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The Ultimate Blackjack Quiz

Are you up for the challenge?

By Henry Tamburin

 

The truth is, most typical blackjack players are suckers. Their knowledge of the odds is poor, their logic is worse, and they want to blame their losing on everybody else.

 

I have composed and read many “blackjack quizzes” during my career but the one that I found to be the most challenging was prepared by my friend Fred Renzey, a contributing writer to my Blackjack Insider (BJI) e-newsletter and author of Blackjack Bluebook II. Renzey’s quiz is below, including his blunt comments about blackjack players. Try the quiz—but be forewarned, it’s not easy.

From BJI issue #105 with comments by Fred Renzey

(Note: Assume a six-deck game with s17 and das.)

The truth is, most typical blackjack players are suckers. Their knowledge of the odds is poor, their logic is worse, and they want to blame their losing on everybody else.

Even though a simple basic strategy chart will dictate all the correct plays, it still doesn’t explain them. As a result, even players who have mulled over a basic strategy chart don’t always play by it. They just don’t trust all those little multi-colored squares.

That’s what this basic blackjack IQ quiz is all about. It has nothing to do with card counting; it merely asks what you think you’ll accomplish if you play this way, or that way. You then choose an answer from a list of multiple choices.

Hopefully, the quiz will get the average ham’n-egger to see why he must play a certain way. So here ya go. A perfect score is 28 points. The answers are at the end of the quiz.

  1. When the dealer has a 4 up, she will bust: (1 point)

A)  4 times out of 10 – you’re an underdog to win unless you have 18 or better, but you still lose less money by standing with a stiff than by hitting it.
B)  5 times out of 10 – you’re a 50-50 shot to win with a stiff if you stand.
C)  6 times out of 10 – you’re a moderate favorite to win by standing with any stiff.
D)  7 times out of 10 – she has very few ways to complete a hand with such a confining card as half her hand. Any time your stiff loses against a 4-up, you took a bad beat. That’s just the nature of gambling.

  1. When you have blackjack against an Ace up, if you don’t take Even Money, you’ll collect the 3-to-2 payoff: (2 points)

A) 7 times for every 6 times you push – a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Take Even Money and never look back.
B) 8 times for every 5 times you push, making it a tough call. If you need the win, take Even Money.
C) 9 times for every 4 times you push – you make more long-term profit by gambling it out than by taking Even Money. If you need the win, you have overbet.

  1. By doubling down for just one-fourth of your bet, you’re often: (2 points)

A) Reducing your average profit to less than it would be by just hitting the hand. That’s because you’ve shrunk your edge on the hand by limiting yourself to one hit, without maximizing the size of your bet.
B) Maximizing your average profit by increasing your initial bet size only moderately. In this way, you don’t become overly aggressive with any one hand.

  1. You have a frustrating 3-5-5-3 against the dealer’s 7. If you hit again, you’ll avoid busting only 3 times out of 8 — but any card that doesn’t bust you will put you in fair-to-terrific shape. If you stand with your 16, you’ll win the hand: (2 points)

A) 2 times out of 8, which puts you in worse shape than hitting and probably busting.
B) 3 times out of 8 – you’re simply damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
C) 4 times out of 8, making it better to let the dealer bust.

  1. Playing alone against the dealer, your first hand off the top of the shoe is 7-5-4 against a 10. You should: (3 points)

A) Stand on this very close decision because two of your key bailout cards (the 4 and 5) are dead. It’s a “next level” refinement to the fundamental basic strategy.
B) Hit, because 7 times out of 12, the dealer will already have a pat hand – and even if she doesn’t, she can still make one.

  1. When you have Ace-7 against a 9, if you stand, you’ll win the hand 8 times out of 20. If you hit, you’ll win it: (3 points)

A) 7 times out of 20 and worsen your chances.
B) 8 times out of 20 — about the same as if you stood.
C) 9 times out of 20 and improve your chances.

  1. When you have Ace-4 against a 3, the dealer will bust just 3 times out of 8. If you double down instead and take one card, you’ll end up with a “stiff” or an Ace-4-Ace, which is just as bad as a stiff: (3 points)

A) 3 times out of 8, and will usually be in a strong position.
B) 4 times out of 8, making doubling a modestly better play.
C) 5 times out of 8, and will usually need a dealer bust – or you lose.

  1. You’re playing two spots at a full table. Off the top of a fresh six-deck shoe, the dealer has an Ace up. Among all 14 players’ cards, there’s not a single 10 on the board. You have 8-4 on your first hand and Ace-9 on your second. You should: (4 points)

A) Decline Insurance on both hands because the odds that the dealer has a 10 in the hole do not justify the 2 to 1 payoff that you will receive.

B) Insure your 20 to protect your good hand, but pass on the 12 since insuring a bad hand is an inferior strategy.
C) Insure both hands, good or bad, because a 10 is now due.

  1. There are only three cards left in the shoe before the cut card comes out. They are a 7 and two 10s – but you don’t know their order. The dealer has a 4 up, but has clumsily exposed her hole card, a 10, giving her 14. Third base has 16. If he stands, the dealer will have two out of three chances to bust. But how often will the dealer bust if third base takes a card? (4 points)

A) 1 time out of 3
B) 2 times out of 3
C) 1 time out of 2

  1. You’re a “streak bettor” using a 10-20-30-40 progression. You like it because if you win four hands in a row, you’ll win $100 — whereas losing four in a row costs you only $40. When you win two and lose two (which is six times as frequent), your averaged result will be a: (4 points)

A) small loss – going 1 and 3 also loses more money than going 3 and 1 wins.
B) break even outcome, assuming there were no blackjacks, doubles or splits involved.
C) small gain – going 3 and 1 also wins more money than going 1 and 3 loses.

Answers:

1) A

2) C

3) A

4) A

5) A

6) C

7) C

8) A

9) B

10) A

 

 

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Henry Tamburin is the editor of Blackjack Insider Newsletter (www.bjinsider.com), the lead instructor for the Golden Touch Blackjack Course (www.goldentouchblackjack.com), and host of smartgaming.com. For a free three-month subscription to his blackjack newsletter, go to www.bjinsider.com/freetrial. To receive his free Casino Gambling Catalog, call 1-888-353-3234 or visit www.smartgaming.com.

 

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