How to Play Spanish 21 with Michael Shackleford

Join myself and the Wizard of Odds as we answer your questions about Spanish 21, the casino industry and anything else you might have on your mind!

Heather: What do you know about Spanish 21?

Michael: I could talk the whole hour about it.

Heather: Do you like it?

Michael: Yes. Let me kind of tell you about my history and personal connection to Spanish 21 without getting to math-y. I lived in Baltimore from 1992 to 2001. At that time the closest legal gambeling was in Atlantic City. I like gambling. So I went there frequently. The first time I saw this game Spanish 21 and I was like, what is this? I went over there and I asked what the rules of this game? And they said it’s like blackjack but you can surrender any time, and double any time and if you get a 21 automatically wins. And this and that and this and that. I go wow this is great! What are you taking away from me? And they said nothing. I was very skeptical. So I sat and played for a while. This was so long ago. I don’t remember how, but if I remember correctly, I noticed there were no tens (10) coming out. In fact I was counting. And I noticed the count was always good. I thought how can the count always be good?

Heather: Right.

Michael: That’s when I realized there were a shortage of tens. Of course we all know there are no one-zero tens. Tens, as every card counter knows are good for the player. So you take out 25% of them and that is very strong the casinos way. That is why they give you all these little things back. Which really doesn’t help you all that much. Nevertheless at this time in Atlantic City, they stood on a soft 17 on every single table, blackjack and Spanish 21. At the end of all the math, it made Spanish 21 a better bet than blackjack. That was pretty much all I played for my nine years of living in Baltimore.

Heather: That’s pretty cool.

Michael: So I have spent a lot of time playing Spanish 21.

Heather: So when you say there are no tens in the deck, you are saying just the one-zero, the jacks, queens, the kings, they are still in there.

Michael: Yes, yes! Absolutely!

Heather: Just these guys right here.

Michael: Yes let’s show them. (Showing a 10 card) Higher than a nine and lower than a jack. So I don’t want to mix up your shoe. Yeah that’s the jist of it.

Heather: I think I have a good hand.

Michael: You must do some kind of a magic trick with that. Here let me do a magic trick for you. Ok. Pick a card, any card.

Heather: Right? Exactly!

Michael: Yes. Ok. Concentrate on it. I am going to read your mind.

Heather: Okay.

Michael: I bet it is a ten.

Heather: No way! OMG! You got it! Check it out!

Michael: What are the odds? :)

Heather: I love that. Thank you!

Michael: Let me tell you a Spanish 21 story.

Heather: Okay.

Michael: As I have said I have spent a lot of hours playing Spanish 21 in Atlantic City. As you can see from my website, or any source about Spanish 21 there’s a different basic strategy to it that calls for a lot more hitting and a lot less doubling and splitting. The reason is obvious, it’s basically because the count – because there is the shortage of those tens, that you should be doing more hitting. There is less chance of busting. So for example, I know that you hit every 12 and you hit most 13’s and you even hit some 14’s. You do less doubling down, and so when you do things like hit a 14 against a 2, it drives the rest of the table crazy! They will want to take you out to the parking lot and show you how they used to deal with casino cheats in the old days.

Heather: Blanket party.

Michael: Yeah. So I just had so many people hate me. And I analyze this game to death. At this time, I was a little bit more of a pacifist. I would try to politely explain they take the tens out of the deck. This is not blackjack, it calls for a different strategy because there are so many more small cards in that deck that it changes the strategy to make hitting more favorable.

Heather: Okay.

Michael: You know. They didn’t get it. I don’t think they even believed me that they took the tens out. Because nobody knew that. Even if I proved it to them, they would probably say, the rules are the same as blackjack. I just know how blackjack should be played and this is like blackjack to me with a different name. Boy I got into – I had so many people hating me at those tables.

But I just kept right on playing. I might of said I am allowed to play here. You don’t have to play at this table if you don’t want to but I am going to sit here and play for six more hours until the bus goes back to Baltimore.

Heather: Nice. Now this is sorta like Superfun 21 where you have all of the crazy rules?

Michael: Yeah.

Heather: You know double at any time, double after hitting? It doesn't matter.

Michael: Yes, very much the same. Except what they take from you in Superfun 21 is most blackjacks only pay even money. The suited blackjack in diamonds pays 2 to 1. But that’s only 1 in 16 blackjacks.

Heather: Now in this game, one of the things I noticed is it has a five card charlie, or a six card charlie or something like that?

Michael: Yeah.

Heather: I thought it was really interesting.

Michael: I think it might have been a Superfun 21 thing. I get confused.

Heather: It was like five or six cards. Well one of the things I noticed is you have to have a certain amount of cards in order to win. And you couldn’t double down and still get paid on that bonus.

