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Ask the Wizard #82
Mathematically speaking this is the same as playing from an eight deck game. Players have been known to be fooled, incorrectly thinking these are double deck games. For card counting purposes the penetration is 50 out of 416, or 12.02%.
Mark from Jacksonville, Florida
100% Ante and 0% Pairplus. The reason is the Ante bet has a lower element of risk. The house edge is defined as the ratio of the expected loss to the initial wager. The element of risk is defined as the ratio of the expected loss to the average total wager. Although the Pairplus has the lower house edge I believe in comparing one game against another the element of risk should be used. The element of risk on the Pairplus is the same as the house edge, 2.32%, and on the Ante bet the element of risk is 2.01%, assuming full pay rules. Casinos that offer less than full pay take much more from the Pairplus bet, making the Ante even better by comparison. So don’t waste any money on the Pairplus, although the other players will think you’re crazy as a loon.
You’re right that in general hitting a soft 17 favors the dealer. However this is a generality and not true of every situation. When you have a strong hand of 18 to 21 you want the dealer to stand on a soft 17. However if you have a weak hand under 17 you want the dealer to hit a soft 17. An example of a strategy difference is you should double soft 19 against a 6 when the dealer hits a soft 17, and stand if the dealer stands on soft 17. The reason is that there is a good chance of having drawing a bad card on the double, resulting in 16 or less points. When the dealer hits a soft 17 he busts more often, making doubling a little safer in this example.
Dan from Ottawa, Canada
Most player probably don’t know the don’t pass is a slightly better bet. Even those that do probably bet the pass bet because it feels better to be part of a group than to go against it.
Thanks for the kind words. I appreciate the thought of visiting the advertisers. However the casinos don’t care about click throughs as much as they used to and now what matters is new real money players, and how profitable those players are. So unless you might actually play there is no pressure any longer to click through the banners.
Blackjack tournaments are not my strong subject. For advice on that I would highly recommend Casino Tournament Strategy by Stanford Wong. Wong says that if you are behind to bet opposite of the leader, small when he bets big, and big when he bets small. If you are in the lead then you should bet with the second highest player. The book gets into much more detail. Speaking of supporting my site, it helps to click through my Amazon links when buying books there.