Soft Double Mistakes..."Rule of Nine"
  • "Rule of Nine"....worth the cost of the book "Blackjack Bluebook II" that was recommended by a poster on this site.

    "Rule of Nine"....add the dealer's upcard to the card next to your Ace, and if they total 9 or more...DOUBLE.

    Best, Jim
  • Yes, but one tiny exception: Your A,4 versus dealer 4.............
  • Thanks for reminding me Ray....I almost forgot. Anything else you want to add?

    Enjoy your day,

  • A4 vs 4 is a double, guys.
  • jimpenn- Nothing else to add...Other than I should have said more to
    explain the exception to a very good rule. As one Mr Grif observed...
  • A2, A3 Vs 5,6......also
  • The only RO9 exception I know of is A7 vs 2. The right play depends on H17 or S17. Double on H17. As grifter says, my BS data has A4 vs 4 as double...

    The way I saw this rule posed was as follows:

    1. always double A2 - A7 against a 5-6.

    2. otherwise double if non-ace + dealer's upcard is 9 or higher, with the exception of A7 vs 2 that is double only on H17 games, although without looking at the numbers, I'd bet that it is a "close call" and doubling or not is not a big EV changer...
  • Doubles are an interesting part of Blackjack. Did you Know?

    There are 10-12 hands where you are favored over the dealer
    and you could double with the advantage.

    The problem with this is in the long term you win more by just hitting.

    But suppose we don't care about the long term. Say in a tourney:
    9 vs 2, 9 vs 7, A7 vs 2 are good examples.
  • Ray said:

    There are 10-12 hands where you are favored over the dealer and you could double with the advantage.......The problem with this is in the long term you win more by just hitting.

    Ray - I believe you mistaken on this, or I am missing something. I cannot think of a single (let alone 10-12) BS double where you win more by hitting in the long term.

    Perhaps you could give an example?

  • The doubles that I am talking about are not basic strategy doubles.
    They are hands like 9 vs 7 or A7 vs 2. These are not good BS doubles
    because you win more by hitting. However, If you didn't care about
    the long term it would be a different matter. The player has a tiny edge
    in the two examples given........................
  • I'm not following either...

    The point of doubling is that you will _certainly_ lose more often than if you just hit, because when you double you just get one more card, which often will leave you with a 11-12-13 (from a starting 9). But if you double, and you win at a rate that is less than 50% worse than when hitting, doubling your bet means you win more money, even though you lose more hands...

    So maybe I didn't understand what you meant, or maybe you said the same thing I just said and I didn't catch on...

    Now a tournament is a different animal, as it is often less about the correct play, as it is about getting more money on the table. If the max bet is $500, and you need $700 to clearly win the tournament (in the last round) then doubling most any hand might be required, to get enough money on the table to have a chance of winning.
  • The initial example given was for those situations where you
    may be playing in a tournament. This is why I referenced same.
    In a tournament the objective is quite different as we all know and
    playing correctly may be a secondary consideration.

    Lets take the case of A7 vs 2 (forget basic strategy because I said nothing
    about basic strategy)

    If we always hit that hand we will win more hands and $$$ than we lose over the long term because we are favored.

    Now if we double that hand we will still win more $$$ than we lose, but it
    will be less than hitting in the long term. But we are still favored, just less.

    In a tournament we don't care about the long term and must beat the
    other players using everything that we know about the game good or bad.

    From this less than perfect example, you can see why knowing about
    these hands may be to your advantage if you play in tournaments.

    All of the referenced doubles have an index if you CC, but that is not what
    we are talking about..............Nor is basic strategy
  • The initial post of this thread was about the Rule of Nine, and nothing about tournaments. Tournaments are a whole different kind of ball game. Let's don't even go there.

    Certainly your examples could be applicable for tourneys, but so would any two cards, up to and including doubling down with a blackjack.

