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# Blackjack Quiz Answers Separate Contenders from Pretenders

22 October 2006

If you took the blackjack IQ test in my last column, this is your moment of truth. The correct answers appear below. Figure that 22 points out of 34 makes you a legitimate player. Any less and you're a sadly misguided player.

1) a - A soft hand is one that contains an Ace counted as 11. If by hitting, you go over 21, then the Ace reverts to a value of 1 and you go around again. Hence, the term "soft". (1 point).

2) b – Playing the dealer's hand last is the only advantage the house has in the game. The house wins all hands where both player and dealer bust (this includes hands that the dealer would've busted, but didn't have to play out her hand), which happens about once every 27 hands. (1 point).

3) b – Playing two hands at a time will bring exactly the same combined result as two separate people playing identical strategies. If both spots just happen to be the same person, what difference could that possibly make? (1 point).

4) a – Forget what always "seems" to be. The fact is that 30% of all the cards are 10s, so that's how often the dealer will end up with a 10 in the hole. There's just not room for anything more, since 216 cards out of a 312 card shoe are something else. (2 points).

5) a – Read my lips: There's no such thing as the dealer showing a "bust card". She'll bust 42% of the time with a 5 or 6 up and less often than that with anything else. Making a particular play just because the dealer's "supposed to bust", is starting off on the wrong foot. (2 points).

6) b – Understand that sometimes 3rd base's play will help you and sometimes it will hurt, but that's all strictly pot luck. The important point is that 3rd base's play can never change your "chances". So being the slightest bit concerned over it is useless. (2 points).

7) b – If you stand and win 58 times while losing 42, you'll net a 16 bet profit. But if you double down and win 55 double bets while losing 45 doubles, you'll net 20 bets. This exemplifies that, many times, the most likely way to win a hand is not the best way to play it. (3 points).

8) c – 16 against a 7 is the hand that will convert from loser to winner the most often by hitting. Unlike the other three hands, almost any card that doesn't break you will win it for you. It's a "must hit" hand. (3 points).

9) a – Very few players realize how close a decision 16 against a 10 is. Fact is, if your 16 contains a 4 or a 5 in it, you're better off standing. (3 points).

10) c – Believe it or not, it makes no more sense to take even money on blackjack than to insure a 17. Even money is simply your standard Insurance bet. The house just confuses you by combining the bottom line of the two bets together. (3 points).

11) c – Just because something is a correct basic strategy play, that doesn't necessarily mean it makes money. With this hand and several others, splitting is just the least costly way out of a bad hand. If the player next to you wants to take part of your action on such pairs, you'll save some more money. (4 points).

12) a – It's true, doubling with 8 against a 6 is not a correct play. That's because hitting will win 56% of the time, where doubling will win only 52.5%. But doubling still wins more than it loses. So if somebody else makes this double (and several other hands) for less, you gain something by having part of it. (4 points).

13) b – It's really ironic that so many players abandon a table just when the shoe turns in their favor. Remember, low cards help the dealer and high cards help the player. In this familiar scenario, a barrage of babies has just been taken out of play. Now's the time to stay and bet it up! (5 points).

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Fred Renzey
Fred Renzey is a high-stakes, expert poker player. On a daily basis he faces--and beats--some of the best players in the country in fierce poker room competition. Now for the first time, Renzey offers his perceptive insights on how to play winning poker. For Fred's 13-page blackjack booklet "Ace/10 Front Count", send \$9 to Fred Renzey, P.O. Box 598, Elk Grove Village, IL, 60009

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Fred Renzey
Fred Renzey is a high-stakes, expert poker player. On a daily basis he faces--and beats--some of the best players in the country in fierce poker room competition. Now for the first time, Renzey offers his perceptive insights on how to play winning poker. For Fred's 13-page blackjack booklet "Ace/10 Front Count", send \$9 to Fred Renzey, P.O. Box 598, Elk Grove Village, IL, 60009