On the button, at a two advance table

Discussion in 'Blackjack Tournament Strategy' started by KenSmith, Nov 16, 2019.

  1. KenSmith

    KenSmith Administrator Staff Member

    I've been mostly absent from strategy discussions here for the last few years, only posting or replying occasionally. I play only 4 or 5 times a year these days, often even less. And this stuff is not at all like riding a bicycle. I feel rusty ever single time I play now!

    But, when someone asked me some questions via private message about an example in Wong's book, I decided my replies would do more good posted publicly. And besides, it will be fun to see others chime in with more recent chops!

    I think the example is page 97 in CTS. (I actually don't even have a copy now!)
    I'll lay out the scenario and my thoughts in separate messages below.
    PitchMan likes this.
  2. KenSmith

    KenSmith Administrator Staff Member

    The scenario is this:

    BR2 (you), bank $500.
    BR1, bank $603.
    BR3, bank $480.

    Wong's advice is to bet $150, or maybe $200 or $250. He says the hope is that BR1 will bet small behind you.
    The original question posed to me was, why not bet $15 to take 2nd low?
    My reply follows.
    PitchMan likes this.
  3. KenSmith

    KenSmith Administrator Staff Member

    Betting 15 will almost certainly give you 2nd low and 3rd high, which is a pretty weak spot. You’ve given BR1 a lock by betting small, and you now have a roughly 56% chance of advancing.
    But Wong’s recommendation is likely to play out similarly. If you bet his recommended $150, BR1 has a choice between $200 to cover your possible double, or $120 to cover BR3 push. I would prefer $120 in his spot.

    Now BR3 could bet just $125 to get 2nd low, 3rd high, but should instead take 1st high with a big bet. I would keep it simple and go all-in with the $480.
    If the three people bet $150 / $120 / $480, you again have the same starting outcomes as if you had bet the $15! You are 3rd high, 2nd low!

    So, why is $150 better?

    With the larger bet you can double down to take back a high. If you bet $15 your eggs are all in one basket with no option to improve your position with a double. That gives you a better shot than 56%.

    Now, my personal decision for this example...
    As BR2, I prefer a bet of $225 to $250. BR1 might decide to still bet only $120 (holding back $483) and give you first high. That would be your best scenario.
    PitchMan, KungFox and Dakota like this.
  4. noman

    noman Top Member

    So, from a not totally math analysis: There is nothing worse than winning a hand and not having bet enough. "Go Big or go home." The $240 or $250 allows for the double to the high, depending on the size of the bet of the other two. And if both match your bet, gives the chance of a win with a swing, or your push and their loss. In any event a smaller bet locks you in to everyone losing. It happens, but as in poker, aggression seems to work out.
    PitchMan likes this.
  5. Monkeysystem

    Monkeysystem Top Member Staff Member

    Another thing to consider is your assessment of your opponents' playing style/skill. In 2019 many of your opponents will still reflexively bet the max no matter the situation on the last hand.

    If BR1 is such a player you could bet 396 for second low. BR1 will bet 500 and then BR3 is likely to take first low with a bet of 375. This gives you the see-saw you want (2nd hi 2nd low).

    If BR3 is such a player you could take a double-minus holdback with a bet of 461 (hold back double the lead minus a chip). BR1 is likely to bet 461 and give you 2nd low 2nd high.

    If both players are reflexive max bettors then 461 is your bet for the reasons stated above.

    In all cases above you need to have confidence in your read on these players because if you're wrong you could end up with 2nd high 3rd low.
    johnr likes this.
  6. So since we've got 2nd most chips, why not just go on ALL IN? Either way we're gonna need some luck whether we bet $15 (what I would do in this scenario) or all in, right?

    Dont understand how $150 or $225 or 250 are better bets then going all in or betting $15 as that would secure us winning if the dealer wins (the most likely probability anyway)!

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