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No shoe for you!

15 June 2007

Dear Mark: Why is it that casinos do not allow you to make a decent-sized bet halfway through a shoe? I recently made a table maximum bet, but was sternly told that I had to wait until the shuffle? I'm guessing that had I made a table minimum $5 bet versus a $500 one, they would have let me play. Marty C.

It's hard to say, Marty, that had you plunked down just $5, they would have let you put one toe in the water to see if you liked the temperature. I'm going to give the casino a fair shake here and state that there is the possibility that there was a sign posted on the blackjack table that stated NO Mid-Shoe Entry.

A NO Mid-Shoe Entry policy is just one of many casino countermeasures used by casinos to ward off card-counters. Mostly applied to shoe games, once a dealer shuffles the cards and starts dealing, any new player who comes up to the table cannot place a bet after the first round has been dealt, but must wait until the final hand of that shoe. The same holds true for the player who stops betting for a round; that player also will not be allowed to re-enter the game until the shoe is shuffled.

One of the main reasons for this rule is to discourage "table hoppers." The hopper counts down the shoe as a spectator, and then when the shoe turns favorable, enters the game with big bets.

Dear Mark: In poker, where is the best place to sit against a loose player, to their left, or right? Ken G.

Over the long haul, Ken, I think you will find that you will make more money sitting to the left of a loose player. By acting after the loose player, you can trap him/or more likely her into your pots when you raise. If you're sitting to the right, you act beforehand, and your raises will often chase Mr/Ms. Loose out of the hand and you'll end up winning nothing.

Dear Mark: Is there a different strategy to playing blackjack when dealer doesn't take a hole card until all the players finish their hands? Also, sticking with the dealers not giving themselves a hole card, have you ever heard of a casino taking not only the original bet, but also all additional bets if the dealer has a blackjack? I've heard that some casinos do this. Melvin H.

Any blackjack game in which the dealer does not take a second card until after all player hands are finished is a No Hole Card game. If a player splits or doubles, that hand loses and only the original bet is lost when the dealer has a natural.

A player's strategy and house edge remain the same as in a game where the dealer takes a hole card and checks it.

If the player loses the entire wager on splits or doubling against a natural, this game is called "European No Hole." With this game, if the dealer gets a natural blackjack, a player who has split or doubled down loses not only his or her original bet but also all additional wagers. The name of this rule derives from the many games in Europe that are played with this rule in effect.

I've never seen this thievery in the States, nor know of it at any of the Canadian casinos, but if you ever happen upon one, I'd recommend you exit stage left.

Gambling Wisdom of the Week:

"Children gamble because they are greedy. They want to have everything, and are astounded when they don't get it." — Mario Puzo

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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.