Michael: Yeah.

Heather: You know it was like a 2 to 1 bonus but they were like if you double down and you then you get the six cards, well then you are not getting paid 2 to 1 on your double.

Michael: Yeah. You know one rule I could never get straight is do the three card bonuses like 6-7-8 and 7-7-7 apply after splitting? Some dealers say yes and some no and some floormen say yes and some floormen say no. But I think none of them truly know, and are just saying anything.

Heather: You know you are probably right. With a casino it’s one of those things where every floor will say something different and whatever they say you have go with it. It doesn’t necessarily – it’s not always consistent.

Michael: How come no one says, you know that is a good question, I don’t know. Let me check? You never hear that!

Heather: Because they are in the job of making decisions, and therefore they can’t say, I don’t know, because that is their job to make decisions. They can say I am going to refer to a higher up. They can’t say I don’t know. They have to say, I will look into it, or I will handle it, or we are going to refer to a higher up.

Michael: But that implies that you don’t know. Otherwise you wouldn’t be referring to a higher up.

Heather: It is more of a customer service thing. Because you don’t want to say I can’t help you. You want to say I will do everything I can to help you and if I can’t help you, someone else will have to help you.

Michael: Well what I would do is say, “To be honest with you I don’t know, let me find out.”

Heather: But the corporation sometimes don’t like that.

Michael: Why not?

Heather: Because like I said it is a customer service thing.

Michael: But that is being good customer service because you are being hornets with the customer.

Heather: Yeah you are being honest but you could just say, “I could refer you, or we can find out from someone else, or hey let’s go check with Bob and see what Bob says, I will walk with you.” It’s like customer service –

Michael: But I find it really annoying that there seems to be something in customer service that you can never say no. You always have to frame it another way. Like once I was on a plane and all the overhead space was full. This flight attendant told this man you are going to have to check that bag and he kept saying, how about I try and squeeze it in here? You're going to have to check that bag. How about if I squeeze it in there? You're going to have to check that bag. How about if I shuffle things around? You're going to have to check that bag. Why can’t they just say NO? For the third time NO! You have to check that bag.

Heather: I really wish I was on that airplane when that happened. I would just be sitting there laughing. I would lose it. I would probably just be laughing my head off.

Michael: No. With me, if you are going to tell me no, just tell me no. You don’t need to dance around it.

Heather: But do you notice that when you are gambling – do you notice there are times where people are not saying no to you and that makes you mad? When you are gambling on a table?

Michael: Yeah! Well here is another example. Like let’s say you ask the floorman for a comp to a buffet.

Heather: That was what I was thinking.

Michael: Yes. If the answer is no, just tell me no. You know. You don’t have to go into a spiel about how the whole rewards program works.

Heather: Right.

Michael: Like you don’t need to say, you haven’t played enough, or something like that. You know. That’s obviously the reason. But start out by saying no, so I can toon out the rest of it.

Heather: Okay well at least you are honest.

Michael: Well how would you handle that? Pretend you are a floorman and I am playing blackjack. (Roll play) Hi

Heather: Yes, how can I help you?

Michael: Can I have a comp to the buffet please?

Heather: Can I have your player's card?

Michael: Here you go.

Heather: Thank you. Let me check the system, I will be right back. {Checking the system. You have two dollars) Hi sir you weren’t playing enough to get an appropriate comp for the buffet, but we can comp you a $2 cigar.

Michael: (staring at Heather for a while) Okay. I at least like the fact that you said, you haven’t played enough. That is honest. It’s not like you started out with no. But you didn’t go through a whole dance around it. I would be kinda be a little put off by the $2 off a cigar. No.1 because I hate cigars passionately, especially when people smoke them in the casinos. Yeah just $2 off just kind of throwaway coupon.

Heather: Yeah. It’s like, Hello sir, you played $2000 we can give you a $2 comp. No?

Michael: No. Just say, sorry no.

Heather: I tried.

Michael: I like that you need to play more.

Heather: Q: I don’t think I have seen Spanish 21 in Vegas. I wasn’t looking for it though. Any suggestions on where to find it?

A: I don’t see Spanish 21 very much any more do you?

Michael: Yeah not here in Vegas. It’s popular in Southern California, and Washington State. But here it’s kind of – it’s like 80 years old and the lifespan of a game compared to a humans. It’s just kind of worn out. Table Games have a lifespan. But it’s still fairly fresh in other markets. They call Spanish 21 Pontoon in Australia and it’s pretty popular there.

Heather: Okay. Sounds pretty cool. When was the last time you went to the Hard Rock?

Michael: Oh, it’s funny you ask that!

Heather: Okay.

