Gambling/Tips // SOFT 18 VS ACE 4LMag July 1, 2014 Gambling Blackjack Gambling Tips Brought to you by Sycuan Casino To win at Blackjack, a player must have a better hand than the dealer by getting closer to 21 without going over. If the player or dealer goes over 21, it is considered a “bust” and is automatically out of the hand. The player must finalize their hand before the dealer so they have the first chance to bust and thereby an advantage. What is the book? When a person says that they play by the book, they mean they play by the odds listed by blackjack instruction manuals. There are several books out there on how to increase your odds of winning. There are slight variations here and there and depending on the situation but there are certain rules in situations that every “book” is in agreement in making the same move. Rule #4 What does Soft 18 vs. Ace mean? It means that you have an ace and a 7, thereby it can either be a total of 8 or a total of 18. The dealer is showing an ace with a card in the hole (upside down). The reason why this is a hard decision is that a lot of “books” out there say that you should always assume that the card in the hole with the dealer is a 10 or 10 equivalent and assume that every following card is a 10 or a 10 equivalent because there are 16 cards of 10 value in a deck, more than any other. Furthermore, if the dealer doesn’t have a 10 or 10 equivalent, the dealer can also beat you with an 8 or a 9 so the dealer has eight more cards in his favor. Lastly, if the dealer doesn’t have one of the 24 winner cards, the dealer also has a “soft” hand so the dealer will continue to hit until he gets at least 18. In this situation, the dealer will offer you insurance. This means that you can insure your bet that the dealer has Blackjack. In the long run, if you accept insurance every single time, you will lose more than you win since only about one-third of the deck is a winning card. If you get past this point, it means that the dealer does not have Blackjack so what do you do? Since 18 is not a reasonably strong hand against an ace, the only way the player can win in this situation is if the dealer ends up with a 17 or busts. A) Chances the dealer busts is 36 percent. B) Chances the dealer will end with 19, 20 or 21 is 46 percent. C) Chances that there is a push is 19 percent. D) A player will roughly lose 10 percent more by staying vs. hitting. So if you are in this situation, you should hit a soft 18. When you arrive at Sycuan to play Blackjack, find yourself a nice table that you’re comfortable with, especially the limits. If you ever wonder what you’re supposed to do, the dealer will always be nice enough to tell you what the “book” says. Remember, most people play the “book” so if you decide to go against it and it causes the players at the table to lose, people may get upset with you. It’s always awesome when the whole table wins but it’s never fun when you are the cause to the house winning. Be respectful of the dealer and the other players but never forget to always have fun!