Blackjack Odds: Does the Dealer Always Have a 10 in the Hole?

The value of the dealer’s hole card is very important in the game of blackjack. If players can only accurately predict the value of this card, then they’ll have a 10 percent advantage over the dealer on every hand. The truth is, there are no accurate means of telling what the value of the hole card is, and the sad part is that many blackjack players assume that the dealer’s hole card has a 10 value and will base their strategies on this belief.

This is one of the biggest myths in blackjack that will often lead to players losing all their money. When a dealer has an up card showing a value of 4, many players will automatically assume that there is a 10 in the hole and that the dealer has a total of 14. But players have no way of knowing or anticipating what the dealer has which is anything from 5 to 15. And assuming what the dealer has is a foolish strategy that will end up with you losing all your money.

The House Edge in Blackjack

One of the things that make blackjack an exciting game among casino players is its relatively low percentage of games that most likely will be won by the house, or what is more commonly referred to as the house edge. This advantage stems from the fact that all player should act first on their hand before the dealer acts on his. Players can bust first, or go over 21, and lose their bet and will continue to do so even if the dealer busts his hand later.

To a player who diligently applies basic blackjack strategy, this house edge can be as little as 0.18 to 0.5 percent on every hand, but this value can zoom up to 2 percent, or losing four times more, if little mental strategy is applied. This is a poor strategy and players will most likely just throw away all their money.

Casinos would naturally want to increase their house edge and would do this by offering side bets called “insurance” or “even money”, particularly in cases where the dealer’s up card is an ace. Insurance is offered to players as a wager on whether the dealer has a “natural” or a 10-valued card in the hole. This will increase the house edge to an even higher 6 percent advantage.

However, this house edge can continue to go even higher if the player will always assume that the dealer has a 10 in the hole. Such assume-a-ten strategies will work against the player and will give the house an advantage as high as 10.03 percent – and lose more hands in the game as well as their money.

Should You Be Worried About the Dealer Getting a 10 in the Hole?

This myth have probably stemmed from the fact that there are 4 times more card in a deck with a value of ten than any other cards. However, cards that have 10-values only account for 30% of the total number of cards, which in statistical terms is a 3:7 chance that the dealer actually has a 10 in the hole. There is a 70% chance, a much bigger value, that the dealer will have other cards not valued as 10 in the hole.

Players should have this understanding and get past the belief that there is always a 10 in the hole. Doing so would make the player start playing wisely and more strategically and increase their chances of winning their hand than ever before. Basic strategies are based on proven mathematical principles and have been simulated in computer programs to work, as well as proven effective during real-life black jack games.

However, only a small percentage of blackjack players will heed this advice and commit to studying basic blackjack strategies and avoid throwing away their money on each hand. Playing wisely and using basic blackjack strategies will reduce the house edge to the minimal level as compared to scenarios where players always assume that the hole card has a value of 10.

In summary, the dealer does not always have a 10 in the hole and there is a greater mathematical probability that the hole card has a value other than 10. Assuming that the dealers always have a 10 card is one of the worst strategies a blackjack player can make, preventing them from making wise judgment based on proven basic strategies – and lose all their money in the long run.

How To Play Poker And Bet Well

When learning how to play poker, fundamentals such as the types of hands have to be initially instilled. Akin to learning alphabets and numbers, there is not much point in proceeding if one is not able to differentiate between a straight and a flush. Along the same lines, body language and facial expressions are a dead give-away. Inability to keep a straight face flushes one right down the toilet. Perhaps not the best of expressions, it should help the novice get his act together and not let out too early on the game.

Betting is an important part of the game as it is all about the money. Although some substitute greenbacks for jelly beans or matches, the effect is not the same. Poker is not the same all over as betting structures are dependent on the flavor being played. The easiest and most popular played is betting with no limit. In such a game, the player is allowed to bet as little or as much as he wants as long as the amounts match the minimum bring-in or maximum of that he brought onto the table. This however excludes the contents of his pockets, briefcase, glove compartment and whatever other places stashing extra cash and valuables. The current bet must also match the previous one. Simple as it may sound, it takes some strategy on how to play poker of this kind and win.

Aside from the no holds barred approach, another structure revolves around the pot limit. Depending on how much the pot currently stands at, the player is allowed to raise his bet up to the size of the pot after matching the previous bet. If a wager made exceeds the pot size, the surplus is returned to the bettor leaving an amount to match the current pot.

Depending on the style in play, a betting structure adopting a fixed limit divides bets into small and big ones, each with a specific value. Pot size may not grow as much and as fast in the early stages of the game.

The SP Bookmaker

The term SP Bookmaker means Starting Price Bookmaker which generally refers to receiving bets at fixed odds or starting price.

This type of gambling was legal in Australia only for licensed bookmakers working on course meaning at the racetrack. In the 1930’s with the radio and telephone in full swing the races could be heard without going to the track. Lots of people liked to have a punt on the horse racing but often could not go to the track to put on the bets.

The Melbourne Cup was well known by the Australian punters and everyone wanted to have a small bet.

This being the case it made it very difficult for most people to put a bet on if they could not get to the track.

The Illegal SP Bookmaker, it could be anybody. It could be a small timer operator run by a single person taking minimal wagers from one or two friends including neighbours, family members, workmates etc.

Runners as they were known who would go around the neighbourhood collecting wagers from clients in their own houses, at the local hotel, in back streets and so on. Cockies short for Cockatoos who would be placed in positions of high points and other keen viewing advantages to warn Runners and Bookmakers of approaching law authorities.

