Blackjack Player’s Guide to Idiot Camouflage

.Player’s Guide to Idiot Camouflage

by Michael Dalton
 Copyright 1997 – 2019
Originally published in the Summer 1997 issue of Blackjack Review

This article originally started out (in the 1990s) as an Internet discussion group topic called “What New (Blackjack) Players Do.”  I would like to thank Grimy Fellow for posting the topic and Max Von Count, JW, Curious Amateur, BJ, Grinder, Slick, and Don Schlesinger for contributing items and ideas.

“…the less you ‘look’ like a counter the longer your play will be welcome.”

The point of this topic was to come up with ideas to improve a card counter’s cover at the table.  When you get to a comfortable level of proficiency in card counting you often forget that your play may be monitored.  The last thing you want is for a casino to suspect that you are good enough to beat its game simply because you act and look like a good player.   Although it is almost impossible to count cards indefinitely without being detected the less you “look” like a counter the longer your play will be welcome.

Obviously, not all of the plays below can be incorporated in a player’s camouflage repertoire but many of them can with little or no loss in expectation:

    • Making a few (or a lot) of playing errors. (This can get costly – See update below!)
    • Over-tipping or just tipping in general. (This can get costly – See update below!)
    • Telling the dealer you want to double down when you really want to split a pair. (You don’t want to do this with a pair of 5s.)
    • Having consultations with friends or other players about how to play your hand.
    • Putting an insurance bet out equal to your first bet.
    • Doubling down by betting twice the amount of your first bet.
    • Going WILD over winning a $5 hand! (Or at least getting overly excited when you get a blackjack — even with a small bet.)
    • Referring to a basic strategy card. (usually a bad one)
    • Doubling down for less. (usually because they have run out of money)
    • Placing medium to big bets off the top of the deck or shoe. (This can get costly – See update below!)
    • Pressing your bets when you win.
    • Chasing your losses.
    • Always (or usually) taking even money. (This can get costly – See update below!)
    • Running over to the slots for one lucky pull.
    • Attempting to shake the dealer’s hand.
    • Drinking too much while playing. (You can act can’t you?)
    • Splitting tens. (I’d be careful about this one!)
    • Trying to “hand” the dealer cash when you want chips.
    • Having a cup full of slot tokens on the table.
    • Touching the cards to split them in a face up game. (a definite no-no!).
    • Placing money on “top” of your original bet when doubling down. (You can only get away with this once per casino!)
    • Asking what insurance is “after” the dealer asks “Insurance anyone?”
    • Asking what surrender is. (if sign mentions surrender is available).
    • Asking if there is a bonus for a 5-card 21.
    • Asking if the dealer wins ties.
    • Not paying attention to the game when distracted by the cocktail waitress, friends, or by the noise of someone who just won a slot jackpot.
    • Getting upset when third base takes the dealer’s bust card. (An indication that a player is not really new to the game, however, is superstitious.)
    • Stacking chips in the betting circle in no apparent order (e.g., green on top, red on bottom, etc.)
    • Not using hand signals or incorrectly using hand signals.
    • Not using correct terminology at the table. (Like bust, hit, stand, felt, insurance, tokes)
    • Taking too much time to play a hand.

Here are a few “new player” habits that are applicable only in hand-held games:

    • Picking up the cards with two hands.
    • Leaning too far back with the cards, thereby removing them from above the felt — a definite no-no!
    • Failing to tuck your original cards under your bet, in the circle, when you stand. (The usual move is to simply drop the cards in front of your pile of chips, thus annoying the hell out of the dealer who has to pick them up and give instructions on “tucking”!)
    • Failing to turn over your blackjacks.
    • Turning over your cards when you hit to 21. (thinking that this is the same as a natural)
    • Bending the cards when you look at them.
    • Peeking under the cards as if it were a poker hand.

Once again, be aware that some of the above plays may not be suitable or cost effective as cover.  You obviously don’t want to over-tip the dealer and you obviously don’t want to make costly playing errors.  But not all playing errors are costly!   A good source of information on this topic is Don Schlesinger’s article entitled “How ‘Dumb’ Can You Afford to Appear?” in the September 1993 issue of Blackjack Forum.   One of the conclusions of this article was that appearing very “dumb” at the outset of play may remove any potential heat after just a few hours.  Schlesinger wrote “Pit bosses often formulate ‘first impressions’ that last for the duration of the tripSo you might not have to continue to make ‘mistakes’ all the way through.”  Schlesinger presents charts of every basic strategy play possible with hand frequencies and conditional and absolute penalties for deviating from basic strategy.   According to Schlesinger study, of the 254 plays on the chart almost 100 of them carry penalties of less than one cent per $100.

In the 1990s, I integrated many of the above ideas, including an occasional playing error from time to time,  into my overall blackjack strategy.   If you want a long playing career, you should give the above ideas serious consideration!  Good luck!

