hmmm23
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June 23rd, 2013 at 9:43:44 PM permalink
What to do with the worst position in Blackjack?

[Let's assume 6/8 decks, standard rules, no surrender]

For hard 16 vs a 10, we're given a Weird rule: "Hit a two card hard 16, but Stand a three card hard 16."

Hmmm, Ok, so we're supposed to Hit a hard 16 into 10 when our hand's made up of only two cards (10-6 or 9-7 only; 8-8's a split), but Stand a hard 16 into 10 when our hand's made up of 3 or more cards (say, 7-6-3, or whatever).

Since the difference between the two plays is so razor thin, in real life you're fine either way you play it, but if you're like me and sort of dig figuring out which option's better, I have a Rule proposal that needs peer review.

First, here's how crazy close the two options are (standard loss per dollar bet):

Stand 9-7 vs 10 = - .537 per \$1 bet. Ouch.
Hit 9-7 vs 10 = - .535 per \$1 bet. Basically the same Ouch, but ever so slightly less.

Those outcomes are so close that having just one 'safe' card (an A thru 5) inside your hard 16 (the '3' in the 7-6-3 example), and therefore unavailable to you if you Hit, is enough to flip the correct percentage play from Hit to Stand.

But here's the thing: there's more info available to you than just the cards making up your hard 16 when it comes time to make the Hit or Stand decision: namely, an entire table full of other players' cards and hits.

Since those other players' cards are also no longer available for your Hit, they matter exactly as much as the cards making up your hard 16 and they should be included in the Hit or Stand calculation.

[I'll be lucky if even 1 person on earth reads this far down, so if anybody has, you rock!]

So, now my proposed Rule:

1. For all players' hands and hits, total up how many safe cards (A thru 5) and how many unsafe cards (6 thru K) you see on the table (include your own hand, but not the dealer's 10).

2. Subtract 2 from the unsafe cards total (this represents a 2 card hard 16, which has to be out of the shoe before the decision becomes so razor sharp).

3. Calculate the percentage of safe cards on the table. The equation's: safe cards total / (safe cards total + unsafe cards total after step 2)

4. If that percentage is greater than 38.5%, Stand. If it's less than 38.5%, Hit.

Clear as mud? OK, the 38.5% is 5 divided by 13, the 5 types of safe cards divided by the 13 total types of cards in a deck.

What we're doing is finding out whether the concentration of safe cards on the table -- no longer in the shoe -- is greater or less than the 38.5% concentration that "should" be on the table. If the concentration of safe cards on the table's higher than it 'should' be, then more safe cards are out of the shoe than should be, meaning fewer safe cards are left in the shoe. Fewer safe cards and more bust cards left in the shoe than the shoe's composition upon which the Stand = - .537 vs Hit = - .535 was calculated means you can be sure that tiny advantage for Hit has been flipped by the cards revealed on the table in front of you. You should therefore Stand.

Conversely, if the concentration of safe cards on the table is lower than the 38.5% that "should" be there, then more safe cards remain in the shoe than the shoe's composition when the Stand - .537 vs Hit - .535 was calculated, so the advantage remains with Hit, and is even larger than the .002 advantage calculated on a regular composition.

Example: You get a 9-7 into a 10, no Surrender available. Hit or Stand?

1. Add up the total of safe cards (A thru 5) on the table, including your hand. Let's say there's 5. Add up the total of unsafe cards, including your hand. Let's say there's 8.

2. Now subtract 2 from the unsafe card total, leaving 6.

3. The percentage of safe cards on table is now 5/11, or 45.5%

4. Since the concentration of safe cards on the table, 45.5%, is greater than the concentration of safe cards in the entire shoe, 38.5%, it means there's "too many" safe cards on the table, and therefore "too few" safe cards left in the shoe, so we should Stand, even though our Example's only a 2 card hard 16, which the original rule told us to Hit (although it's quicker just to say 45.5% is greater than 38.5%, so that means Hit).

Of course, I'm not positive of this stuff, so on the outside chance anybody's still reading this, I'd def appreciate your input.
DRich
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June 24th, 2013 at 7:31:03 AM permalink
You are correct that almost every decision in Blackjack is fluid depending on the remaining composition of the deck. The more information you have allows you to make better decisions. (ie. it is correct to hit or split two tens against a ten if you know that the only remaining cards in the deck are Aces).
At my age, a "Life In Prison" sentence is not much of a deterrent.
hmmm23
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June 24th, 2013 at 1:06:02 PM permalink
DRich, thanks very much for replying.

