Henry Tamburin was one of those authors of gambling materials I followed in my humble beginnings when I started delving into the strategy for gambling, along with experts such as Bob Dancer, Jean Scott, John  Grochowski, Max Compton and Frank Scoblete.  They always seemed to have the answers I was looking for, no matter what gambling topic.

Henry has been very busy over the years. His best-selling book “Blackjack: Take The Money and Run,”  being editor of the Blackjack Insider e-Newsletter, and Lead Instructor for the Golden Touch Blackjack course are just a few of his current accomplishments. His website SmartGaming is a go to website with “strategies for casino players who want to learn to play and win.”

For over 40 years, he has been an advocate for better odds for casino players, while also teaching the general public how to play smart. His specialties are blackjack and video poker.

Here are the publications that he currently writes for:

Casino Player Magazine
Strictly Slots Magazine
Midwest Gaming & Travel Magazine
Gaming South Magazine
Southern Gaming Magazine
New England Gaming News
Casino City Times
Bingo Bugle

In Casino City Times this week, he posted a Blackjack Quiz that I had to share.  Many of our followers are Blackjack enthusiasts, so I knew that if you thought you were so good at your strategy, you must take this quiz.  Answer the questions, take down your answers and check out how you did after all are done.  Here goes……



The Ultimate Blackjack Test – By Henry Tamburin

So you think you are a hotshot blackjack player? Take this short test and see how much you really know about the game. (Assume a six-deck game, with S17, and DAS.)

1. You hold a pair of eights and the dealer shows a face card. Would you hit, stand or split?

2. You hold an A-7 (8 or 18) and the dealer shows a five up card. Would you stand, hit or double down?

3. You hold a 10-6 and the dealer shows a seven up card. Would you hit or stand?

4. You hold a pair of nines and the dealer shows a nine up card. Would you stand or split?

5. You hold a 10-2 and the dealer shows a three. Would you hit or stand?

6. You hold a pair of fives and the dealer shows a six. Would you hit, split or double down?

7. You hold a pair of face cards and the dealer shows an ace and asks for “insurance”? Would you make the insurance bet? Yes or no?

8. You have 2-3-A-A and the dealer shows a five up card. Would you stand or hit?

9. You have 9-6 and the dealer shows a face card. Would you stand, hit or surrender?

10. You have A-3-4 and the dealer shows a nine up card. Would you hit or stand?

Which statements are true and which are false?:

11. Always take even money on a blackjack hand when the dealer shows an ace.

12. The third base player is the most important player on the table. If he stands or hits correctly, everyone will win.

13. A player who doesn’t have a clue about when to stand or hit will cause his fellow table players to lose.

14. Card counters always win.

15. Surrender is a playing rule that when used correctly can limit your losses.

16. Which of the following rules favor the casino, and which favor the player?
• Dealer hits soft 17.
• Double after pair splitting.
• Six decks vs. one deck.
• Resplit aces allowed.
• Double only on 10 or 11.
• Surrender.
• No resplitting of pairs

Cats Playing Blackjack

Answers (give yourself five points for each correct answer):

1. Split. You are better off starting a hand with an eight rather than with a 16 against a dealer face card. Overall you’ll lose money in the long run by splitting compared to hitting (standing is the least desirable play). As a general basic strategy rule, you should always split eights no matter what the dealer shows.

2. Double down. Even though an 18 is a strong player hand, you will win more money in the long run if you double down. The main reason is that by doubling, you can get more money on the table when the dealer has a good chance of breaking with a five up card.

3. Hit. Most blackjack players will hit a 16 against a dealer 10 but not against the dealer’s seven up card. They reason is that a 10 is a stronger card than a seven, so it’s more important to hit against the 10. In fact, the opposite is true. It’s a worse mistake to stand on 16 against a dealer’s seven vs. a 10 up card. Why? Even though the risk of busting the 16 is the same whether the dealer has a seven or 10 up card, your chances of eking a win by drawing a small card are greater when the dealer shows a seven compared to a 10.

4. Split. You are slightly better off starting with a count of nine on two hands rather than an 18 against a dealer’s nine up card. You’ll win 41% and lose 59% of the hands if you stand on 18 (at a dollar a hand, your net loss is $18 after $100 bet). If you split, you’ll end up winning about 47% of the hands and losing 53% (net loss is $12 – because you double your bet when pair splitting- per $100 bet). You’ll gain an extra $6 by splitting.

5. Hit. Only a 10-value card will bust your 12. Plus the dealer is not as vulnerable to busting with a three (and two) up card compared to a four, five or six up card. For these reasons, you should hit 12 when the dealer shows a three (and two) up card but stand if the dealer’s up card is four, five or six.

6. Double down. Most novice players make the mistake of splitting fives. Never split fives. Treat a pair of fives as a 10, and against a dealer’s six up card the best percentage play is to double down.

7. No. Insurance pays 2 to 1 on a bet that has less than 1 chance in 3 of winning (i.e., the odds are greater than 2 to 1). That will cost you money; about $7 for every $100 worth of insurance bets you make. Don’t do it!

8. Hit. Be careful with soft hands. A-2-3-A-A is a soft 17, and you should never stand on soft 17 no matter what the dealer shows.

9. Surrender. You will lose greater than 50 cents per dollar bet if you stand or hit. By surrendering, you limit your loss to exactly 50 cents. Therefore, you will save some money in the long run when you surrender.

10. Hit. An A-3-4 is a soft 18, Normally you would stand when you hold an 18 but in this case you have a soft 18. Against a dealer’s nine, you are slightly better off hitting a soft 18 rather than standing.

11. False. You will be giving up about 4% of your potential profits in the long run every time you take even money. Your best percentage play is to pass on taking even money.

12. 13. All false. These are misconceptions that most players have about blackjack.

14 Card counters do not win every time they play. They have a long-term advantage, which means over time they will win more money than lose. Over the short term, like a single playing session, they can lose.

15 True. When used correctly surrender can limit player’s losses.

16 The player favorable rules are double down after pair splitting, resplit aces, and surrender. The casino favorable rules are dealer hits soft 17, six decks vs. one deck, double only on nine and 10, and no replitting of pairs.

If you scored 75 or 80, you should be holding your own at the blackjack tables.

If you scored 60 – 80, you are probably losing more money than winning when you play blackjack.

If you scored less than 60, you had better spend some time improving your blackjack playing skills; otherwise, be prepared to lose a lot of money.