Blackjack – FAQ
What would be the best way for one to win a blackjack tournament. I seem to do quite well in regular play, but can never come out in the top two to advance. It seems third place is the best I can do.
Helene from Sherman Oaks, USA
One could write an entire book on blackjack tournament strategy. Briefly, here are some pieces of advice:
- Positional advantage is very important. When you are last to act is the best time to take chances with big bets.
- Bide your time at the beginning. Sometimes on a cold table everyone else will burn themselves out while you coast to first place at your table.
- The second half of the round take big chances to get in first place.
- If competing against one other player you want to bet with him when ahead, and contrary to him when behind.
- Pay attention to the maximum bet allowed. If the maximum bet is small compared to the player stacks you should get aggressive early
First of all, I can’t commend you enough for your web site and information that you continue to detail not only online, but on TV and in your newsletters. I know I can always turn to you whenever I have a thorny question about gambling math.
My question relates to what has come to be known in certain blackjack circles as The Flaw. In a nutshell it says that the original creators of basic strategy programmed a flaw into their calculations which has been recreated over and over again by other mathematicians when they’ve come up with their basic strategy. As one proponent of ’The Flaw’ proclaims, “only 3 others that know post on this board. One is the recently retired IBM type, who confirms that to find the Flaw a computer simulation would have to be programmed to do so-therefore prior knowledge is REQUIRED. The math boyz are certain that they are right; but Thorp can’t figure why so few win. One percent says it all.”
So, what is The Flaw, and is there any truth to it? Or is it theoretically BS? I know it’s easy to dismiss the nay sayers out of hand, but I’m intrigued.
Thanks for the kind words. This “flaw” theory is a load of crap, which is not surprising considering the cesspools where talk of it is usually found. It isn’t the case that one person created the basic strategy and every other blackjack expert just copied it. Numerous mathematicians have developed the basic strategy from scratch and have all come up with the same thing. I find it highly unlikely that every one of them, including me, programs in the exact same flaw.
It’s my understanding Casino’s put a lot of emphasis on a Player’s theoretical win. I would imagine my theoretical value has a direct correlation to compatibility from a house point of view. If I am a $10.00 average Player in Blackjack and play an average of 3 hours per trip, what is the formula a casino uses to determine my theoretical value? Thank you in advance.
Yes, the casinos do calculate the value of a player’s play and then comp back a certain percentage, roughly about 33% to 40%. According to my theoretical house edge table, the casinos assume a house edge of 0.75% in blackjack. So in your example the value of this play would be 0.0075×$10×60×3=$13.50. If the casino comps back 1/3 of the play then you could expect to get a comp worth $4.50. However, most places don’t like to fuss with such small comps.
Where are the single deck games in Vegas that still pay 3 to 2?
With the demise of Binion’s Horseshoe the number of true single deck games in Vegas has fallen by about 75%. Although it isn’t a priority of mine to keep up to date on this some that I know of are the Fiesta Rancho, Golden Gate, El Cortez, and the Western. Beware of single deck games that only pay even money or 6 to 5 on a blackjack, you are much better off at a shoe game that does pay 3 to 2.
I was at the Luxor this week and I noticed a blackjack machine that looked much like a video poker machine. Do these things use random generators like online, or do they work like slot machines?
Using a random number generator _is_ the same as working like a slot machine. Online blackjack, slot machines, and video blackjack all use random number generators.
It is a Nevada state law that an electronic game with representations of cards or dice must be based on fair odds. So the game should be fair with odds the same as in a hand dealt game having the same rules.
I’ve read quotes similar to this on a couple of different sites: “If the dealer won 40 hands in a shoe and you won 20, this trend is likely to continue until you are broke or until the unfavorable bias is removed through many shuffles”. That seems like somewhat “extreme” wording to me but my question is, is there any validity to that concept? Might any clumps of generally favorable (high), or unfavorable, cards make it through one dealer shuffling such that a non-shuffle tracker might take advantage by varying his bets to capitalize on short streaks? By the way, your site kicks ass.
Thanks for the compliment. This theory is called card clumping and would make for good fertilizer if it could be bagged. No legitimate blackjack writer puts any stock in it at all.
What are the pros and cons of burning a card on a blackjack shoe game, when a new dealer taps onto the table?
Unless you are counting cards it doesn’t make any difference. If you are counting cards then it is like decreasing the penetration by one card.