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# Will the Blackjack "Ploppies" Ever Get It Right?

13 April 2007

Hey you! Yeah you -- reading this column right here, right now. Something's been bugging me about the way you play blackjack. So I've got to ask you this question. Suppose you're playing in a typical shoe game, or even double deck, and you're dealt:

6/2

The dealer has a 6 up. Are you gonna' double down with that hand? If you're like most players, you wouldn't –- and you'd be absolutely right not to. Now instead, what if your hand was

4/4

against that same 6 up? What'ya gonna' do now, huh? If you say "double down", you've got 15 seconds to explain why -– and it better make some logical sense.

Of course, you're going to say that the dealer is pretty weak, and you'd be right. Next, you're probably going to say that since she's weak, you should get some more money out there, and you'd be right again. And since you should get more money out there, you figure you ought to double down – and you'd be dead wrong!

Think about it. If doubling with 4/4 was right, why wouldn't you double with 6/2? They're both a total of 8. What possible card could help your 4/4 that wouldn't do the same for your 6/2? None!

Fact is, the times you catch 2 or 3 and are stuck with an excellent total of 10 or 11 that you can't hit make doubling down a bad move. Nevertheless, this is exactly how most of you "ploppies" play.

What's a ploppy? A ploppy is a typical blackjack player who uses poor logic and, as a result, plays a poor, losing game. If you think it's a good play to double down with 4/4 against a dealer's weak up-card, like even a 5 or 6, then you're a ploppy.

The right way to play 4/4 when the dealer has a 5 or 6 up is not to double down, but to split. Now, why would you want to break up a rather fair total of 8, and turn it into two weak totals of 4 each? It's because more than half the time, you'll catch at least one 5, 6, 7 or Ace on one of those 4s. Then it's time to double down. That's how to extract the most from having a pair of 4s against a weak dealer's 5 or 6 up.

And don't even think about splitting or doubling those 4s against a dealer's 4, or God forbid, a 3. The dealer's just not weak enough with those cards showing.

More Ploppy Logic: Here's another question I have for blackjack players everywhere from Atlantic City to Vegas. Have you ploppies ever really thought about your soft double downs? You know, when you've got an Ace/something against a small dealer's up-card? Please understand that the lower your soft hand is, the less likely it is you should double. Why?

Say you've got A/2 against a dealer's 3. Most ploppies will double that hand in a heartbeat. But now, think about this. If you catch an Ace, 2, 3, 4 or 9, you'll wish you could hit again, but you can't. And if you catch a 10, Jack, Queen or King, you're stuck with 13. Yet, with a 3 up, the dealer will make a hand 63% of the time. Only if you snag a 5, 6, 7 or 8 will you be glad that you doubled down. Any other card, and you'll wish you hadn't. Are you beginning to catch on?

The lower your soft total is, the more you give up in the play of the hand by limiting yourself to one hit. To double with low soft totals, the dealer's got to have a weak 5 or 6 up to increase you're chance of winning the hand by default all those times you catch a bad card. With A/4 or A/5, you can do it against a 4, 5 or 6. But when you have Ace/6 or Ace/7, that's the time to double against any 3, 4, 5 or 6.

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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

#### Books by Fred Renzey:

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

#### Books by Fred Renzey:

Blackjack Bluebook II