Michael: Tell me what you guys think of the morality of this. It’s Thanksgiving weekend and we – my family and I have to fly somewhere. So we get to the airport in a reasonable amount of time. We have to go out of terminal 3. And I am going to park in the long term terminal 3 parking lot. Which I have done many times before. It’s barricaded and it says parking lot is full.

Heather: Okay.

Michael: At this point – to park in short term for a daily basis is like $60 a day. I didn’t want to do that just out of principle, and I didn’t think I had enough time to go to go to terminal 1 long parking lot because I would have to take one bus to get to terminal 1 and then another bus to get to terminal 3. Again I would be risking missing the flight. So I did drop off the whole family at the curb so at least they could make the flight and only I might miss it. So what I ended up doing is I did what many locals do is I drove to the Hard Rock and took a cab to the airport. I feel guilty about it.

Heather: Why do you feel guilty?

Michael: Because I stole a parking space and I never patronized the place that visit. But I can honestly say that I patronized them a lot in the past. But I kinda feel like I stole their space.

Heather: Okay here is how I feel about it. I can’t get mad about that or say anything about that because I would be a huge hypocrite. So I am not allowed to say anything. I go to the Tropicana and park there all the time and then I will walk to the other casinos that I am going to and I will never go into the Tropicana.

Michael: Well sure! That I will do. I feel that is justified because I am only dinking around for a few hours.

Heather: That’s true. It’s not for several days.

Michael: I was parked at the Hard Rock for four days.

Heather: But here is the thing, when you parked at the Hard Rock did you park at one of the lower levels or did you go at the very highest level where no one parks at?

Michael: It was like half way. This was Thanksgiving week and it was kinda tough to find a space. So I am sure they would have liked to have had that space. But when I came and picked up the car it was empty and there were no other cars close by.

Heather: And no notes, no nothing?

Michael: No.

Heather: Okay good. I would say then the only thing is just park at the very top. There are so very few that would park up there they wouldn’t really care or notice.

Michael: That’s a good point. I was a little nervous about the time. So that is probably why I parked where I did. If anyone from the Hard Rock is listening I am – I guess I am a little bit sorry. I am not sure if I am sorry. But if you want to send me an invoice or something or tell me to buy a T-shirt in the over priced gift stop. I would like to clear my conscience of this. I do feel a little bit badly.

Heather: Why don’t you just go to the Hard Rock and gamble then?

Michael: I don’t just sit there and gamble for no reason very well.

Heather: They have tiles don’t they?

Michael: No. I think that – I have considered going in there and buying a ridiculously overpriced T-shirt if it said Hard Rock on it Las Vegas and calling it good. But I have not been back since that incident. And I asked about this on my forum and a priest said that I should write them a letter of apology. And I never did. So how much time do I have to spend in purgatory for ignoring a priest's advice.

Heather: I will forgive you of your sins for three hail marys.

Michael: Hail Mary full of grace. That’s as far as I can get.

Heather: That is one.

Michael: No but it goes on.

Heather: I am accepting that. So that’s one.

Michael: No you shouldn’t accept that.

Heather: Well do a little bow or something. Like I don’t know.

Michael: Like – no I need to say the whole thing.

Heather: I don't’ know like smack yourself or something?

Michael: No. But a good priest would make you do something to –

Heather: Holy water?

Michael: I do have some holy water at home. My mother in-law is Catholic. But if I were a priest I would not just tell someone to give me five hail and an act of contrition. I would make them do something to make things right. For example if they sinned against someone else. I would tell they them they would have to apologize.

Heather: I think if you go to the Hard Rock and gamble in one of their casinos that is like close enough.

Michael: Okay.

Heather: Or if you go and visit the pool.

Michael: That would be a pleasurable punishment.

Heather: Exactly! Right! I think that would be atone for forgiveness.

Michael: Can I take you along if I go?

Heather: Sure. I will be the priest. I will be the one making sure you do it.

Michael: Well I am probably going to commit the commandment not coveting lots of times. There are so many beautiful girls walking around. I would be coveting the whole time.

Heather: It’s Las Vegas though. That’s the best part of Las Vegas I think.

Michael: Yeah. I think that commandment doesn’t apply in Las Vegas.

Heather: No it doesn’t.

Michael: Yeah. Okay. Let’s see what the audience has to say.

Heather: Q: I think the one dollar bet on Let It Ride is based on the lottery to win the big bucks. A: Heather: Yeah basically progressive.

Michael: Well these side bets are succor bets.

Heather: Yeah they are.

Q: At the casino I work at we are told that we don’t know the answer, we tell them up front that we don’t know. But we will bring them to someone that does and will escort them to the right person. Joe works at a strip casino.

Michael: That’s a good policy.

Heather: Yeah I like that policy.

