Splitting 10s at blackjack
Immediately prior to a reshuffle, I noticed that as the dealer scooped up the discards, four Aces of Spades
came together in a row at random. I watched the shuffle very closely and was convinced the Aces didn't get
shuffled. I asked the dealer if I might cut the pack. She gave me the cut-card and I cut the 6-deck pack in
such a way that the Aces were bound to be played at some stage.
During the shoe, I drew a pair of 10's versus the dealer's 10. The player on my right
took a double and drew an Ace of Spades. I assessed this to be the first Ace of Spades. I split my 10's and
then, to make it seem as though I had only just now noticed my neighbour's Ace draw, said, "Oh! There's the
Ace I wanted. Damn it! Give me an Ace of Spades, too." The dealer dealt the 2nd Ace to my first 10, and the
table was in uproar. "And give me an Ace of Spades on this one as well, please." She dealt the 3rd Ace, and
the uproar got louder, not only from the players at the table but also from the crowd of spectators and even
more so when the 4th Ace of Spades was dealt to the next player. The dealer then busted. In the ensuing
'post mortem' I made out I only did it to take away the Aces to stop the dealer getting another blackjack.
I played box one and had a pair of 10's. The other players' hands told me that either the next card dealt,
or the one immediately after it, was the Ace I was tracking. If I split my 10's I was bound to get it on
one of them. I stalled the dealer with, "Just a moment, I want to see if anyone is going to take a card."
The dealer very sarcastically said, "Would you care to split your 10's, sir?" I responded with, "Why not?"
She dealt me the Ace but surprise, surprise, the random card she dealt to my second box was also an Ace.
My hand was a pair of 10's dealt by a dealer who has shuffled a single riffle. I was tracking two Aces. In
my opinion, one of the next two cards to be dealt would be the 1st Ace and maybe both cards would be Aces.
I split my 10's but drew a 10 giving me hard 20. I doubled down the hard 20 and drew the 1st Ace. My second
10 then got its card, another 10. I doubled down on this hard 20 and drew the 2nd Ace. When I told a
professional player about this play he declared that I was just lucky. True enough, but was my play a
winning play? A card-counter can rarely say for sure whether the next hand, or card, dealt will win or lose,
all he can do is play his hand to maximise his win or minimise his loss. When I reflect on the hand just
described, I put it in the same category, that is, if the situation were to re-occur indefinitely it would
be an over-all winner, though it might not be the play to maximise one's win.
In South Africa, the pack was dealt down to the last card. Toward the end of a shoe, with the count very
high, I played the 4 empty boxes with a table maximum bet on each. My hands included pairs of 10's against
the dealer's 6. I split my 10's and resplit those that drew a 10. I drew an Ace to one of the 10's
and placed a bet to double down. The pit boss refused the bet but I said "Call it 11 and allow the bet."
but he said "You can't double down on Ace 10." I laughed when one of the players at the table said "You
could last week." with the pit boss responding "Well, you can't this week." The 4 hands I had started had
grown to 14. The dealer then drew two 10's and busted.