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25 March 2017
By Henry Tamburin
The next time you belly up to the bar with a friend or co-worker who thinks he knows everything about the game of blackjack, ask Mr. Know-It-All a few of these questions.
QUESTION: How did the game of blackjack get its name?
ANSWER: When “21” was initially introduced in the United States in gambling houses, it wasn’t very popular. So casino operators offered a 10-1 bonus payout if a player received an ace of spades and a black-colored jack (i.e., either a jack of spades or jack of clubs). This hand was called a “blackjack” and the name stuck to the game even though the bonus payout was eventually abolished and subsequently replaced with the traditional 3-2 bonus payout.
QUESTION: In a single-deck game, what is the maximum number of cards that could comprise a dealer’s hand of 18?
ANSWER: Ten cards. The dealer would have to receive the cards in this order: 2, 2, 2, 2, 3, A, A, A, A, 3.
QUESTION: Who were “The Four Horsemen of Aberdeen,” and what important contribution did they make to the game of blackjack?
ANSWER: The Four Horsemen were Roger Baldwin, Wilbert Cantey, James McDermott and Herbert Maisel. In 1956, using nothing more than desk calculators, they developed and published the first reasonably accurate basic playing strategy for blackjack.
QUESTION: Who invented and published the first card counting system for blackjack?
ANSWER: Doctor Edward Thorp is universally regarded as the “father of blackjack card counting.”
QUESTION: What was the name of Thorp’s classic book on card counting?
ANSWER: The name of the book is “Beat the Dealer.” The book was published in 1962 and it quickly made the New York Times list of best-selling books. It still is one of the all-time best-selling blackjack books.
QUESTION: What does a new 52-card deck of Bee playing cards weigh?
ANSWER: It weighs 3.4 ounces.
QUESTION: How frequently does a player get dealt a blackjack hand?
ANSWER: About once in every 21 hands, or roughly 4.8% of the time for single-deck (for six decks, it’s 4.7%).
QUESTION: What is the chance that you could lose three consecutive hands at blackjack, if pushes are excluded?
ANSWER: You have a 14% chance of losing three hands in a row, excluding pushes.
My next column will give you some more questions and answers to stump your friends.
Henry Tamburin, Ph.D. is the editor of the Blackjack Insider e-Newsletter (www.bjinsider.com) and host of smartgaming.com.
This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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