The Dealer's Play

In reality the dealer's final outcome is heavily dependent on the upcard. Via the same combinatorial analysis, we obtain Figure 2 (pgs. 24 and 25), which shows the distribution of dealer's final totals as a function of the upcard in a 2-deck game.

Note that the dealer is most likely to bust showing a 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 as his upcard. However, under no circumstances does the dealer have as high as a 50°Io chance of busting. Although a 5 or 6 is commonly referred to as a "dealer's bust card," the smart money is still on the dealer to draw to a pat hand.

Furthermore, a dealer showing an upcard of 8 or more has less than a 25% chance of busting. With high-valued upcards such as a 9, ten, or ace, the dealer is very likely to make a good hand. For these reasons, we say that the dealer "shows weakness" with an upcard of 2 through 6, while thedealer "shows strength" with an upcard of 9 or higher.

It's also worth noting the "break" that occurs between upcards of 2 through 6 and upcards of 7 through ace. In the former, the final distribution of dealer hands is similar and not a sensitive function of the upcard. In each case, the dealer's most likely outcome is to bust. In the latter, the final distribution is a fairly sensitive function of the upcard. In each case here, the dealer's most likely outcome is to achieve a hand equal to ten plus the upcard value. This has led to the mnemonic crutch that tells us to assume that "the dealer has a ten in the hole."

You will find it helpful to familiarize yourself with these figures. It is important to realize, for example, that the dealer is much more likely to reach a total of 20 if the upcard is a jack as opposed to a 5. On the other hand, the dealer is more likely to bust with an upcard of a 6 than with an upcard of an ace.

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What's in a Name?

A number of true stars play under their real names.

The shrinking number of credit card companies that allow players to buy chips with their cards frequently impose onerous conditions, such as treating chip purchases like cash advances (with the attendant fees and high interest rates).

At most cardrooms, it is possible to buy chips by mailing a check to the cardroom's home base (and waiting for it to clear, if it isn't a cashier's check), but most players want instant gratification (or something close thereto), which has created an entirely new business for gaming e-cash providers.

For awhile, the popular e-cash system PayPal became the leading easy method to buy chips. PayPal eventually decided it didn't want to be involved in this business (there are certain headaches involved with charge backs) and got out.