More Books By John Marchel