Michael: That reminds me, when I was in Amsterdam I went to the casino there and they had a table called dice ball.

Heather: That is interesting.

Michael: I have never seen this game before, so I – but it was closed. I was playing blackjack and when the dealer was shuffling, I asked her if she ever dealt the diceball game. I don’t remember what she said. I think she said no and I asked her what the rules were. She said no, but then said she would find someone that does. She asked the floor person and they didn’t know. They were asking everyone, “Do you know this game?” “Do you know this game?” Finally they found – I couldn’t see it but finally a guy in a suit came up to the table quite fast and he said, “Hi I am Mr. So and So I hear you were asking about diceball?” I said, “Yes I was.” He said, “I’d be happy to explain the game to you. Would you like to come over to the table with me and I will explain it to you?” I said, ”Sure.” And I walked over there and he explained the whole game. Every single rule. That was such great service. I was just sitting there betting the minimum in blackjack. So to them I appreciated getting such great service. Especially because I was newbee and betting the minimum. Probably ten euros in blackjack.

Heather: That’s really cool.

Michael: Yeah. So thumbs up to the – whatever the casino is in Amsterdam, there’s only one. Normally in markets that have a monopoly, you don’t get very good service. But that was great.

Heather: That’s true. Do you think customer service in casinos – you have been in casinos all around the world.

Michael: Yes.

Heather: Like everywhere!

Michael: Yep!

Heather: Do you think customer service is the same for all of the casinos? Like are dealers doing the dummy up and deal, where they don’t talk, they don’t say anything. They just deal to you and there is no customer interaction? Or do you feel like most dealers, they want to invite you in, they want to talk with you. They want to have a good time. They want to ask you questions about yourself. Like how you doin? What do you find to be more normal?

Michael: Certainly in any market there is going to be a range. I think that the dealers in Atlantic City are really unfriendly. They just want to sit there and get through their shift without saying as little as possible. I found the dealers in Tunica-Biloxi to be very nice.

Here in Las Vegas you get the whole gamut. I think that they tend to be nicer in the locals casinos. But I like the friendly dealers. I think that – the way to think about gambling for recreational players is a form of entertainment. I think it makes it more fun if you are chatting and having a social good time.

Heather: Yeah. It’s also good for the casinos too. The casino really wants the dealer to be sociable and talkative. The reason why is because, if you are sitting there and you feel like you are talking with your friends you could talk for hours upon hours. You never want to leave. And they want that feeling on the blackjack table. That player is betting $15 a hand. The longer you can talk with the player and asking questions and keeping them talking about themselves and keep them on the table, the more money they make.

Michael: Yeah. You know when I was at the Venetian I thought they really had a lot of dealers with a bad attitude. I kept bringing this up. But they had this philosophy, that its all about the numbers. As long as they were dealing a fast, clean game that was good enough for them.

Heather: I think customer service is a big portion of dealing and gambling.

Michael: So do I. And it’s hard to quantify that in a number. But if I ran a casino I would do secret shoppers that –

Heather: Yep! Exactly.

Michael: And make sure every dealer faces a spy every three months. And they get written up on how they did.

Heather: I used to work at the Rio in the 2000. This is when Harris owned it. They were really focused on customer service. I mean HUGE focused on customer service. They would do the secret shoppers. If we got a good score and a good rating we would get a bonus check. If we, for example, got so many compliments from players during the month we would also get a bonus. It wasn't like a small bonus, it was like a $200 bonus. That is pretty big. They were one of the few companies that really pushed customer service and being friendly to people.

Michael: Yeah. Would you agree with me that I think if you really get a good dealer, they will get so much more mileage if you put in a written compliment about them than to get a cash tip? I think that those compliments in writing stay in their file and it really makes them look good, doesn’t it?

Heather: Yeah, I think both are good because I sorta like money at the end of the day. You know? :) I like tips as well as compliments. You can eat food with tips but you can’t eat food with compliments.

Michael: But if it’s a written compliment, that is like a physical thing. You can actually put the paper in your mount and eat it.

Heather: But the only time it really mattered when I was a dealer dealing in Las Vegas was at the Rio when they were giving us bonus checks for that reason. Then I would be really encouraging them to write down their compliments. But when I was working at a different casino, I don’t want to name which one it is, but you would get compliments all day and they wouldn’t care and they would go in your file and no one would say or do anything. It would just go down this black hole and now one really like – it didn’t matter. You know what I mean?

Michael: Ahugh.

Heather: So I think it really just depends.

Michael: Whisper the casino.

Heather: (Wisper to Michael)

Michael: Oh really!

Heather: I really don’t have nice things to say about that casino.

Michael: Hummm. I can’t say the name but as a player I kinda like that casino.

