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Thread: Soft Hand Double Down Questions

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    Soft Hand Double Down Questions

    I have a question pertaining to the European (I think) rule regarding soft hand double downs, specifically in Pontoon (and BJ for that matter), where doubling down makes the ace count as 1 instead of 11.

    Firstly for BJ, double down rule is 9-11 first two cards only. A,8 and A,9 are obviously the only two hands that you could double down on with this rule. Now since these are very strong hands already, is there a point where doubling down on said hands (making them 9 and 10 respectively) is a positive EV decision? I was thinking at least against 5 or 6, with what I'm guessing would have to be a rather high trigger point.

    Secondly, Pontoon (which doesn't have redouble by the way). Under basic strategy for Pontoon, and unlike SP21, it doesn't list soft double downs at all. A,2 - A,6 is all hit and A,7 is stand against all dealer upcards unless it's a 9 or higher. But this is where I'm stuck at a theoretical wall; you can double down on any number of cards (as long as its 9-11), there's double down forfeit/rescue and there's also multi-card 21 payouts to consider. However, doubling on soft hands makes the ace count as 1. Given these rules, is there any circumstance where doubling on a natural A,8/A,9 or a multi-card soft 19/20 (so 9/10) is a positive EV decision? What true count would warrant it?

    I'm using a modified version of SMC for Pontoon if it helps any.

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    Soft 19's and 20's you must NEVER double under those
    circumstances where your Aces are no longer strong allies.

  3. #3


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    Quote Originally Posted by ZenMaster_Flash View Post



    Soft 19's and 20's you must NEVER double under those
    circumstances where your Aces are no longer strong allies.
    Not that I would, and I haven't, but I'm just interested in the theory behind it if you did and when it could be considered a positive EV move.

    As for the rule itself; it's just a ploy to lure ploppies into a trap?

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    It should come as no surprise that with a very high true count,
    a (seemingly) suicidal move like doubling a soft 19 or soft 20
    becomes a "profit-maximizing" move. However, a "risk-averse"
    approach requires a yet slightly higher index to double.

    Of crucial importance is the understanding that by making an
    "odd-looking" play like splitting Face Cards or doubling Ace-8
    (for a hefty sum of money no less) leads the staff
    todrawing
    a conclusion that the player is not just lucky.

    Last edited by ZenMaster_Flash; 06-28-2017 at 08:53 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushie View Post
    " ... just a ploy to lure ploppies into a trap?"
    The other day, there was this "desperado" (an anxious "degenerate" gambler) who was whining,
    loud and long, about how "The Casino Took His Money." He was a pathetic character.
    I looked at him and exclaimed. "No way! They didn't take your money. You gave it to them!"
    He looked stunned, as the simple reality of what I said."

    So ... you see. It is simple No traps are needed. This prey surrenders on sight.



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    Quote Originally Posted by ZenMaster_Flash View Post

    It should come as no surprise that with a very high true count,
    a (seemingly) suicidal move like doubling a soft 19 or soft 20
    becomes a "profit-maximizing" move. However, a "risk-averse"
    approach requires a yet slightly higher index to double.

    Of crucial importance is the understanding that by making an
    "odd-looking" play like splitting Face Cards or doubling Ace-8
    (for a hefty sum of money no less) leads the staff
    todrawing
    a conclusion that the player is not just lucky.

    So if we say, use the Hi-Lo index for 10,10 v 6 as a reference point (for the BJ example anyhow), you'd only consider doubling on A,8 and A,9 against 6 at +4 and above?

    I wonder what the trigger point would be for Pontoon using SMC then. Like +6 or +7? Jeez...

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    A9 is an interesting scenario because it doesn't matter if you are forced to treat it as ten because you are always treating it as ten once you double anyway. For A8 the only difference here is that if you get a 2 you have only 11 but this is a pretty significant difference even if it only happens roughly 8% of the time. Certainly there would be a point where the gain from doubling makes up for this disadvantage, hopefully someone can simulate this and provide the answer.

    Flash :

    The ace can count as either one or 11 so it is still your ally in both of these doubles.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Meistro123 View Post
    A9 is an interesting scenario because it doesn't matter if you are forced to treat it as ten because you are always treating it as ten once you double anyway. For A8 the only difference here is that if you get a 2 you have only 11 but this is a pretty significant difference even if it only happens roughly 8% of the time. Certainly there would be a point where the gain from doubling makes up for this disadvantage, hopefully someone can simulate this and provide the answer.

    Flash :

    The ace can count as either one or 11 so it is still your ally in both of these doubles.
    The OP is talking specifically about when the A can no longer count as 11 after a double. Only hands adding up to 9, 10, or 11 can be doubled. When doubling A8 or A9, they are treated as hard 9 and 10.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZenMaster_Flash View Post
    The other day, there was this "desperado" (an anxious "degenerate" gambler) who was whining,
    loud and long, about how "The Casino Took His Money." He was a pathetic character.
    I looked at him and exclaimed. "No way! They didn't take your money. You gave it to them!"
    He looked stunned, as the simple reality of what I said."

    So ... you see. It is simple No traps are needed. This prey surrenders on sight.



    Great post ZMF! About five years ago I was at a table in a big room and another player was down big and chasing. The more money he lost the more obnoxious he became and specifically at me for my play on various hands. Waiting to wong out in a decent count one more insult came and that was it, and I turned to him and stated you have to stop blaming others for your own gaming problems. The man lost his cool and it drew the floor attention, big mistake on my part. Now I just keep my mouth shut.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushie View Post
    " ... you'd only consider doubling on A,8 and A,9 against 6 at +4 and above?"
    NO ... I would NEVER make such plays. Greed Kills!


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