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Best of John Marchel

Gaming Guru

 

Why you double down

24 June 2017

During a recent trip to Las Vegas, I was playing at a blackjack table when the dealer turned up a 6 as her up-card. I had an ace-7 and quickly doubled down. I immediately began to get calls from follow players that I had an 18 and should stay. The dealer hesitated, but I just smiled and said nothing. She game me another card; an 8 for my new total of 16. Loud moans were now heard from my follow players. I still was not concerned because the dealer was still in trouble with the 6 as her up card.

The last player had a hard 17 and stayed. It was now for the dealer to turn up her down-card. All eyes were now watching the dealers’ hands. She took her up-card and placed it under the edge of the down unknown card. She took a split second to make eye contact with me and turned up a queen! More noises from the other players! She moved to the shoe and quickly grabbed the next card. She slid it across the felt and flipped it next to her 10-6; a 10 of clubs for a total of 26 – a big bust!

Well, you would think someone had hit a home run. Players hands went up, a few jumped out of their chairs, they all made load cheers, and many began to clap. All at the table had won. What did I do? I simply smiled! I had expected the same results, just as the dealer played them out. Basic strategy said I should double and I did. Yes, 18 is a power hand, but it’s important to note the dealer had a very poor hand. The main idea, under the circumstances, was to get more chips onto the table when the odds are in your favor.

Here is some data for you to consider when it is time to make a move out of the ordinary:




The odds the dealer will bust when holding the listed up card:

2 35%
3 38%
4 40% (dealer hitting hand)
5 43%
6 42%
7 26%
8 24%
9 23% (dealer standing hand)
10 21%
Ace 11%

Note the high percentage of the dealer busting when the up-card is a hitting hand (2-6). The odds fall greatly when the dealers’ up card is a standing hand (7-ace). It’s not a 50-50 chance, blackjack is never that good, but it’s very large in favor of the player when the dealer has a “busting” card showing. You want to double or split and get more chips into play when the dealer has that “busting” hand. That’s how you get ahead of the house.



BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW

• In Britain, the government Gaming Board regulates that a player can only double down on 9, 10 and 11. The board also prohibits the splitting of 4-4, 5-5 and 10-10.

• There is an old saying about helping other players at the blackjack table: “Wise men don’t need it, and fools won’t head it.”

• The late Australian Kerry Packer, a media tycoon, preferred the game of blackjack among others. Kerry is said to have tipped one Las Vegas cocktail waitress the total mortgage on her house.

• The odds at blackjack predict that there is only a 14% chance of losing three consecutive hands.

• In April 2011, Tropicana Casino and Resort in Atlantic City lost 5.8 million dollars to one blackjack player; Don Johnson, blackjack aficionado.

• On Jan. 2, 2008 “The Four Horseman of Aberdeen”; Roger Baldwin, Wilbert Cantey, Herbert Maisel and James McDermott, were inducted into the Blackjack Hall of Fame. Known as the Baldwin Group, they were the original team who pioneered basic strategy for blackjack and devised a strategy for card counting.

• In early 1964 in reaction to Edward Thorp's book, “Beat the Dealer,” Las Vegas Resort & Hotel Association changes the standard blackjack rules for all casinos in Las Vegas. The two major changes were: no splitting of aces and double down on 11 only. Three weeks later those rules are dropped because most customers refuse to play under those conditions.

• May 30, 1979: Famous cartoon character “Snoopy” from the Peanuts cartoon strip first appears as the gambler “Blackjack Snoopy - World Famous Riverboat Gambler.”

• There are only five “games of skill” found in a casino, blackjack is one of them. The others are live poker, sports betting, horse racing and video poker. All others are considered “games of chance.”

• The definition of cheating in the state of Nevada is “to alter the selection of criteria which determines (a) the result of a game; or (b) the amount or frequency of payment in a game.” Card counting is NOT cheating. You are not cheating while using your brain to keep track of the cards.
Recent Articles
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:

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

> 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:

KISS Guide to Gambling

> More Books By John Marchel