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27 April 2000

Dear AP:
What is "surrender" in blackjack and how do you use it? I have this ongoing battle with my wife. She says you should never surrender any hand. I say you should surrender every hand of 16 against a dealer's up-card of seven, eight, nine or ten. Who's right?

PW

Dear PW:
Your wife is 100 percent wrong. Unfortunately, you are 50 percent wrong. Surrenderâ€”the giving up of a rotten hand and half your betâ€”is a good option for the player who knows when to use it. The hands you are surrendering are long term losers and the surrender option merely cuts down the size of your loss. Here are the rules for surrender that can be used in all blackjack games that offer this option.

• Surrender 16 against a dealer's up-card of nine, 10 or ace.
• Surrender 15 against a dealer's up-card of 10.

The surrender option does not apply when the dealer has a blackjack. In those cases, you lose your entire bet. So tell your wife that yes, indeed, there are times to surrender and tell yourself not to surrender too much.

Dear AP:
What are the "proposition" bets in craps and are they worth playing?

BC

Dear BC:
The proposition bets are generally found on the layout in the middle of the table. These include the any seven, the two, three, eleven and twelve. These proposition bets are one-roll bets; that is, on the next roll the number you bet on must appear for you to win. Thus, if you bet the eleven, the next roll must be eleven. Another one-roll proposition bet is the Field. This is a bet that one of the following numbers will be rolled next: two, three, four, nine, ten, eleven, or twelve. Finally, in the exact center of the layout are the hardways bets. These are not one roll bets. Instead, they are propositions bets that the four, six, eight or ten will be made by doubles (that is, if you bet the four, say, it will be made with 2:2) before a seven is rolled. Because these bets are long shots, they appear to have attractive payouts. This is mere appearance. The casino extracts a large house edge on these bets. They should all be avoided.

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