Video poker vs blackjack

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What would you recommend as the better play, playing $1 video poker using perfect basic strategy or blackjack doing the same? David D.

Assuming expert play on video poker and perfect basic strategy on blackjack (a 9/6 jacks-or-better video poker machine or multiple-deck blackjack) with both having the same house edge, 0.5%, the better play would be blackjack, if only because with video poker, you will lose more money per hour. Here is why: At 50 hands per hour, a $5 blackjack player risks only $250, and with basic strategy narrowing the house edge to 0.5%, he expects to lose only $1.25. Contrariwise, a video poker player risking the maximum coin amount on a dollar machine, $5, at a steady pace of 500 hands per hour, an easy pace for a skilled player, risks $2,500, with an expectable hourly loss of $12.50. There ‘tiz, David, 10 times the risk, 10 times the loss, 10 times the bankroll blues.

Greetings from the Lake Tahoe area. It’s gorgeous here today! Anyway, do you still offer the Perfect Strategy Blackjack Cards? I seem to have misplaced mine. By the way, they do not seem to be keen on them in your old neck of the woods at the Tahoe Biltmore, whereas other casinos up here and in Reno don’t seem to care. I guess this is a matter of individual casino policy. Please let me know where I mail a self-addressed stamped envelope. Bruce D.

Not only my old neighborhood, but also a casino I was once employed in when it was called the Nevada Club. Funny, I have given away easily more than 200,000 strategy cards over the years, and fewer than five casinos have complained about their use at the table. I would hate to include an old employer of mine to the list. I hope it was just that the pit boss was having a day without sunshine. Your complaint is the first regarding the Biltmore. Be that as it may, just send a self-addressed stamped envelope to:

Deal Me In
ATTN: BJ Strategy Card
PO Box 1234
Traverse City, MI 49685

If as you say the casino’s only edge in blackjack is the player playing out his hand first, wouldn’t it be wise to imitate the dealer, meaning always hit 16 and under and always standing on 17 and over? Jim M.

The house has a smaller edge on blackjack than on almost any casino game, provided the player is using his God-given intellect. A player who parrots the dealer (i.e. always hitting 16 and under and always standing on 17 and over) gives the casino a whopping 5.7% edge, and losing, on average, $5.70 per $100 wagered. Compare that, Jim, with the player who learns basic strategy and is up against a house edge of 0.5%. The smart player loses an average of 50¢ per $100 played. Which would you prefer?

What is the most played number on a roulette wheel? Brian P.

Ask a majority of roulette dealers and they will tell you the number 17, followed by the zeros. (0, 00) Foremost reason for 17: It sits right in the middle of the layout and everyone can reach it. Watch movies on gambling and another number emerges. In three movies where roulette plays an intricate part, Casablanca, The Sting, and Lost in America, the only number depicted was 22.

Gambling thought of the week: “The rulers of the country generally believed that betting eliminates strikes. Men had to work in order to gamble.” -Michael Ondaatje, Running the Family

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