Heather: Oh no it’s – as a player the casino is really nice. I think my problem with that casino – and you have no clue which casino we are talking about. But I think my problem with that one was when I was there the people that were running it.

Michael: Yeah.

Heather: Not the management now, because it is totally different management. Completely different crew and everything. But the crew that I was working with back then. Not a good crew.

Michael: Yeah, and they have changed hands lots of times recently. Okay.

Heather: Q: Are Spanish21 cards in the gift shop for strategy? You know how they have the blackjack strategy? Do they have one for Spanish21?

Michael: A: No I have never seen one.

Heather: Okay so you guys out there you can go to the website where you do have the strategy cards for Spanish21. And people can just download and print it out right?

Michael: Yep.

Heather: Awesome. And then you go to website, go to the very top where it says games. And you can find all games. And then they have a whole list of all the games that are on the wizrdofodds website. And then you can find Spanish21 on there.

Michael: You know what I recommend doing rather than just printing it out is getting a piece of graph paper and actually making your own. I think as you are actually making it with your own hands it will sink in and help with the memorization process.

Heather: Yeah. I guess it depends if people want to memorize it.

Michael: I think that should be the goal. I think that it doesn’t look good if you are constantly consulting a cheat sheet.

Heather: I mean the casinos allow it. You could be on any casino and you could have a strategy card and the casino allows you to use it.

Michael: That’s true but I think that it will annoy the other players if you have to check every decision. I mean, if you have a situation you don’t see very often like two sevens against an eight. Okay that I can buy. At least all the hard totals you should memorize. Those are about 80% of hands.

Heather: How much of a variation or deviation is it from normal blackjack strategy cards?

Michael: It is a lot different.

Heather: Oh okay. So it’s not like if you have the blackjack strategy card memorized you just change one or two things and you are good.

Michael: No. You have to change about 20 things.

Heather: Oh wow. Okay. Cool.

Q: What do you think of High Card Flush?

A: Heather: Now that is one of those games that exploded in Las Vegas. And that is in almost every casino now, right? High Card Flush?

Michael: Yeah!

Heather: What do you think of it?

Michael: That is one of those games that has just kinda sat and had one placement in Laughlin for years and then suddenly bam! It became an overnight success. And it’s funny this comes up because just yesterday I was talking with a friend from San Diego who just loves gambling. He said, “Mike, I saw this game High Card Flush and I just love it! I played it for hours and I did really well.” Well I am happy for you that you like it but I find it boring. It has a simple strategy to it. But to each is own. It’s a very simple poker based game with the usual raise or fold decision. You try to have your longest suit more than the dealers. And if it is the same, then you look at the individual cards. It’s too simple for me. But I know some people like the simple game.

Heather: Well actually that’s what the casinos are looking for right?

Michael: Yep.

Heather: When you have the new table game and you are trying to get the table game in the casino, the casinos want something simple. They want something that can be explained between 15 and 30 seconds.

Michael: Yes. Which it can. So from a design element it is a very good game. It can be explained very quickly and players get the hang of it like that. But no game is for everybody.

Heather: That is true.

Micael: But yeah it’s a well designed game in terms of simplicity, taking what’s already a commonly understood idea like in 3 Card Poker, or Raise or Fold. But changing the scoring.

Heather: Okay.

Michael: It hits all of the elements of a well designed game.

Heather: Okay, sounds cool.

Michael: Yep.

Q: Anyone try playing Mississippi Stud? It can be a volatile but I find it to be fun. I tried it at Harris when I was in Vegas last March.

A: Michael: I like Mississippi Stud. That one has more of a strategy to it. It’s all on my website of course. I don’t have it memorized. But if you like a volatile game that has an occasional big win at the cost of usually losing. That’s a good game.

Heather: Now isn’t that one of the games that has a high house edge like 7%? Something like that?

Michael: I don’t remember off the top of my head. That is one of those games where there is a lot of raising going on. So if you measure your expedited loss by everything you bet on it, it’s not so bad. Maybe someone can look it up on my site and remind us what the element of risk is in Mississippi stud. I think if you force me to guess I would say it’s about 1.5%.

Heather: Okay. That’s not bad.

Michael: Can someone please check?

Heather: I don’t know why but I have it in my head that it is either 5.22% or it’s 7%. I can’t remember which one.

Michael: Caribbean Stud is the 5.22% House edge. The element of risk on that is like 2.3.

Heather: What do you think of that one?

Michael: That was good for its time. It’s one of the first of a generation of poker based games. But that one has run its life expectancy. Time for something new.

Heather: Now would you say for poker based games the only really, really popular game right now that is a poker based game as far as carnival games go is Ultimate Texas Hold’em?

Michael: Yeah that is the big one right now. It’s also my personal favorite.