Then there was the large scale telephone based SP Bookmaking ring involving people answering phones all day long taking thousands of bets worth thousands and thousands of dollars just in one day.

Of course this was all illegal but the authorities were slow to act and did not realise the magnitude of money being generated by this activity in the racing industry. In fact police often turned a blind eye to this as it seemed harmless and was in fact the SP Bookmaker supplying a service to the public.

Eventually the Government finally caught onto it and realised something lucrative was happening in this part of the racing industry. They also realised that it was not generating any taxes and therefore a Royal Commission was launched in 1959.

In 1961 due to the Royal Commission an Off Course Totalisator Agency Board was introduced.

This now resulted in some of the money that was being wagered on racing bets being returned to the racing industry. Punters could now place bets without fear of the law.

As time went on TAB Agencies were showing up everywhere, Hotels, Clubs, shopping centres and so on.

The racecourse Bookmaker still had short comings. In Australia legalised Bookmakers were unable to operate off course shops similar to other countries around the world. So the majority of bookmakers were only allowed to take bets from people at the track up until the 1990’s.

The death of the SP Bookmaker and the final nail in their coffin is near.

Corporate bookmakers were then able to offer another alternative to the punter thanks to new legislation. The Northern Territory Government could now issue Licences offering phone and online gambling to the Bookmakers. Online Bookmakers are now legal and bets can be placed with them from customers in Australia and overseas on all Australian racing and sporting events by almost any means.

With all this new legislation and control by the Governments of Australia the SP Bookmaker slowly died out. They are no more.

To place a bet now, you can use your mobile phone to ring your local legal Bookmaker at the track or at his office, have a credit account with them if you wish. You can place a bet on via the internet with one of many online bookmakers, go to the local pub and use the TAB, place a bet using your TV remote control handset while watching the race or even do something different, go to the racecourse and have a bet with an oncourse bookmaker.

Who will be next to die, not the oncourse Bookmaker I hope.

The Myth of the Hot Sports Betting Handicapper

The most prevalent means of sports service marketing is some variant on the theme that so and so is “red hot” and you should therefore pay him your money and follow his plays. The crooked services do this by coming up with all sorts of confusing and contradictory rating systems and hyperbolic descriptions for their games. How many times have you heard a handicapper brag about being “16-2 on his 500 star MWC underdog plays of the month” or saying that his “Southern Conference total of the month is 60% lifetime”?

Basically, the bottom feeders of this industry can slice and dice their statistics all sorts of ways to make themselves seem “hot”. Or they can do what a lot of them do, and simply lie about their performance. When I was first starting out as a sports handicapper there was no such thing as the Internet (at least as it exists today) and I had to rely on a scorephone for line and score updates. This scorephone was sponsored by a group of touts not noted for their veracity, and you had to sit through a few pitches for their 900 numbers before you got to the scores. A bit of a Faustian bargain, to say the least, but it was an effective way of keeping up with scores in the pre-Internet dark ages.

So one night we’re at a party thrown by some kid that we didn’t like too much. My crew and I were racking our brains to think of some mean pranks to pull on the guy. Someone got the idea to rack up some 900# charges on our mark’s phone bill. Since there’s no such thing as 900# directory assistance, I resulted to the only 900# I could remember – one of the touts from the scorephone that had drilled his digits into my memory through the sheer force of repetition.

For the sake of argument, I decided to write down the tout’s NBA plays. I had less faith in his handicapping ability than I would in a prognostication based on a divining rod or Ouija Board, but since I wasn’t paying for the call I figured I’d just see how the guy did. I wrote down his plays and checked his performance the next morning.

To his credit, the tout went 5-3 on his 8 plays. By any criteria a 5-3 night is a solid performance. Later that day I called the scorephone and waited for the tout to start crowing about his 5-3 night. Much to my surprise, the tout didn’t say a word about his 5-3 night. That’s because he was too buy bragging about his mythical 7-1 performance the preceding day.

Now, I understand that the revelation that boiler room touts like about their performance is on par with “pro wrestling is fake” or “the games at the fair aren’t on the up-and-up” as self evident truths. The point I’m trying to make, however, is that the desire to be the “hot handicapper: is so great that the tout felt he had to embellish a solid performance the night before.

So despite the fact that some handicappers like about their performance, what’s wrong with trying to ride the hot handicapper? Plenty-it’s not only an ineffective way to evaluate a handicapper’s abilities, it also has a number of statistical and theoretical shortcomings.

The simplest way to explain what I’m talking about is to borrow a disclaimer that you’ll hear on every commercial for a mutual fund: “Past performance is no guarantee of future results”. The sports gambling milieu, like those of stocks, commodities and other financial instruments, is a marketplace and subject to a number of the same tendencies of other financial institutions (what economists call “market dynamics”).

The fact that a sports wager’s success or failure is dependent to a degree on the “whims” of a marketplace (of odds and pointspreads) and to a greater degree on other external events outside of the bettor’s control exacerbates what is already a matter of simple logic: what a handicapper does over a period of time (be it a day, week, month or season) has no intrinsic correlation between a handicapper’s performance one year and the next. In other words, the sports gambling marketplace and the random patterns of events that act upon them don’t care if I hit 60% last year. If I don’t do my work, crunch the numbers, get good prices to bet into, and catch a few breaks along the way I may end up beaten regardless of how well I performed in a subsequent period of time.