I figured the O/U for replies on this thread was: 0.5, UN - 150, so you're a hero to the OV's.

Cool example. Splitting those 10's vs 10 and getting two BJ's would certainly get you some unwanted attention from the eye in the sky, at least until the dealer pushed you.

PS: Hey, your tagline's better than mine.
1BB
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June 24th, 2013 at 1:16:39 PM permalink
Quote: hmmm23

DRich, thanks very much for replying.

I figured the O/U for replies on this thread was: 0.5, UN - 150, so you're a hero to the OV's.

Cool example. Splitting those 10's vs 10 and getting two BJ's would certainly get you some unwanted attention from the eye in the sky, at least until the dealer pushed you.

PS: Hey, your tagline's better than mine.

Ha ha. If you want attention try doubling after getting an ace on a split 10. It's nice to have you on the forum, hmmm23. Make use of this site's search feature. There is a lot of discussion on 16 vs 10 as well as other interesting tidbits.
Many people, especially ignorant people, want to punish you for speaking the truth. - Mahatma Ghandi
Ibeatyouraces
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June 24th, 2013 at 1:22:21 PM permalink
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ClarkWGriswold
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June 24th, 2013 at 2:57:55 PM permalink
When I get a face/6 against a dealer face, I always hit.
If it's a 9/7, I surrender against a dealer face.
"I am your average American gambling idiot" - Me
Ibeatyouraces
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June 24th, 2013 at 3:11:29 PM permalink
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hmmm23
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June 24th, 2013 at 5:25:12 PM permalink
Heh, Clark W. Griswold, I like your screen name.
pacomartin
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June 24th, 2013 at 5:53:00 PM permalink
Quote: hmmm23

What to do with the worst position in Blackjack?

[Let's assume 6/8 decks, standard rules, no surrender]
For hard 16 vs a 10, we're given a Weird rule: "Hit a two card hard 16, but Stand a three card hard 16."

Hmmm, Ok, so we're supposed to Hit a hard 16 into 10 when our hand's made up of only two cards (10-6 or 9-7 only; 8-8's a split), but Stand a hard 16 into 10 when our hand's made up of 3 or more cards (say, 7-6-3, or whatever).

I don't think that is the correct rule for 6/8 decks. I think you should always hit.

There is exceptions to basic strategy for a double deck game

You can't reason the close calls out in your head. You have to do the calculations and see which is the best EV. So any rule proposed without math is essentially meaningless.
ThatDonGuy
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June 24th, 2013 at 6:30:27 PM permalink
Quote: pacomartin

I don't think that is the correct rule for 6/8 decks. I think you should always hit.

There is exceptions to basic strategy for a double deck game

My basic strategy calls for stand if it's a one-deck or two-deck game (or you are confident there are 100 or fewer cards left in the deck of a larger game), and hit if it's three or more decks.
silicone
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June 24th, 2013 at 6:51:55 PM permalink
Surrender is a nasty word. Just something I find wrong. It is my belief that once I have placed a bet there is only one of two outcomes. If I was going to "Surrender" I would do that prior to placing a bet.
Just Me.......
Ibeatyouraces
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June 24th, 2013 at 6:57:31 PM permalink
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sodawater
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June 24th, 2013 at 7:01:37 PM permalink
Quote: silicone

Surrender is a nasty word. Just something I find wrong. It is my belief that once I have placed a bet there is only one of two outcomes. If I was going to "Surrender" I would do that prior to placing a bet.

two outcomes? so are you going to donate your ties to the casino, too?
surrender88s
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June 24th, 2013 at 9:24:59 PM permalink
How about hit if the Hi-Lo count is negative, stand if positive, and surrender if you have a larger than 1 unit bet out there?

Also, if the count is high enough, the 8,8 variation of 16 might be worth standing/surrendering (see my screenname).
"Rule No.1: Never lose money. Rule No.2: Never forget rule No.1." -Warren Buffett on risk/return
Ibeatyouraces
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June 24th, 2013 at 9:35:30 PM permalink
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hmmm23
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June 25th, 2013 at 2:28:18 PM permalink
Quote: surrender88s

How about hit if the Hi-Lo count is negative, stand if positive, and surrender if you have a larger than 1 unit bet out there?

Also, if the count is high enough, the 8,8 variation of 16 might be worth standing/surrendering (see my screenname).

Good question. Unfortunately, I'm not qualified to answer. I'm new to serious blackjack and the status of my education is that I've got basic strategies down cold, but I'm just starting card counting college (literally, today).

We need somebody smarter than me to answer your question.

