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Best of Mark Pilarski

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Good wallet questions

4 November 2005

Dear Mark,
In your answer to Doug F. about cards flashed when being dealt, you said if the dealer flashed or exposed a card it would be a dead card. Is it then a re-deal or does that card get buried and the player gets a new card? Also, this question always seems to come up. In heads up play at Texas Hold'em, is the dealer always the small blind or the big blind? Oakie

A card exposed by the dealer is a dead card that goes into the muck (the dead pile, discards, garbage pile, trash, and many less elegant names), kept off to the dealer's side. To illustrate what happens if a card is accidentally exposed, Oakie, why don't we play through one hand.

Let's say that there are five players seated at the table. The dealer pitches everyone a first card and, as the second card is dealt to the third player, it is unintentionally revealed. The dealer would proceed to finish out the deal, giving everyone his or her second card except for the player whose card was exposed.

The dealer at this point would cut the deck deeper than the eight cards needed for the flop, turn and river, and burn cards so as not to affect the integrity of the deck. The dealer would then give the player the top card from that cut, replace the cut, and continue on.

As to your second question, in Texas Hold'em a blind bet is a forced wager that must be posted before anyone gets to see his or her cards. Blinds are an alternative to antes for initially getting money in the pot. Blinds are typically used in flop games like Hold'em and Omaha.

In Hold'em, the two players to the left of the dealer button are forced to place blind bets. In heads-up play, the small blind always belongs to the dealer since acting last is a position of power, and a dealer with the big blind would be at such a strong advantage that it would be downright unfair.

Dear Mark,
I'm confused as to the difference between "6 to 1" and "6 for 1." Could you shed some light on this matter? Billy F.

Anytime you see odds quoted as 6 "for" 1, it means you get a total of $6 back for every $1 wagered. Your net win, Billy, is five units, or 5 to 1. Whenever odds are quoted "X for one", and you win, you will net one unit less than X.

A 6 "to" 1 bet means your return would be $7; the $1 you wagered plus your net win of $6.

Dear Mark,
If the dealer is showing a four and I have a total of 10, should I double down or just stand? June Y.

Surprisingly, June, many players, when dealt a 10, often misplay their hands. When a dealer is showing a four on the felt, the correct strategy would always be to double down on both single deck and multiple deck games.

Likewise, perfect basic strategy requires that anytime you have a 10, you double against the dealers' 2-9, and hit against the dealer's 10 or ace.

Gambling Wisdom of the Week: "Most people probably think casino games are for fun and can be played without considering serious things like payback percentage, expert strategy or bankroll management." --Frank Legato "Strictly Slots"

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.