Yield2019 UPDATE:  Playing errors can be costly!  I no longer recommend making playing errors for the sake of camouflage.  Most pit personnel probably won’t even know a “playing error” from an appropriate card counter’s “play deviation” anyway.  Oh…. and be careful with tipping!  If you tip at all, I suggest tipping at the “end” of a session only, which also suggests that you only tip if you won.

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What Does Playing Blackjack Have in Common with Playing Football?

Playing Blackjack in a CasinoBy Robert Bell

It isn’t entirely unknown for a football player to become a professional card player when they retire from the game. Evan Mathis, Calais Campbell, and Antoine Winfield are a few of the former players who started playing poker seriously.

There are fewer obvious examples of NFL players turning to blackjack. Yet, there are some very good reasons why they could find plenty of similarities between the games.  

Ability to Memorize Plays

One of the things that most impress some sports fans is how football players can remember so many complicated plays. It isn’t just about remembering the plays, though. They also need to recall them instantly in the heat of the moment and in a highly pressurized situation.

Of course, something similar occurs at the blackjack table. When your hand is dealt, you need to instantly decide whether to hit or stand. If you can memorize all of the different possibilities and recall them during the game, then you have a far greater chance of winning regularly.

Determination to Win

Everyone who reaches a good level in a sport as demanding as football has to show an intense will to win. There is simply no way to achieve success in this game without having the determination to keep going even when the odds are stacked against you.

Blackjack may seem like a laid-back game to outsiders. However, the best players have that same, fierce desire to win every hand. They will also feel bitterly disappointed with themselves if they make a mistake that causes them to lose.

Football Fans Can Play Blackjack Too

It isn’t just the guys out on the field who have got an advantage when it comes to playing blackjack. Just by watching NFL games, you could be picking up some valuable tips that help you at the card table later on.

For instance, if you work out the best football odds to place a bet then you are used to considering the possibilities of different outcomes and how much to wager on them. You will also be used to mentally working out figures quickly and accurately. All of this can really help when you play blackjack.

High Level of Self-Control and Discipline

Football players need to take care of their bodies if they are going to enjoy a long, successful career at the top of the sport. Young athletes who gain a football scholarship in the USA can expect to practice with their team for up to 30 hours each week. Away from the action, they need to live as healthy a life as possible.

Blackjack players also need to put in the hours to learn the game. Once the cards are dealt, they will need to show self-control and discipline in order to stick to their game plan even when something unexpected happens.  

Knowing When to Take Risks

If we look at some of the greatest plays in the history of football, some of them involved taking risks. Often, when a team is trailing and time is short, something out of the ordinary is called for. However, a great player knows when to take a risk and when to stick to the plan.

Equally, a lot of blackjack playing is about sticking to a pre-planned strategy. Yet, there may be times when an experienced card player realizes that it is worth taking a risk for the chance of the rewards it could bring.

To sum up, while they look very different at first glance, it is clear that there are some interesting similarities between football and blackjack. Perhaps it is the ideal combination of games for certain people, since they both involve wise techniques and approaches.

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Blackjack Side Bets

by Simon Beasor 

For many players, the attraction of blackjack is the simplicity of the rules and the bets placed.  However, for some, these are a big disadvantage of the game. Some players are not satisfied with the even money game and want a little more excitement, and potential profit, from their game play.  This is why many casinos now offer blackjack side bets to enhance the action and add some variety to the game play. 

Blackjack side bets, such as insurance, are often shown on the table
Blackjack side bets, such as insurance, are often shown on the table

Blackjack has been played for centuries, with the first mention of ‘trente-un’ appearing as early as 1440. Players back then could never imagine how competitive the world of casinos, both brick-and-mortar and online versions, would one day become. Blackjack side bets are a way for casinos to attract new players with new ways to win at the oldest of card games.

What is a blackjack side bet?

These bets are predictions based on the initial cards dealt to the player and the dealer. They have nothing to do with the main game, and there is no skill or strategy involved, although it is theoretically possible to count cards to make your predictions more accurate. For most players, however, it is simply a matter of guessing which cards will be dealt.

Blackjack side bets offer a far greater potential return than the main game, but they also come with a much higher casino edge. In the main Blackjack game, the bet pays even money, or 2:1, for a blackjack, with a casino edge of just 0.5%. Side bets, on the other hand, can pay anything up to 5000:1, but the casino edge is also significantly higher, often over 10%. So, while you may win more in the short term with side bets, over time you will inevitably lose.

Typical side bets

The side bets available will vary from casino to casino, but here are a few of the more common varieties of wagers.

