So you think you are a hot shot blackjack player? Take this short quiz and see how much you really know about the game.
1. You hold a pair of 8s and the dealer shows a face card. Would youHenry Tamburin is the editor and publisher of the Blackjack Insider Newsletter and author of the best-selling Blackjack: Take the Money & Run. He is also the lead Instructor for the Golden Touch Blackjack course, a feature writer for Casino Player magazine (and 6 other publications); an owner of a casino gambling publishing company (www.rsucasinobooks.com) and the host of www.smartgaming.com. For a free three month subscription to the Henry's Blackjack Insider Newsletter with full membership privileges go to www.bjinsider.com/free. Henry's website is www.smartgaming.com hit, stand, or split?
2. You hold an Ace, 7 (8 or 18) and the dealer shows a 5 upcard. Would you stand, hit or double down?
3. You hold a 10,6 and the dealer shows a 7 upcard. Would you hit or stand?
4. You hold a pair of 9’s and the dealer shows a 9 upcard. Would you stand or split?
5. You hold a 10,2 and the dealer shows a 3. Would you hit or stand?
6. You hold a pair of 5’s and the dealer shows a 6. Would you hit, split, or double down?
7. You hold a pair of face cards and the dealer shows an ace and asks for “insurance (see blackjack insurance)”? Would you make the insurance bet? Yes or No.
8. You have 2, 3, ace, ace and the dealer shows a 5 upcard. Would you stand or hit?
9. You have 9, 6 and the dealer shows a face card. Would you stand, hit, or surrender?
10. You have Ace, 3, 4 and the dealer shows a 9 upcard. Would you hit or stand?
Which is True or False statement.
11. Always take even money on a blackjack hand when the dealer shows an ace.
12. The third base player is the most important player on the table. If he stands or hits correctly, everyone will win.
13. A player who doesn’t have a clue about when to stand or hit will cause his fellow table players to lose.
14. Card counters always win.
15. Surrender is a playing rule that when used correctly can limit your losses.
16. Which of the following rules favor the casino and which favor the player.
Dealer hits soft 17
Double after pair splitting
6 decks vs. one deck
Resplit aces allowed
Double only on 10 or 11
No resplitting of pairs
Answers (give yourself 5 points for each correct answer)
1. Split. You are better off starting a hand with an 8 rather than with a 16 against a dealer face card. Overall you’ll win 5% more by splitting compared to hitting (standing is the least desirable play). As a general basic strategy rule you should always split 8’s no matter what the dealer shows.
2. Double down. Even though an 18 is a strong player hand, you will win 10% more money in the long run if you double down. The main reason is that by doubling you can get more money on the table when the dealer has a good chance of breaking with a 5 upcard.
3. Hit. Most blackjack players will hit a 16 against a dealer 10 but not against the dealer’s 7 upcard. They reason is that a 10 is a stronger card than a 7 so it’s more important to hit against the 10. In fact the opposite is true. It’s a worse mistake to stand on 16 against a dealer’s 7 vs. a 10 upcard. Why? Even though the risk of busting the 16 is the same whether the dealer has a 7 or 10 upcard, your chances of eking a win by drawing a small card are greater when the dealer shows a 7 compared to a 10. Overall you’ll win $7 more per $100 bet in the long run when you hit compared to standing.
4. Split. You are slightly better off starting with a count of 9 rather than an 18 against a dealer's 9 upcard. You’ll win 41% and lose 59% of the hands if you stand on 18 (at a dollar a hand your net loss is $18 after $100 bet). If you split, you’ll end up winning about 47% of the hands and losing 53% (net loss is $12 – because you double your bet when pair splitting- per $100 bet). You’ll gain an extra $6 by splitting.
5. Hit. Only a 10-value card will bust your 12. Plus the dealer is not as vulnerable to busting with a 3 (and 2) upcard compared to a 4, 5 or 6 upcard. For these reasons you should hit 12 when the dealer shows a 3 (and 2) upcard but stand if the dealer’s upcard is 4, 5 or 6.
6. Double down. Most novice players make the mistake of splitting 5’s. Never split 5’s. Treat a pair of 5’s as a 10 and against a dealer’s 6 upcard the best percentage play is to double down.
7. No. Insurance pays 2 to 1 on a bet that has less than 1 chance in 3 of winning (i.e. the odds are greater than 2 to 1). That will cost you money –about $7 for every $100 worth of insurance bets you make. Don’t do it!
8. Hit. Be careful with soft hands. A 2, 3, ace, ace is a soft 17 and you should never stand on soft 17 no matter what the dealer shows.
9. Surrender. You will lose greater than 50 cents per dollar bet if you stand or hit. By surrendering you limit your loss to exactly 50 cents. Therefore you will save some money in the long run when you surrender.
10. Hit. An ace, 3, 4 is soft 18, Normally you would stand when you hold an 18 but in this case you have a soft 18. Against a dealer’s 9, you are slightly better off hitting a soft 18 rather than standing.
11. False. You will be giving up about 4% of your potential profits in the long run every time you take even money. Your best percentage play is to pass on taking even money.
12. False. This is misconception that most novice players have about blackjack.
13. False. This is another misconception.
14. Card counters do not win every time they play. They have a long-term advantage, which means over time they will win more money than lose. Over the short term – like a single playing session – they can lose.
15. True. When used correctly surrender can limit player’s losses.
16. The player favorable rules are double after pair splitting, resplit aces, surrender.
The casino favorable rules are dealer hits soft 17, 6 decks vs. one deck, double only on 9 and 10, and no replitting of pairs.
If you scored 75 or 80 you should be holding your own at the blackjack tables.
If you scored 60 – 80 you are probably losing more money than winning when you play blackjack.
If you scored less than 60, you had better spend some time improving your blackjack playing skills otherwise be prepared to lose a lot of money.
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