  • Sorry I went off subject.......I'll try to do better next year...........
  • jimpenn said:
    "Rule of Nine"....worth the cost of the book "Blackjack Bluebook II" that was recommended by a poster on this site.

    "Rule of Nine"....add the dealer's upcard to the card next to your Ace, and if they total 9 or more...DOUBLE.

    Best, Jim

    so according to this rule, i should not be doubling A2 against a 4, 5, 6 ?
  • No. You do always double A-2 against 5-6. In fact,you double A2-A7 against 5/6 as a BS play. But after that, the RO9 is used, with the previously mentioned A7 vs 2 exception where you do not double unless it is a H17 game...
  • stainless steel rat said:
    No. You do always double A-2 against 5-6. In fact,you double A2-A7 against 5/6 as a BS play. But after that, the RO9 is used, with the previously mentioned A7 vs 2 exception where you do not double unless it is a H17 game...

    ok i see now. well in my opinion this rule is useless then. i thought it encompassed ALL instances where i should double a soft hand and excluded all instances when i should not.

    this is like if there was a rule saying, "if your hand totals less than 10, and the dealer shows a 10, then hit" well yea thats true, but you should also hit 12,13, 14, etc against a dealer 10.
  • No, these are the easy ones. Stand on the four and Double the 5 & 6. It's that low soft-hand doubling made easier to play. I guess you could hit the 4 if your in an agressive betting mood. Hell ya, never know when your going to get lucky.
  • I don't think about the choices myself. I've practiced and played them so often, I don't think about 'em. Another exception: A4 vs 4. Double. But the rule is not bad for things like A6 vs 3 and the like...
  • I also came across the "Rule of Nine". I checked it out because of the apparent simplicity.

    I also found an exception.

    Learning the BS might be the best rule?

    Any comments from the experts on this site about the "advanced basic strategies" proposed by this author?

    Also, I see no posts by the author in this thread about the "Rule of nine"?
  • Here is what happens. You play a while. It won't be long, particularly if you also practice a lot with software, before the "rule of 9" is not used. You will just know that A4 vs 4 is double, A3 vs 6 is double, A7 vs 3 is double, etc. The "rule of 9" is just a crutch to get you started.

    The main thing is to be sure you practice correctly. Playing online or against "toy games" won't cut it. You will get a play wrong, practice it over and over, and make the wrong play every time. CVBJ is a good tool since in addition to playing and counting, it also watches your BS play like a hawk and won't let you get away with any mistakes. After you play an hour, you can check your playing errors (it maintains a table showing which hands you mis-played) and bone up on BS for those mistakes to eliminate them. Before long you can play for 10 hours (spread over multiple nights of course) without a single BS error...
  • The "Rule of 9" was intended to make correct soft doubling easier to recognize by that vast majority of players who bungle their potential soft doubling hands (A/2 thru A/7). On page 69, it reads as follows:

    A) Never soft double against a deuce.
    B) Always soft double against a 5 or 6.
    C) Against a 3 or 4 up, follow the "Rule of 9".

    Then comes a visual hand illustration depicting two hands, an A/5 and an A/6 against a 3 up. With the A/5, you should add your 5 to the dealer's 3. Since it totals less than 9, you should just hit. With the A/6, add your 6 to the dealer's 3. Since it totals at least 9, you should double.

    Guidelines A, B and C will get the average ploppy to play 17 of his 18 soft doubles correctly. The Rule of 9 misses only the A/4 against a 4. It comes up once every 1100 (shoe) to 1400 (single deck) hands and costs you .004% (shoe) to .024% (single deck) when you misplay it -- thereby taking .0004% to .002% off your overall game. Now, if you can learn the rule of 9 and remember to double A/4 against a 4, you'll have everything right.
    The people I've taught have found that a lot easier than memorizing those zig-zag soft doubling steps in a basic strategy chart.

    Incidentally, doubling with A/7 vs. 2 is correct only if the game is both shoe AND H17. Then doubling gains .003% over hitting the one time in 1100 you're dealt it.