Heather: Oh it is?

Michael: Yeah.

Heather: Okay, why?

Michael: That one actually has a very involved strategy, but it’s not so involved that you can’t climb that mountain. I had a nice strategy card at home that I gave to friends that explains the whole Ultimate Texas Hold’em on one card like yeah big on one side.

Heather: Nice.

Michael: So you can get pretty close to the optimal strategy with some basic rules of thumb. For example, a big decision is when do you make the big raise after two cards? That I have completely memorized. The medium raise strategy is a little more involved but if you have a hidden pair you make that the medium raise and four to a flush, and some other things. Then with a small rais you have to count outs. If you have twenty one outs or more, then you make the – if there are less than twenty one ways of beating the dealer then you fold.

Heather: Okay. Cool.

Michael: That is a good game. Very challenging. Good in terms of value too. Element of risk is only 0.53%.

Heather: Okay.

Michael: Okay which of all these poker based games do you like?

Heather: I don’t know. I am sorta partial – I sorta like Three Card Poker.

Michael: Yeah.

Heather: It’s boring though right? Because it is so old. You know.

Michael: I am kinda bored with that. I used to hold card that game a lot.

Heather: I guess I have to say my favorite poker game is Pai Gow Poker then.

Michael: Okay.

Heather: Because that is the only poker game that I really, really love. And Pai Gow tiles.

Michael: Yeahhhhhh.

Heather: Liking Pai Gow Tiles.

Michael: That’s my game. Okay let’s see what the audience says about Mississippi Stud.

Heather: Sounds good.

Q: I like Mississippi Stud. It could kill your bankroll real quick but when you win you can win big.

Michael: Yep!

Heather: Cool. And it has a 1.37% element of risk.

Michael: Thank youuuuu! I think my estimate of 1.5% was not far off.

Heather: Yeah you got it.

Michael: Yeah 1.37% is not bad. There are certainly better games but there are also many more worse ones.

Heather: Yeah.

Michael: Yep! Spanish21 questions.

Q: Hey guys from North Carolina, you both have made my gambling and dealing experience so much better!

Heather: Thank you!

Michael: Thank you for saying so! That is why we are here.

Q: They are Christian, they are meant to forgive you anyway. It’s part of the gig.

Heather: That is awesome. I really like that. That’s my kind of religion. Anyway, so let’s see.

Michael: Well that’s what they are supposed to do.

Heather: They are supposed to.

Q: Three Card Poker got ruined when the flush when from 4 to 1 to 3 to 1.

Heather: Yeah that did change the house edge quite a bit.

Michael: Yeah that is on the pair plus bet and that brought the house advantage from about 2.5% to 7.5%. So it tripled it.

Heather: Holy cow!

Michael: Yeah.

Heather: Talk about greedy.

Michael: Yeah. I believe when Shuffle Master bought it suddenly –

Heather: That explains it.

Michael: I like Shuffle Master but you know, they have to make money too.

Heather: Okay.

Michael: Yep.

Heather: We have about 15 more minutes left on this livestream.

Michael: I have a question for you.

Heather: Oh I get a question?

Michael: So you know how aluminum foil has a shiny side…

Heather: Oh you are going to ask me a hard question.

Michael: …a shiny side and a kind of matt side. Which side are you supposed to put the food on?

Heather: The clean side.

Michael: They are both clean.

Heather: Oh well that is good. It doesn’t matter I don’t think. Right? Because they are both the same?

Michael: Maybe if you are baking chicken, it might be easier to lift up off the aluminum foil on the shiny side? I don’t know. I like the shiny side. What do you guys do?

Heather: What do you guys think about that? Do you notice a difference?

Michael: I have never done a scientific study. So…cause…yeah. It doesn’t seem something I would spend a whole lot of time thinking about.

Heather: I am just happy if it is clean. I just want a clean side.

Michael: What if you were baking chicken and you lifted it up and little pieces of tin foil got pulled off and was sitting there on the chicken.

Heather: If I was baking chicken, my oven would be on fire and I would be running to my bedroom getting the fire extinguisher. That’s what would happen if I cooked. This is why I don’t cook. And I have had that where the tin foil sticks into the food. I don’t notice it until I bite into it.

Michael: Well at least you know where your fire extinguisher is. I always forget where mine are. One time my computer caught on fire.

Heather: How did your computer catch on fire?

Michael: I am happy you asked. Because it allows me to vent a little bit. So I buy a brand new HP computer. And I am in the process of putting all my software on it. So one day when the computer is practically right out of the box, like a week old. I turn it on, nothing happens. I try it again, nothing happens. I think I try it again nothing happens. And then I let it sit for a while on the old computer and then I press it again and black smoke came billowing out of the thing. And I am freaking out. I am thinking this is a major fire. It was just billowing out of the thing. I thought where do I keep my fire extinguisher?' I know I have one? I am panicking, where did I put it? I am thinking about a backup plan of getting a pot from the kitchen and filling it up with water. But the fire tapers out. Fortunately the whole house didn’t burn down.

