QUESTION: Betting $25 a hand, when I get a blackjack I’m paid $32.50. (I only play where I get 3-2 payoffs on blackjacks. I won’t put up with any of that 6-5 nonsense.) I then make a $2.50 bet for the dealer, and up my bet to $30 for the next hand, so I put the regular $25 in winnings in my stack and reinvest the rest.
My friend said I’m doing it just the wrong way, that when I get a blackjack one hand, I’m less likely to get one the next, so I should bet less. Is that right?
ANSWER: It’s not as simple as your friend would make it. The composition of the remaining deck, and therefore the likelihood that you’ll get another blackjack, is dependent on the cards dealt to all players, not just on yours.
Let’s use a six-deck game as an example, since that seems to be the most common condition nowadays. There are 312 cards, with 24 Aces (7.7 percent) and 96 10-value cards (30.7) percent.
If we consider only your cards, then after your blackjack there are 310 other cards, with 23 Aces (7.4 percent) and 95 10-values (30.6 percent). The lower concentration of Aces and 10-values would mean a diminished chance of getting a blackjack on the next hand.
However, what if you, six other players at the table and the dealer had used a total of 26 cards in the hand. On average, 26 cards would include two Aces and eight 10-values. But what if in this hand, yours was the only Ace dealt and only five 10-values came out. The of the other 286 cards, there would be 23 Aces (8.0 percent) and 91 10-values (31.8 percent). Now there’s a higher than usual concentration of blackjack cards, making it more likely you’ll get a blackjack on the next hand even though you’ve just had one.
Not only that. Cards dealt in previous hands affect the composition of the deck, too. The deck could be very rich in blackjack cards, making it a great opportunity for players. It also could be depleted of blackjack cards, leaving a rough stretch ahead. There’s no way to tell without counting cards.
In any event, your blackjack alone is too little information to dictate any changes to your betting patterns.
QUESTION: A long time ago, I had a nice little perk when I reserved a hotel room at a casino resort. They gave me $55 in match play chips that I could use on any bet with even-money payoffs. If I bet $5 of my own money plus a $5 match play on black at roulette, when I won they’d pay me $10, I kept my one $5 bet and they took away the match play chip.
The way it worked for me is that I made 11 roulette bets, and I won five of them and lost six. But instead of losing money, I won because of the double payoffs on each win.
My question is, what does it do to the house edge when you get match play like that?
ANSWER: That’s a nice little low-limit win. You invested $55 for the 11 bets, got back $50 in winnings plus kept $25 from the five winning bets, for a total of $75. Your profit for the 11-bet run was $20.
On even-money payoff bets such as red/black, odd/even and first 18/last18, match play gives players a healthy edge. Using red/black as an example, there are 18 red numbers, 18 black, and the zero and double zero both have green backgrounds. Per 38 spins, you'll average 18 wins and 20 losses. At $5 a spin, you risk a total of $190. On the 18 winners you keep your $5 wagers plus get $10 in winnings, including match play, so at the end of the trial you have $270.
That's an $80 profit. Divide that by the $190 risked, then multiply by 100 to convert to percent, and you get a 41.1 percent player edge.
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