Dear Mark, How often does a casino change their decks in blackjack? I sat at a table for about four hours and watched them change the deck every hour. Does this sound right to you? Bobby G.

Missing from your inquiry was the number of decks on the game, making a precise answer impossible. Besides, Bobby, deck replacement rules vary from casino to casino. In the casinos that I have worked, we changed single decks every hour, double decks every two hours, and decks used in shoe games at the shift change (10 AM, 6 PM, 2 AM).

Cards in all casinos are swapped out more frequently on single and double deck games. The higher substitution rate with fewer decks compensates for the increased wear and tear from additional use and shuffling. I have even changed single decks out as often as every thirty minutes for break-in dealers whose nervous sweating in normal limit play softened the cardboard for easy butchering. In high limit play, these sorry souls – you donšt want to know.

Then there is the player who is killing the house, encouraging us to change the cards (i.e.luck – we have our own superstitious side) as often as possible without frightening the high rollers away.

Dear Mark,

In low poker, is the ace high or low? Saul N.

My crystal ball reveals that your question is about Lowball, a homespun five-card draw game where the lowest hand wins the pot. In most poker games, Saul, the ace ranks supreme, and the two (deuce) ranks rock bottom. But in Lowball, the low hand wins, and the ace is the lowest card. The best hand you can get in Lowball is A-2-3-4-5, although some players insist that 6-4-3-2-A is the lowest hand, figuring A-2-3-4-5 would make a straight.

Dear Mark,

The casino I play in allows you to resplit aces, plus the dealer must hit a soft 17. How much advantage is it the player playing under these conditions? Jeff B.

When I first started pitching sweaty, butchered   먹튀검증사이트 cards, the classy joints where I worked did not permit the resplitting of aces. Today, if you draw a second bullet, many casinos allow the encore and you can split your aces again. This player-favorable rule adds about 0.05% edge for the player. As to your second query, the dealer hitting a soft 17, this is not a player-favorable rule, costing you about 0.2%.

Dear Mark,

I have been dealt the following hand in video poker: An ace of clubs, a king of hearts, a queen of spades, a five of hearts and a seven of diamonds. What cards do I keep? Jack D.

Most players erroneously hold all three high cards, especially the ace figuring it is far too powerful to toss overboard. But when you hold an ace with two other high cards, the smart play is to keep the two high cards (in your example the king and queen), and to discard the ace. Hurts a little, but the thinking is that by holding the ace, you limit yourself to the ace-high straight. So, Jack, always discard the ace when holding three unsuited high cards.

Gambling quote of the week: “I have known dealers who shorted players simply for revenge on the player. If you knew the amount of abuse that dealers have to endure from players, you would find that easier to understand.” Darwin Ortiz (“Gambling Scams”)