Heather: OMG!

Michael: So I try to call HP customer support. Of course I get someone in India who probably is following a script. He says what happens when you press this button? And then again what happens if you press this button? Nothing. Nothing. It’s a blank screen. Nothing. Nothing. Try pressing this. Nothing. Then I said to him, “Can I please tell you in plain simple English what happened?” Okay he said. “The computer caught on fire.” Then to try and make a long story short. It is under their short warranty…

Heather: Oh so it happens often? It happens often enough to be on the warranty.

Michael: The computer is under warranty for a limited time. So I send it back and I have to pay extra for them to not wipe the hard drive clean. I pay the extra amount. I include the check with the box. They wiped it clean anyway when I get it back. I am so mad because I had spent so much time installing all the new files on it and I wrote a letter of complaint and they sent me back a check with no apology for what I paid extra for them to not wipe the hard drive clean. So absolutely never ever patronize HP! Those computers are pieces of junk! And their customer service is awful! The list of companies that I can’t stand, HP is way there at the top.

Heather: Well when your computer explodes on you and like starts a fire!

Michael: Yeah! That was just strike one. Just the awful customer service that I got after the fact. That was strike two and three.

Heather: Yeah. They should have atleast sent an apology letter.

Michael: I know! And you would think that it’s not an everyday thing that their computers catch on fire. Like they would…

Heather: Maybe it is an everyday thing if they are acting like that. Oh another one, they are saying.

Michael: Oh!! No never an HP. What brand of computer do you like? And don’t say HP or we can’t be friends any more.

Heather: I build my own computers.

Michael: Really! I am so impressed.

Heather: Oh I appreciate that.

Michael: I am really impressed. And guys before the show I came over here with a cell phone that I needed to put a SIM chip in and I couldn’t even open the thing. And I said Heather, do you know anything about Cell phones? And I sat there with a knife at home before the show trying for like 15 minutes to crack open this case. My daughter put it in a case. Then Heather get’s if off in two seconds, and then knows exactly how to get the SIM chip out. I am at least happy to cooperate with the little thing. When I got the SIM chip they gave me this tool to pull it out. But this…she makes her own computers. She knows the architecture of cell phones. This is like the perfect woman here. And she is single guys!

Heather: You are going to make me turn red. Let’s see what is in the chat.

Q: Can you read double on Spanish 21? A:

Michael: Yeah.

Heather: So you could double and then redouble?

Michael: Wait! Sometimes you can and sometimes you can’t. That’s one of the variable rules and yes. I know that casinos around Palm Springs and San Diego fare a bit. Some allow it and some don’t. It’s worth .2% to the player if they allow it. So that is a good thing. So like say you double on a nine and you get a two. That’s normally not very nice to look at but you can double that again, and you get a ten. So you doubled and then you four times your bet. You have seven units out there with a 21. That is exciting.

Heather: Wait a minute. You sit there and you double your… I just need to get this in my head. Okay so you have an 11 and you double down and you get an ace. Everybody hates when that happens because it’s a 12. So you're telling me you can double it again and get say another card and then do another double? Is that right?

Michael: I’m saying you could. This is not a good example. If you could replace this with a seven. And then let’s say you double and get a two. So now you are at a 11. And now is a real sweet time to double.

Heather: Okay so now you double…

Michael: Now I am doubting myself, what do you double? Do you double the original bet or do you double everything?

Heather: Right, like is it three or four?

Michael: Oh wait let me try to remember. I tend to think that you double four. Here is one, here’s two, and I think you double the last one. That’s why I said seven units before. But I could be wrong.

Heather: So one, two and then four?

Michael: Yes.

Heather: Oh. Okay. And you get another one like that?

Michael: Yep.

Heather: Wow. Cool.

Michael: The good old redoubling rule.

Heather: I have never seen that before.

Michael: I think the Morongo Casino in Palm Springs allows it.

Heather: That’s pretty cool. Does it give the player a big house edge? Or a big advantage?

Michael: Yes it helps by about .2%. So there is really only two configurable rules in Spanish 21. There is hit or stand on the soft 17, and I think everyone hits now, and the redoubling.

Heather: Same thing with blackjack, if you do a soft 17 you basically find that in the high limit area. You can’t find that out on the casino floor. You don’t see it anywhere.

Michael: Yeah. But you never Spanish 21 in the high limit room.

Heather: Yeah, no. Do you see any carnival in the high limit room? Or is it the basics?

