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Best of Mark Pilarski

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Ekectronics for Uncle Twirch

13 January 2006

Dear Mark,
When playing blackjack on a shoe game, what are the most cards that a dealer can draw without busting? Though it's probably not a record, last night the dealer drew nine cards before he got a 17. She even called over the pit boss who said that was the most he'd ever seen. Matt T.

Even if you are not a card counter, Matt, I'll assume that once you observed all those aces on the felt, you held up betting until the dealer shuffled up.

Anyhow, I've come up with the maximum of a 12 cards, and it would have to play out like this: A, A, A, A, A, A, 6, A, A, A, A for the dealer to get to a hard 16, then, another ace, 2, 3, 4 or 5 to make their hand. Although I can't remember my personal best when pitching cards or observing dealers in table games management, it wasn't a dozen cards, or anything close to it.

Incidentally, rules that dictate a dealer standing or hitting a soft 17 wouldn't matter.

Dear Mark,
When playing blackjack, is it better to play single deck or multiple decks? I like two decks myself. Rita K.

Given the choice, Rita, I always recommend playing on a game where they use the fewest decks. With perfect basic strategy on a single-deck game, you can thump the casino advantage down to 0.15% over the long run.

Compared to single deck odds, your favorite, the two-decker, shrivels your odds by 0.35%, (with four decks 0.48%, six decks 0.54%, and eight decks 0.58%.).

Dear Mark,
My uncle has a pacemaker, and he thinks it interferes with the electronics of the slots he likes to play. He's never won nothin' since they put the thing in him. Should he wear some Reynolds Wrap or something like that under his shirt since aluminum shields you from radio signals? Gurth T.

Your query, Gurth, at first seemed a bit on the fringe, but since I've been know to answer all questions gambling related, I went to my ace-in-the-hole resource, Area 51's living legend, Blackjack Jack for help with the answer.

Blackjack tells me that the government has been using satellites to read and control the minds of certain citizens for decades. He figures your uncle might be one of them since the radio signal from his new pace-maker is doing something wacky to the slot machines. His first question to me was; did he get it put in by the "they" at a Veterans Hospital?

Blackjack thought you might be on to something when you suggested Reynolds Wrap, since the use of aluminum helmets (beanies) has become a common guerrilla tactic against the government's invasive snoopery. Arrayed against satellites hovering overhead, and presumably against the White House's recently revealed spying tactics, the Aluminum Foil Deflector Beanie (AFDB) is a type of headgear that shields your brain from most electromagnetic psychotronic mind control carriers. These beanies are supposed to protect you against all incoming radio signals, and also block most forms of brain scanning and mind reading. Mild disadvantage: they also block the mental exits, threatening thought-back-up and possible head swelling so the beanies don't fit right anymore. Beanie labels caution against careless over-thinking.

Blackjack tells me that earlier AFDBs, with caramel chips in the stator, didn't always work properly, because sugar crystals corrupted the spy function and actually caused thinking in some brains. To safeguard against that awkward development, advise Uncle Twirch to wear only the AFBDs manufactured after Jan 3, 2005, whose serial number begins with XXXT, and always to approach slot machines walking backward with short steps. He should also avoid the Chinese knock-offs with the little propeller on top. Those can bring on paranoia when tuned into the frequency ranges reserved specifically for governmental use.

So, Gurth, for a sane, sensible solution, Blackjack adds the following: Have Uncle pull the slot handle with his left hand while, with his right hand, tapping his beanie with a lead salad fork. That should do the trick.

Gambling Wisdom of the Week: "The one golden nugget of strategy that works for all games for just about all players is this: SLOW DOWN! What's your rush! Take it easy. Chill out!" --Frank Scoblete, "109 Ways To Beat The Casinos"

Recent Articles
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.