    Fred Renzey
  • "Rule of 9" misses too many doubling situations. (e.g. A2v5, A2v6, A3v5, A4v4) and suggests you double on A7v2 (a small error, but it's better to stand) Maybe you should call it the "Starting point of 9" or "Guideline of 9". What works for me is a simple visual picture and some logic:

    A2 HHHDD
    A3 HHHDD
    A4 HHDDD
    A5 HHDDD
    A6 HDDDD
    A7 SDDDD

    The D's look like a triangle (just like RO9!!). Note that A4 starts at 4.

    Just repeat the mantra:

    Here's the logic:

    Only double A2 and A3 when the dealer has the worst up-cards: 5 and 6. This is because you wnt to take a 4th card if you get A,2,3 (and 4 with A2). Don't give up the chance at this 4th card unless the dealer has a really crappy card.

    With A6 and A7, the potential 4th card is virtually worthless, so double unless the dealer has the "dealer's Ace", i.e a 2.

    With A4 and A5, the potential 4th card is not really that valuable, so you can double against 4, as well. (OR, Don't double against a 2 or 3 because if you end up with a hard 12, you'd like to hit.)

    What's funny is that here's the order of value for the soft hands:
    A7 (obviously), A2, A3, A6, A4, A5. A2 and A3 are BETTER than A6! A2 is the best soft doubling hand (besides A7) - and that's the hand where you double the LEAST! It just shows you how valuable that 4th card can be!

    Remember, if doubling is not an option we ALWAYS hit A6 or lower. (We also hit hard 12v2&3) That's why we LIKE it when the dealer stands on Soft 17 and HATE it when the dealer hits Soft 17.

    Finally, if doubling is not an option, remember to stand on A7 (vs. 2-8).
  • let's do a refresher...

    A2-7 vs 5-6: always double
    A4 vs 4: always double
    A7 vs 2: Double in H17, stand in S17 games
    AX vs Y, where Y is 2-6, double if X+Y >= 9

    hope that helps...

    Of course those are BS double rules. If you count, and start to add more playing indices for BS departures, then this will change as you will tend to double less when the count is negative, double more when the count is +.
  • MR. ED & STAINLESS -- Note that the Rule of 9 applies only to a dealer's 3 or 4 up!
    When you have A/2 thru A/7:
    Never double against a deuce
    Always double against a 5 or 6
    Against a 3 or 4 up, follow the Rule of 9

    That misses one hand -- A/4 vs. 4. Remember that hand and you've got them all.

  • Going thru the logic of the rule of "9" will teach you all of the soft DD's.
    That's the real value. After 3-4 trips to the casino you want need it.
    otherwise, try the track or sports betting,etc
  • Sorry guys -- just noticed a typo in a previous post regarding doubling in H17 shoe games with A/7 vs. 2. Doubling gains .003% over STANDING -- not over HITTING.

  • Fred:

    1. Nothing like having polite authors to answer questions without ego issues. :) Thanks for that.

    2. I had seen the "rule of 9" but had never seen it mentioned that it was for 4/5 up only. For example, A6 vs 3 fits the rule just fine, as does A7 vs 2 in a H17 game.

    But in any case, I think the point is that this is where you start. Once you play enough, and practice enough, you handle these hands without thinking at all. Otherwise it is easy to reach the "cortex overload point" and screw up counting or something. I've noticed that in doing very fast playing sessions vs the computer, I think "hit" or "stand" on hard hands without even knowing my total. In a real game I don't play like that of course as I want to make sure that the dealer can count and pay off when I win, but it is amazing what the human mind can learn to do given enough pressure.

    My favorite practice drill is to use CVBJ and play heads up, about 600 rounds per hour, counting, doing TC conversion (I am one of the hi-lo die-hards), varying my bets, using BS departures, etc. When you can do that for an hour and not make a mistake, the casino seems like a lazy float ride down the river, after making a mad 80mph run through a stump-infested lake. :)

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