The Detroit Blackjack Team Quiz is a tough, comprehensive online exam designed to distinguish novice card-counters from technical experts.  If you haven’t tried the quiz yet, go to www.detroitblackjackteam.com/quiz/

The following quiz is much different—it tests practical awareness about blackjack and whether or not you have a sense of humor.  See how you do:

1. While playing a friendly game of blackjack at the local casino, an incredibly drunk and obnoxious man takes the seat to your left. He has two large handfuls of green $25 chips. He reeks of booze and barely has the manual dexterity to push chips onto the betting circle. He is loud and crude to you, the dealer and the other players. During the course of play, the drunk makes several mistakes against Basic Strategy, and appears to be on the verge of passing out in the middle of hands. You should:

A. Ignore the gentleman.

B. Notify the pit boss of the situation.

C. Calmly and silently move to another table.

D. Watch the guy like a hawk because he is likely to drop chips on the floor in the middle of his drunken stupor enabling you to have a shot at one or several of the greens chips he will mistakenly lose over the course of the evening.

Answer: D. It might be stealing, technically, but I’ve pocketed chips dropped or mishandled by a drunk three different times at the casino. I’ll even follow the drunkard around from table to table.

2. Some die-hard card-counters advise that you should never tip the dealer, because the act reduces the overall expected profit gained by card-counting. This advice is:

A. Sound. You should never tip the dealer.

B. Silly. How much you tip, and how you play blackjack are independent events.

C. Solid. The dealer is already well compensated by the casino.

D. Stupid. Only a cheap prick would give that kind of advice. In fact, let’s all gang up and beat the crap out of the idiot who said such a thing.

Answers: B or D. Call me a ploppy if you want, but I think dealers should be tipped routinely when you enjoy their company and/or service, and maybe tipped more when you are winning.

3. After years of practice and experience, you’ve established yourself as a relatively good card-counter, and always play according to Basic Strategy. You are also a huge fan of the Denver Broncos. One Sunday in January, you find yourself trying to simultaneously count cards and watch the playoff game between the Broncos and the Indianapolis Colts on the big-screen television on the wall over and beyond the dealer’s head. You mistakenly stay on a thirteen against the dealer’s ten. By the time you notice the mistake, the dealer has already taken the next card, an eight which would have given you a twenty-one. You lose $35 as a result of your inattentiveness on the hand. You should:

A. Never, ever try to count cards while pre-occupied with something else.

B. Quit playing cards, or quit watching the game, one or the other.

C. Consider killing yourself for continuing to be a Denver Bronco fan and season-ticket holder after John Elway had retired.

D. All of the above.

Answer: D. This happened to a guy who is just like me, except dumber.

4. True or false. Using Basic Strategy in the game of blackjack is guaranteed to make you a winner.

Answer: True. I absolutely, positively, guarantee that if you play one-hundred hands in blackjack using Basic Strategy, you will win at least three of those hands.

5. You walk up to a table and attempt to enter a six-deck game of blackjack mid-shoe while another player is head’s up against the dealer. The other player kindly asks, “Can you please wait until I lose a hand? I have a good streak going.” You should:

A. Wait until the player loses a hand. She did say “please” and appeared considerate with the request.

B. Reply, “I’ll wait just one hand. You can’t really expect me to wait much longer.”

C. Ignore the player and her goofy superstitions, then continue to enter the game quietly.

D. Reply humorously, but conveying a serious message, “Okay, but then I want you to wait thirty-two hands while I play alone.”

Answer: Any of the above answers are correct. A situation like this happens quite often. A player who asks you to wait is a bit selfish, but there is no reason to be mean or rude in response. We are all trying to accomplish the same goal of winning a few bucks. Actually, if you are counting cards, the answer to this question is “E. A card-counter should never blindly enter a game mid-shoe.” 