PS: 8,8's also a Surrender under the Early Surrender vs 10's rule, a rule my local casino actually uses.

Added with Edit: Wait, my bad. Board poster "I Beat your Aces" actual did answer your question. Sorry, I didn't see that.
silicone
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June 25th, 2013 at 7:53:58 PM permalink
So do I, heheheheeeeee :)
Just Me.......
silicone
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June 25th, 2013 at 7:56:30 PM permalink
Surrendering is donating. That's an auto donate. The casino will get to know that you are a player that they can count on getting 1/2 of the \$\$\$ immediately therefore half of the battel is won for the casino righ there.
Just Me.......
silicone
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June 25th, 2013 at 7:59:25 PM permalink
My favorite hand a pair of 8s . I personally would never surrender. Depending on the count, I may f**** another player over but either way I always look out for the mighty #1
So if it means I take a hit where normally I wouldnt then I do. I do not surrender ever. Thats like asking the house if I could play the game for half the bet all the while donating to the house a sure half bet. I never share my cards with the table and I hit or stand according to what me and the dealer have, the other plareys on the table mean nothing to me. If I take a card that would help the next guy out but I win and they lose because the dealer beats them then thats their problem. I look out for me.
Just Me.......
Ibeatyouraces
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June 25th, 2013 at 8:21:04 PM permalink
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MonkeyMonkey
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June 25th, 2013 at 10:37:18 PM permalink
Quote: silicone

I personally would never surrender.

Then you clearly don't understand the math involved. Not using surrender when appropriate is like asking the house to take ALL of your bet on hands that aren't likely to win instead of keeping half of it for yourself.

Frankly, I'm glad they don't offer surrender where I work because listening to players like yourself that don't understand it go on about how awful it is just isn't something I'd like to have to listen to.

When you make statements like:
Quote: silicone

I may f**** another player over but either way I always look out for the mighty #1

It illustrates pretty clearly that you don't understand the underlying mathematics of the game. From this statement it seems you believe your actions truly effect the other players. If you do, in fact, believe this I would suggest you stop throwing money away on a game that you don't really understand.

Or, you can continue to play the role of the ploppie and make the game profitably for players like Ibeatyouraces. Whatever, it's your time and money.
Ibeatyouraces
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June 25th, 2013 at 11:16:50 PM permalink
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hmmm23
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June 26th, 2013 at 12:37:32 PM permalink
Hi, Silicone:

I use Surrender, but I'll say this: When I learned yesterday late Surrender's only worth + 0.08% against the House Edge (btw, thanks for that link, Mango), I was surprised. When I learned Surrender vs. A is worth less than + 0.01% of that + 0.08%, I was really, really surprised.

It sounds like you play single deck, a game I don't know, but in multi-deck (6/8), the math does sometimes support late Surrender:

Player's Hand: 9,7 vs. 10. Expected Losses per \$1 bet:

1. Surrender - .500
2. Hit - .537
3. Stand - .538

So, in the long run, you can save yourself 4 cents per dollar by using Surrender. It's not a huge deal, but as my great aunt Julie always says, every little bit helps.

Here's a great chart of Hit vs Stand vs Double for all situations: https://wizardofodds.com/games/blackjack/appendix/9/8ds17r4/
pacomartin
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June 28th, 2013 at 10:58:49 AM permalink
Quote: silicone

Surrendering is donating. That's an auto donate. The casino will get to know that you are a player that they can count on getting 1/2 of the \$\$\$ immediately therefore half of the battel is won for the casino righ there.

There should be no emotion in the decision. It is strictly mathematics. If both hit and stand have expected values worse than -50%, then surrender has the highest EV and should be the option you choose.

If surrender is not permitted, then you have to choose the option with the highest EV. If you have no other information, hitting is a slightly better EV so you choose that option. Give a single or double deck game, the presence of low value cards on the table changes the calculation so that you should stand. With a lot of decks, you don't have enough information unless you are counting.
Casinoraider
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July 1st, 2013 at 5:02:21 AM permalink
Fully agree with MonkeyMonkey...surrender is the best way...you live to fight another hand.

This is also where the many variables comes into play as explained by others writers here. One more way to look at this stance is from multi hands player. If he has good hands on the other boxes, he may Stay and not hit, leave the results of either a low card or high to the dealer. It's calculated luck as he already has some other good hands for hedging.
FleaStiff
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July 1st, 2013 at 5:22:54 AM permalink
Oh no... what to do.

I'm in agreement with the "all decisions are fluid with respect to additional knowledge of deck composition"... heck all decisions are fluid with regard to the Tray Lizard and highly influenced by the fluid she brings.

