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Ask the Wizard #4
Mary from San Gabriel, California
No, the odds are the same regardless of the time of day.
Larry from Detroit
Yes, you can make a pass line bet at any time. However, you give up the come out roll, which twice the chance of winning as losing. Making a late pass or come bet is called a "put" bet.
Jim from Belluvue, US
Although I have tested a lot of systems, I don't need to test all of them to know they are all worthless. No system can ever pass the test of time. It is not unusual to win for a while with a system, but if you keep playing the odds will eventually catch up to you and you will fall behind.
For more information about the futility of betting systems, please see The Truth about Betting Systems.
My question — When late surrender is allowed, do you still want to split eights with a ten showing? I'm guessing yes, but one of the hardest plays in BJ is splitting eights vs a ten.
As a side note, I just spent three days in Vegas, if you haven't done so already, you must try the Las Vegas Club and the World's Most Liberal blackjack Rules. Doubling is allowed on 3 or 4 cards, 6 cards <= 21 is an automatic winner, and late surrender. At six decks, I figured the house advantage to be 0.14%. Thanks for all of your hard work!!
Jim from Bloomington, US
Thanks for the kind words, Jim. Yes, you still want to split eights, even if late surrender is offered. Even if you can't double after a split you should still decline to surrender. Based on a two-deck game, where you can not double after splitting, the expected value of splitting 8,s against a 10 is -0.480673, better than the -0.5 by surrendering.
Contrary to their claim of having the "World's Most Liberal Blackjack Rules" there are better single-deck games right across the street at the Horseshoe or the Golden Gate. It is the six decks at the Las Vegas Club which work against the player. Don't feel badly about falling for their marquee, I fell for it myself in my younger days before I knew the effects of rule variations.
Update: After this question, the Las Vegas Club changed their rules to pay 6 to 5 on a blackjack in their so-called "World's Most Liberal Blackjack Rules." The 6 to 5 does not even make it a legitimate blackjack game. You are much better off at any ordinary 3-2 game, which are easy to find elsewhere.