6. You are seated at a table with one other player to your right. The player is a tall, slender man approximately fifty-five years old wearing a New York Yankees baseball cap and playing $800 on the hand. You are playing the table minimum of $10. You are dealt a twelve against the dealer’s two. The other player stands on his pat seventeen. Since you are playing by Basic Strategy, you signal the dealer for a hit. Before the dealer reacts, however, the other player interrupts, “I wish you wouldn’t hit. I’m betting big, and I don’t want you to take the dealer’s bust card.” You should:

A. Ignore the other player and signal for a hit.

B. Kindly inform the man, “I’ll play the way I want, you can play the way you want.”

C. Reply, “Fuck off, Joe DiMaggio!”

D. Tell the guy, “Okay. I’ll stay, but only if you give me $10 if I lose.”

Answer: D. The guy gave me two red chips even before the hand was finished. We each won our hands because the dealer busted. The dealer would have busted even if I had taken a hit. I netted $20 on the hand. Note: in this situation, if you say, “Okay. I’ll stay, but only if you give me $10 if I lose,” and the other player declines the offer, the correct response is then C, “Fuck Off, Joe DiMaggio!”

7. True or false. A player dealt a blackjack may double-down.

Answer: Absolutely true in most casinos. Sometimes this is also done during blackjack tournaments when a player needs to get more money on the table. Someone once told me that the strategy is also good in a single-deck blackjack game where the true count is extremely high and the payout for a normal blackjack is six to five. I cannot confirm or deny that is the right move, but it doesn’t sound logical to me.

8. Which of the following phenomena cannot occur during a game of blackjack under the standard rules applied at most casinos:

A. A player loses or wins eight times the amount originally bet at the start of the hand.

B. A man with $500 bet on a hand of blackjack stays on a pair of aces against a dealer’s four.

C. A dealer runs out of cards.

D. A player with a hard total of twenty-one asks for, and is given, another hit.

Answer: This is a trick question. All four of the answers are possible. I’ve never seen situation (A) occur, but it is possible. Most casinos allow a player to split pairs four times. If a double-down is made on all four split hands, the player could win or lose eight times the original bet. I witnessed situation (B). The player knew that splitting aces was the correct way to play the hand, but he did not have the money to cover the bet. I had $500, and wanted to buy one of the split aces. The player refused my offer. He also chose not to hit, fearing he would take the dealer’s bust card. He stayed on a two—and lost, by the way. Situation (C) can occur in a single-deck game if the dealer inadvertently plays too many hands or there are many splits and low cards in the deck after the penetration card surfaces. Situation (D) came up in a hypothetical discussion. A guy at my table was complaining that he lost seven hands in a row. I bet him $100 that I could lose the next ten hands in a row. He didn’t take the bet knowing there was a catch. There was. I told him I would simply bet $5 a hand and purposely hit until I busted every hand. The guy replied, “What if you got a twenty-one? You couldn’t take another hit.”  I responded, “Yes I could.” The dealer disagreed with me. I told him and the player that they were both wrong. Most casino rules say a player can hit until the hand is busted. The pit boss settled the argument saying that I was correct, “But, you’d be stupid to do it,” he clarified.  My response: “Not if it won me a $100 side bet.”

 9. Your spouse wants to spend $1000 on a new chair and ottoman for the master bedroom. The love of your life asks if you have any extra money in your secret gambling stash. You have a hair more than a thousand tucked away, but buying the furniture would deplete your gambling fund for future casino visits. You reply:

 A. “Sorry, honey, I only have a few dollars left in the stash.”

B. “What happened to all the money you’ve saved over the years?”

C. “We already have a bed in the bedroom. Why do you need a chair? And, why the livin’ hell does anyone ever need an ottoman?”

D. “I have $1083.50 in the stash. It’s yours, my darling.”

Answer: D. What do you think I am, crazy?

10. What is the most politically correct term to call blackjack players who routinely deviate from basic strategy?

A. Stupid

B. Goofy

C. Crazy

D. Blackjackally Challenged

Answer: D (copyright, Glen Wiggy, 2012, from the book, “1536 Free Waters and Other Blackjack Endeavors.”)

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