The trouble is that rules have to be applied and often players have difficulty remembering the rules even the players are sober and the night is younger than the bosses new wife.
kewlj
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July 1st, 2013 at 7:41:11 AM permalink
Ok, first of all that rule about standing on 3 card 16 vs 10 and hitting on 2 card 16 vs 10 is a short cut. It is not the best approach. The best and most efficient approach is to use all information available, which is to say the count from all available seen cards both in this round and previous rounds. I guess the 3 card rule is better than nothing, but understand that short cuts are short cuts for a reason. They give up efficiency and actually quite a bit in this case. In the case of the 3 card 16 rule, consider this scenarios: Ace, 5, Ten. Standing on this 3 card total of 16, based solely on these 3 cards is absolutely the wrong play. :(

Now surrender, and we are talking late surrender in this case. Early surrender is very rare now a days, all but gone. I will try to put into perspective just how valuable late surrender is to a card counter. In the last decade there have been two 'big' rule changes that the casino industry has implemented to increase their advantage over the player. The first is blackjack pays 6-5, which increases their advantage by 1.3 percent and almost makes the game unbeatable by counting methods. This is such a monumental change that I don't really consider it a change to blackjack. The rule changes the game completely, and I don't even consider this new game still blackjack. It's like changing baseball to where you are out after only 1 strike and still calling it baseball.

Now the second rule change is where the dealer hits soft 17. This rule which is now fairly widespread, increased the house advantage by .21% Now that doesn't seem like a whole lot. But in a standard 6 deck, dealer stand on soft 17 game, the house edge is about .43%. So you change to dealer hit soft 17 and the house edge goes to .64%. That is an increase of almost 50% advantage for the house. That is huge, but subtle enough that it didn't immediately turn off the masses.

Now late surrender. Played properly late surrender adds only .08% to the basic strategy player is who flat betting the same amount each hand. But it is worth much more to a card counter. Using proper strategy change plays (index plays) he surrenders even more hands and many of these surrender opportunities come when the count is in his favor and he has larger bets out. This increases the true advantage of late surrender to just about .20% for a card counter, with the exact percent being dependent on his spread and bet amounts. But let's take that .20 average. That almost completely offsets the dealer hit soft 17 rule that the casinos have implemented in the last decade. So, proper surrender play almost wipes out one of the houses big advanatge rules. It is huge for a card counter and easily can be the determining factor that changes a mediocre game into a much stronger opportunity.
kewlj
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July 1st, 2013 at 8:21:06 AM permalink
An additional benefit of proper surrender play for a card counter is not only the addition EV that he earns by playing the hand in question properly, but in most cases surrender saves a card or two as the alternative proper play would be to hit. So 2 or 3 proper surrender plays in a shoe where the count is positive, in the players favor could result in an extra round of play before the shuffle at this additional player advantage. ESPECIALLY, when playing heads up. This can be HUGE!
Llew
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July 3rd, 2013 at 4:48:07 PM permalink
Surrender is obviously the right move, and anyone who disagrees doesn't understand the math behind the game and isn't worth replying to until they educate themselves. But the OP is talking about non-surrender situations.

For instances where surrender is not available, the change in EV using a composition-based decision is so small that it's not even worth the mental effort to use a complex set of rules and conditions. .002 EV change on a single hand, multiplied by the frequency at which that hand comes up (right around 1%, I think), is 0.00002. that's inconsequential in anyone's book.
hmmm23
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July 8th, 2013 at 9:57:28 AM permalink
Quote: kewlj

Ok, first of all that rule about standing on 3 card 16 vs 10 and hitting on 2 card 16 vs 10 is a short cut. It is not the best approach. The best and most efficient approach is to use all information available, which is to say the count from all available seen cards both in this round and previous rounds.

Heh, true. I've learned an awful lot since I wrote that post.

Quote:

Played properly late surrender adds only .08% to the basic strategy player is who flat betting the same amount each hand. But it is worth much more to a card counter. Using proper strategy change plays (index plays) he surrenders even more hands and many of these surrender opportunities come when the count is in his favor and he has larger bets out. This increases the true advantage of late surrender to just about .20% for a card counter, with the exact percent being dependent on his spread and bet amounts.

An additional benefit of proper surrender play for a card counter is not only the addition EV that he earns by playing the hand in question properly, but in most cases surrender saves a card or two [often leading to an extra hand at an advantage count before shuffling].

Thanks, those are both excellent points that I need to think some more about.
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