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Ask the Wizard #2

What do you find to be the best method for counting cards in blackjack? When you play do you count the cards? And lastly would you even bother trying to count cards in a six-deck game?

Tyson from Omaha, Nebraska, USA

There is a trade off with card counting strategies between power and ease of use. I personally recommend the high-low count. There are more complicated strategies out there, that are marginally more powerful, but much more difficult to use. Personally, I rarely count cards any longer. Six deck games are indeed worth counting if the rules are favorable and at least 75% or so of the cards are dealt. In Las Vegas Blackjack Diary by Stuart Perry, the author spent most of his time playing 2 and 6 decks games, as opposed to single deck.

You are playing a three-coin slot machine. You only are playing two coins at the time. The jackpot is hit. If you had been playing one coin, or if you had been playing three coins, would it still have gone off at that point?

Ronald from Maryland, USA

If you had put in one or three coins the outcome would likely have been entirely different. The machine is constantly drawing random numbers and the numbers that were drawn at the moment you spin the reels determine the outcome. So, if you had played fewer or more coins you would have spun the reels at a different moment and thus the outcome would have been different.

Are there any casinos in Vegas besides Mandalay Bay where the dealer stands on a soft 17? I ran a shoe of Spanish 21 at MGM. I don't see any advantage with the tens missing. Especially on double downs.

Jim from North Olmsted, Ohio, USA

As far as I know, the vast majority of shoe games in Vegas stand on soft 17. Usually the dealer will hit a soft 17 in single-deck games and double deck can go either way. I try to explain why card counting words in my page on card counting.

In video poker, what are the odds of drawing a sequential royal flush? Not being dealt it, but getting it including a draw.

Tony from Chicago, Illinois, USA

According to my page on sequential royal video poker, the odds are just about one in four million.