1. ## 98%: Tournament Question

To preface this question, I have never actually played in a blackjack tournament. A player I know came to me with the following scenario and asked my opinion:

It is the final hand of his table and whoever has the most chips will move on to the next round. He is in the lead by \$10. Both he and the second-place player have many times the table maximum in chips. So, the other player acts first on this last hand and bets the maximum. The player I know responds by also betting the maximum. He is dealt a 20 (T,T) vs. the dealer's 9 up. The other player acts first and flips over a hard 9 and doubles down. What is the play?

2. ## Parker: Question

> To preface this question, I have never
> actually played in a blackjack tournament. A
> player I know came to me with the following
> scenario and asked my opinion:

> It is the final hand of his table and
> whoever has the most chips will move on to
> the next round. He is in the lead by \$10.
> Both he and the second-place player have
> many times the table maximum in chips. So,
> the other player acts first on this last
> hand and bets the maximum. The player I know
> responds by also betting the maximum. He is
> dealt a 20 (T,T) vs. the dealer's 9 up. The
> other player acts first and flips over a
> hard 9 and doubles down. What is the play?

Every tournament I have ever played in has had all cards dealt face-up. Obviously, what card the other player gets on his double will have a major influence in how your friend should play his hand. So what was it?

3. ## Cardkountr: Re: Question

> Every tournament I have ever played in has
> had all cards dealt face-up. Obviously, what
> card the other player gets on his double
> will have a major influence in how your
> friend should play his hand. So what was it?

I think the other players doubled card is of little importance because even if he didn't make his double the dealer could be stiff in the hole and break which makes player 2 win because of the extra max bet the double produces.

Since player 1 started the final hand with \$10 more than player 2 and they both bet the table max, I think it's more important to match player 2's doubled bet by splitting your 2 tens. By doing that you would have the best chance to advance to the final round because, if you both win the hand you are 10 ahead and if you both lose the hand you're still 10 ahead of him or if he pushes you beat him if you also push or if only one of your split 10's wins.

Card.

4. ## Parker: Re: Question

> I think the other players doubled card is of
> little importance because even if he didn't
> make his double the dealer could be stiff in
> the hole and break which makes player 2 win
> because of the extra max bet the double
> produces.

> Since player 1 started the final hand with
> \$10 more than player 2 and they both bet the
> table max, I think it's more important to
> match player 2's doubled bet by splitting
> your 2 tens. By doing that you would have
> the best chance to advance to the final
> round because, if you both win the hand you
> are 10 ahead and if you both lose the hand
> you're still 10 ahead of him or if he pushes
> you beat him if you also push or if only one
> of your split 10's wins.

But with a 9 upcard the dealer will only bust 23% of the time (Griffin). So, if the other player drew a small card, or even an 8, I think he'd be better off sitting on the 20 and hoping the dealer makes a hand. OTOH, if the other player drew a 10 or Ace, I agree with you that he should split the 10's.

5. ## Cardkountr: Re: Question

> But with a 9 upcard the dealer will only
> bust 23% of the time (Griffin). So, if the
> other player drew a small card, or even an
> 8, I think he'd be better off sitting on the
> 20 and hoping the dealer makes a hand. OTOH,
> if the other player drew a 10 or Ace, I
> agree with you that he should split the
> 10's.

I agree with you that the dealer will bust infrequently with a 9 showing (the numbers don't lie), however, the more important issue in a tournament is the amount of money bet on the final hand. Since player 2 doubled a table max bet, if player 1 doesn't split his 2 tens then the only hope of his advancing would be if player 1 lost his hand. If they both win the hand then player 2 with the double advances. It is for that reason that I would split my tens.

As mentioned in my above post by splitting the tens if you both win the hand you win, if you both lose the hand you win, if he pushes and you push you win, if he pushes and you lose one of your splits and win the other split, you win. I would still split my 2 tens even if player 2 drew a small card on his double because he could still win the hand due to a dealers bust, in which case you automatically lose the tourny if you didn't split. Therefore splitting the 2 tens gives you the highest number of "outs", So the only way you can lose the round is if he wins his double and you lose your split hands.

Card.

6. ## 98%: Re: Question

In this tournament, the double down card was delivered face down. That makes determining the correct play a bit more challenging.

> Every tournament I have ever played in has
> had all cards dealt face-up. Obviously, what
> card the other player gets on his double
> will have a major influence in how your
> friend should play his hand. So what was it?

7. ## Don Schlesinger: Re: Question

> Therefore splitting the 2 tens
> gives you the highest number of
> "outs", So the only way you can
> lose the round is if he wins his double and
> you lose your split hands.

Your reasoning may turn out to be correct, but I'd just like to point out that having the "highest number of outs" can't be used in a void. Those outs all have probabilities assigned to them, and it is the overall probability of ending the tourney with more money that determines the correct play. For example, pushing all three hands (both players) may count as one out, but it has a much lower probability than, say, all hands winning. So, you can't just add up the outs, as you suggest.

Maybe if I have some time, I'll try to do the math.

Don

8. ## Don Schlesinger: Re: Question

> In this tournament, the double down card was
> delivered face down. That makes determining
> the correct play a bit more challenging.

Actually, I think it makes the math simpler, and I'd guess that keeping the 20 is the superior play. That way, if the other guy wins his double, you lose, but with any other scenario, you win.

The double has -29% e.v., so it wins less than 35% of the time, when pushes are included. I doubt that by splitting the tens, the player can maintain such a high probability of winning, but I may be wrong.

Don

9. ## 98%: Re: Question

Because the double card is unseen, the question also goes beyond whether to split or not to split. If it turns out that splitting is the correct decision, there is also the matter of whether to hit, stand, double or resplit on your subsequent hands. In some cases, the play will be obvious but, in others, it will not.

It would be interesting to see the correct answer for this problem for both the face up and face down scenario. In many of the face up scenarios, if the 9 ends up stiff after the double, or if the 9 catches an A on the double, for example, the answer is clear. But what if the 9 catches a 9 to make 18?

Perhaps there is _someone_ on this site who has had some recent blackjack tournament experience who might be up on this kind of information, though I can't imagine who that would be...

> Actually, I think it makes the math simpler,
> and I'd guess that keeping the 20 is the
> superior play. That way, if the other guy
> wins his double, you lose, but with any
> other scenario, you win.

> The double has -29% e.v., so it wins less
> than 35% of the time, when pushes are
> included. I doubt that by splitting the
> tens, the player can maintain such a high
> probability of winning, but I may be wrong.

> Don

10. ## Viktor Nacht: Re: Question

There far more knowledgeable than I in this field, but I would treat the subsequent hands as if a push were equal to a loss, meaning that you would stand on all stiffs, and would not double. You are counting on an outcome where you both win or both lose with the same amount of money on the table. You rarely play to count on winning while your opponent loses.

The more interesting point here is that by fully doubling, the person ahead of you has already made your splitting decision for you, and put themselves at a disadvantage. The better play would have been to double-for-less, forcing you to "take the high" of having to split and win your hands, or "take the low" and hope like hell that he or both of you lose. But fully doubling, he's given you the high and the low. Having someone double-for-less on you in a tourney is a real pisser.

In tournament play, the % likelihood of you or the dealer making various hands is helpful, but not necessary to know to have an edge.

> Perhaps there is _someone_ on this site who
> has had some recent blackjack tournament
> experience who might be up on this kind of
> information, though I can't imagine who that
> would be...

Yeah Rosa/Blackwood/Blaine, step up!

Good Cards,

V

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