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Dumbo on third, the "back door" and Texas rules

15 January 2007

Dumbo on third, the "back door" and Texas rules

Dear Mark: I disagree with you in that a player at third base in blackjack has no effect on the outcome of the game. I've seen dumb players take the dealer's bust card far too many times to believe otherwise. Willy H.

I'll stick by my past statement that poor play on third base does not affect the overall outcome of all hands dealt. Each card dealt is random and since you, the dealer, fellow players, and yes, even the player at third giving the house a 4-5% edge by playing poorly, has no idea what the next card is, the play at third will not have any repercussions on the game in general, just on his or her hand.

Also, Willy, you overlook in your statement the times when a player took a card that would have helped the dealer, resulting in the dealer's going bust with the following card dealt. For the decade plus that I had dealt cards, or oversaw a pit full of dealers, I can tell you unequivocally that having viewed a kazillion hands, I have seen it go both ways about equally.

Dear Mark: I was wondering if there was anything in craps called a "back-door little Joe?" I heard this in a song and was wondering what it was? Troy C.

"Little Joe" and "Little Joe from Kokomo," are two of those colorful calls, made by a stickperson, that represent the number four. As for "back-door little Joe," not only have I never heard of it, I didn't find it in my extensive gaming library, a google search came up empty, and my inquiry of a few living legends still dealing dice, who — with a combined working experience of well over 100 years — produced a "Sorry, Mark." They haven't heard of it either.

Dear Mark: When you watch Texas Hold'em on television, the players always flip over their cards when going "all in." I've been told that technically you don't have to do that, and instead, verbally say you're "all in," and just wait until the end of the hand before you show your cards. Are they doing it wrong on television? Phillip G. <./p>

In tournament play, Phillip, which is what you are watching on TV, you are required to turn your cards over. With a cash game, it is optional.

Dear Mark: At our weekly Texas Hold'em game, we had a disagreement over a player who accidentally showed his cards before the betting rounds were complete. The debate was over whether that player's hand was automatically dead. Yea or nay please. We will stand by your decision. Dan M.

In Texas Hold'em, Dan, an exposed card or hand by any player would still be considered a live hand, not a dead one.

Gambling Wisdom of the Week: "There are few things that are so unpardonably neglected in our country as poker. The upper class knows very little about poker. Now and then you find ambassadors who have sort of a general knowledge of poker, but the ignorance of the people is fearful. Why, I have known clergymen, good men, kind-hearted, liberal, sincere, and all that, who did not know the meaning of a "flush." It is enough to make one ashamed of the species. --Mark Twain

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Best of Mark Pilarski
Mark Pilarski

As a recognized authority on casino gambling, Mark Pilarski survived 18 years in the casino trenches, working for seven different casinos. Mark now writes a nationally syndicated gambling column, is a university lecturer, author, reviewer and contributing editor for numerous gaming periodicals, and is the creator of the best-selling, award-winning audiocassette series on casino gambling, Hooked on Winning.
Mark Pilarski
As a recognized authority on casino gambling, Mark Pilarski survived 18 years in the casino trenches, working for seven different casinos. Mark now writes a nationally syndicated gambling column, is a university lecturer, author, reviewer and contributing editor for numerous gaming periodicals, and is the creator of the best-selling, award-winning audiocassette series on casino gambling, Hooked on Winning.