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Best of Henry Tamburin

Gaming Guru

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Barring, dealer advice, speed count and more

17 April 2009

Here are a cornucopia of questions that I've received from blackjack players, and my responses.

"What's the point of reading books and articles and watching videos on blackjack when the more skillful you become the higher the probability you'll get barred and thrown out the door?"

Too many players are getting paranoid about getting thrown out of the casino or getting beaten up by casino thugs (as depicted in the Hollywood movie "21") if they become card counters. The fact of the matter is that if you are $25 or lower bettor, I wouldn't worry about getting barred. If you just give the appearance that you are playing blackjack for "fun," play for 1 hour or less, and not make dramatic jumps in your bet size, the chance that you will get barred is slim to none. Now if you happen to be a black chip ($100) or higher player, you will get getting more attention from the pit. A little more camouflage is required to stay under the casino radar. (I'd recommend that you read Ian Andersen's book, Burning the Tables in Las Vegas, for more details).

"A blackjack dealer chastised me for doubling down on 10 when he had a 6 showing. He said something to the effect, 'Would the casino allow you to double down in this situation if it was to your advantage?' Was he correct?"

No, the dealer was incorrect. You won't win every time you double down on a two-card hand that totals 10, but in the long run you'll win more money compared to hitting. Your best play is to always double down on hard 10 against a dealer's 6 face card, and ignore any dealer's advice on how to play your hand (many dealers know nothing about the correct playing strategies).

"I've tried card counting but can't seem to keep the running count accurately especially in six-deck games with several players on the table. Is there some other way to get the edge that doesn't involve card counting?"

Unfortunately, there is no other way other than card counting that will get you the edge over the casino (well, there are some advanced techniques, like shuffling tracking, but this is even harder to master than card counting). My advice to players who have found traditional card counting systems too difficult is to learn Speed Count. With Speed Count, you never have to deal with negative integers or have to mentally divide one number by another so it's much easier to learn and use. You can find all the details about Speed Count in the book Golden Touch Blackjack Revolution by Frank Scoblete.

"What's the best way to tip a friendly blackjack dealer?"

I suggest that you place a bet for the dealer on top of the bet you make on the hand. This way you control the tip. If the hand wins, I give the dealer the amount of the winning payoff for the tip bet and let the original tip-bet ride on the next hand. This method of tipping also has the added benefit that it increases slightly your rating since the tip bet will count as part of your bet.

"Where can I get a schedule of blackjack tournaments throughout the US?"

I have a listing of major blackjack tournaments in my Blackjack Insider e-newsletter that is provided by tournament pro Ken Smith (go to www.bjinsider.com). In addition, you'll find a schedule of blackjack tournaments in the Las Vegas area on the tournament page at www.lasvegasadvisor.com, and nationally at www.blackjacktournaments.com.

"I haven't done well in blackjack tournaments so far. Where can I find information that will help me?"

I can offer you two choices: read the articles by the tournament pros that write for my Blackjack Insider newsletter each month, or get a copy of Ken Smith's e-book, How to Win More Blackjack Tournaments. The latter is chock-full of playing and betting advice that will help you improve your chances of winning a tournament (for details on Ken's book, go to the online store at www.bjinsider.com).

"They changed the rules in the casino I play in from dealer standing on soft 17 to hitting soft 17. Do I need to change the way I play?"

In a typical 6-deck blackjack game, you should make the following three changes to the basic playing strategy when the rules specify that the dealer must hit soft 17 - hit 11 against dealer ace, double down on soft 19 against dealer 6, and double down on soft 17 against dealer 2.

"Is that LV Pro character that writes trip reports in your newsletter really you?"

No, it's not me. LV Pro is a mid-level card counter that lives in Los Angeles and makes frequent trips to Las Vegas (and sometimes Reno) to play blackjack. He is also active on blackjack chat groups on the Internet. His trip reports were so popular with our subscribers that we published them in two e-books titled You've Got Heat (Vol. 1 and 2). You can read sample chapters on www.youvegotheat.com).

"Are the stories about the MIT blackjack team really true?"

Some are, some aren't. There's a new book called The Legends of Blackjack, which contains the true story of the MIT Team from two of the leaders (Mike Aponte and John Chang). You can read more about the book, including reading a Chapter on George Hascik, who was the leader of the famous Czech blackjack team that won a quarter million dollars from an Atlantic City casino, at www.bjinsider.com/LOB.

"What's your opinion of the 6-5 blackjack games?"

They stink, they are a rip-off, and blackjack players everywhere should NOT play these games. Period.

Got a question on blackjack? Send it to me at HTamburin@aol.com.

Recent Articles
Best of Henry Tamburin
Henry Tamburin

Henry Tamburin is the author of the best-selling book, Blackjack: Take The Money and Run, editor of the Blackjack Insider e-Newsletter, and Lead Instructor for the Golden Touch Blackjack course. For a free 3-month subscription to his blackjack newsletter with full membership privileges, visit www.bjinsider.com/free. For details on the Golden Touch Blackjack course visit www.goldentouchblackjack.com or call 866/WIN-BJ21. For a free copy of his casino gambling catalog featuring over 50 products call 888/353-3234 or visit the Internet store at www.smartgaming.com.

Henry Tamburin Websites:

www.smartgaming.com

Books by Henry Tamburin:

> More Books By Henry Tamburin

Henry Tamburin
Henry Tamburin is the author of the best-selling book, Blackjack: Take The Money and Run, editor of the Blackjack Insider e-Newsletter, and Lead Instructor for the Golden Touch Blackjack course. For a free 3-month subscription to his blackjack newsletter with full membership privileges, visit www.bjinsider.com/free. For details on the Golden Touch Blackjack course visit www.goldentouchblackjack.com or call 866/WIN-BJ21. For a free copy of his casino gambling catalog featuring over 50 products call 888/353-3234 or visit the Internet store at www.smartgaming.com.

Henry Tamburin Websites:

www.smartgaming.com

Books by Henry Tamburin:

> More Books By Henry Tamburin