Michael: Just the basics.

Heather: Blackjack, roulette. I don’t even think they have Pai Gow in there. I think it is Mini Baccarat or Big Baccarat. So blackjack, roulette, mini baccarat, big baccarat.

Michael: Yep. Roulette.

Heather: Let’s see what you guys are saying in the chat.

Q: Eric read that neither side matters on the foil.

Heather: That is good to know.

Michael: Good to know, thank you.

Q: When you have 2 seven spades in Spanish 21 do you hit it no matter what the dealer shows? A:

Michael: Are you talking about that super bonus?

Heather: I think he is talking about the super bonus. Are you talking about the super bonus? We will come back to that.

Michael: There is a big bonus like a thousand dollars…okay this is coming back to me. I think there is a thousand dollar bonus if you get three sevens of spades. It’s a flat thousand dollars. It doesn’t matter what your original bet was. But there are some situations where you really want to split those sevens.

Say you have two sevens against a five. I think that it depends on how big your bet is. If you should deviate from the basic strategy and hit that as opposed to splitting it hoping for that super bonus.

Heather: Okay.

Michael: I know I addressed this like 15 years ago on my website.

Heather: Okay so go on the website and check it out.

Michael: It might be hard to find but I know I thought about this a long time ago.

Q: In California we had ten Spanish 21 tables, very popular over there. Not very popular over here. They double everything. Your second double is twice the amount of the first one. So you were right about that. And a thousand dollar bonus for under $25 and five thousand for $25 and over.

A: Michael: Yes! Thank you!

Heather: Thank you! Appreciate it.

Q: Dan doesn’t use aluminum in his cooking. No aluminum.

Michael: Is that out of reasons for health or more for cleanup and preparation? I would be interested to know.

Heather: Yeah, let us know. Definitely.

Michael: Can you say aluminum.

Heather: No don’t do that! At least I can say nuclear.

Michael: Who was the one that couldn’t say that? Was it George W. Bush?

Heather: Yeah that was Bush.

Michael: Can you say eleven benevolent elephants?

Heather: Eleven benevolent elephants.

Michael: Very good. Can you say it five times fast?

Heather: eleven benevolent elephants, eleven benevolent elephants, eleven benevolent elephants, blah… Shit!

No I can’t.

Michael: You owe a dollar for profanity.

Heather: Oh I forgot.

Michael: Remember that audience. Heather owes a dollar to the profanity pool.

Heather: I am not allowed to swear any more. I swear too much. I do though. I am like a sailor.

Michael: You agree to that rule? That applies to me too.

Heather: Well you never swear.

Michael: Once in a blue moon I might.

Heather: I need a dollar for something else. Let’s say if we are out in a social situation and you talk about math.

Michael: I can’t apologize for that. That’s who I am.

Heather: Well same with swearing with me, that’s sorta who I am.

Michael: Well you can say I don’t agree with that rule, Mike that is part of my personality and I refuse to stop. I accept that.

Heather: What you said. What he said.

Michael: Okay. Alright. So keep on swearing.

Heather: Okay let’s see what else you guys are saying in here.

Q: Aluminum is fine as long as you don’t put it in the microwave. A:

Michael: Okay. Yeah I did that once. There was like a lightning storm in there.

Heather: Yes. So a couple weeks ago I got Chipotle. I ate only half of it and I don’t know why but I kept my fork in the bowl and covered the bowl. When I went to go eat the Chipotle later on, I didn’t have the aluminum foil cover on there it was like a plate on there. I just took everything out and put it in the microwave and walked away. I put it in for like 30 seconds, and I came back after hearing some noise and I was like what the heck? I took it out and opened it up and the fork was right there. I was like oh no, not a good thing to do.

Michael: Well what was the fork made of?

Heather: Whatever you are not supposed to put in the microwave.

Michael: So it was one of your own forks?

Heather: Yes.

Michael: Oh ok.

Heather: It wasn’t like a plastic fork.

Michael: It was a metal fork. Now that I think of it, the incident where I was having a lighting storm in my microwave was when I was reheating Chinese takeout with those little paper boxes with the metal handle.

Heather: Yep, and you just threw it isn't there?

Michael: Yep I just threw it in there. I don’t even stop to think that the handle was made of metal.

Heather: Yep and then it’s like later you are like oh man! Why did I do that?

Michael: The microwave functioned just fine after that.

Heather: Yes thank goodness. Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to eat.

We are going to be heading over to your channel in a few minutes. If you have some time come with us over to Michael Shackleford’s YouTube channel, The Odds Must Be Crazy.

Michael: Thanks for having me Heather.

Heather: Thanks so much for joining us. Really appreciate it.

Michael: My pleasure.

Heather: We will see you next time!

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