  • Insurance – This side bet covers the player against the dealer making blackjack if their card on show is an ace. You bet half your stake, and it pays 2-1 if the dealer does indeed have a blackjack.
  • Perfect Pairs – This bet predicts that you will be dealt a pair with your first two cards.
    • 5-1 for a mixed pair of the same value
    • 12-1 for a matching color pair
    • 25-1 for a perfect pair of identical cards
Two red eights would pay 12-1 with a Perfect Pairs side bet
Two red eights would pay 12-1 with a Perfect Pairs side bet
  • 21+3 – This bet predicts the combination of all three upturned cards from the player and the dealer.
      • 5-1 for a non-consecutive flush
      • 10-1 for a non-suited straight
      • 30-1 for three of a kind
      • 40-1 for a straight flush
      • 100-1 for three identical cards
  • Over/under 13 – This bet predicts the total value of the player’s cards will be more or less than 13. It is an even money bet, with the house collecting all bets if the sum is exactly 13; however, some casinos take bets that pay around 6-1 for this outcome.
  • Royal match – This bet predicts the suited cards in the player’s hand and returns 25-1 for suited kings and queens and 5-2 for other suited cards.
  • Lucky ladies – This bet predicts that the total of the player’s cards will be 20. It pays 4-1 for an unsuited 20, 10-1 for a suited 20, 25-1 for a matched and suited 20 and 200-1 for two queens of hearts. This increases to 1000-1 if the dealer has a blackjack.
  • Super sevens – This bet predicts that the player will be dealt sevens and pays 3-1 for one seven, 50-1 for two mixed sevens, 100-1 for two suited sevens and 500-1 if the third card is also a seven. If all three sevens are the same suit, you will hit the jackpot with a 5000-1 payout. (Note—some casinos will not deal a third card if the dealer has a blackjack, so check their policy before placing this bet.)

A shot in the dark

At the end of the day, the cards you are dealt in blackjack are no more predictable than the final resting slot for the ball in roulette. This means that side bets are just as much down to chance as picking a number at random from 1-36.  But if you are after a little extra fun on the side of your serious blackjack strategy play, then they could be just what you are looking for.

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WHAT’S NEW (JUNE 2018 – JULY 2019)

What's NewLots of new stuff on the Blackjack Review Network. Check it out! Click on the NEW link to get the latest updates.

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Four Commonly Misplayed Blackjack Hands

By Alex Tester

In blackjack, a lot of players make some pretty significant mistakes. What might seem like a “common sense” play is actually a pretty serious misplay if you consider the odds.

Here are four commonly misplayed blackjack hands that you should avoid.

Taking insurance                  

While you might feel tempted to take an insurance offer when the dealer reveals an ace, you should resist the temptation. The logic behind this play is that there are four cards (10, J, Q, K) that will give the dealer blackjack. If the face-down card is one of these, you will be able to regain your original bet.

So why exactly is this a bad play? Well, the odds are actually in the dealer’s favor by a significant margin. If you choose this option, there is a much bigger chance that the dealer actually doesn’t have blackjack.

In this situation, you are much better off turning down the even money insurance bet. Instead, you should try for the 1.5x win.

6 of clubs5 of heartsNot doubling on 11 vs 10

If your dealer is showing they have a 10, there is a good chance they will also have another one in the face-down position. If you have an 11, the chances of getting a 20 or a 21 are significantly higher than the chance the dealer has a second face-down 10.

While you might think that doubling down when the dealer has 10 is a counter-intuitive strategy, according to comparison site CasinoGuide, you are actually playing to the odds. Let’s say you bet £10 and hit your 11. In this situation, you will win 56% of your hands according to the statistics. If you doubled your bet amount for £20, you will win this bet 54% of the time (remember that doubling means you only receive one more card, and then automatically stand).

Since there’s a small difference in these bets, it wouldn’t hurt to double your bet, as you’d get a significantly higher return for just 2% less of a chance of winning.

Jack of hearts6 of clubsStanding on a 16 vs 7

In this situation, drawing a small number such as a 2 or a 3 can significantly increase your chances of winning. You should always hit on a 16 when you are playing against a dealer with 7. You might get lucky and hit a low enough card to get you the win. This will improve your odds to the point that it should mitigate your losses over time.

The following is a good rule of thumb to follow: An 18 against a dealer’s 10 is somewhat better than a 16, whereas an 18 vs a dealer’s 7 is significantly stronger.

8 of clubs10 of spadesStanding on a soft 18 vs 10

While you might feel like an 18 is a hand you can’t improve on, this is not always the case. While an 18 may bring you a win more often than not, the odds are not necessarily in your favor.

For example, against a dealer’s 10, the odds are not on your side. If you were to stand on a soft 18 in this situation, over time, you would lose more hands than you would ever win.

This is also true if you were to hit, but you wouldn’t lose quite as much. This means you should be brave and give yourself the best chance of winning: always hit on that soft 18.

Practice, practice, practice

Being good at blackjack can take time. You need to have an acute understanding of the rules and you need to be able to estimate the odds on the fly. Or just use a blackjack strategy card.

A great way to practice and refine your strategy is to play online blackjack games at live dealer casinos that allow you to experience the fun atmosphere and face-to-face interaction of the game, within you own home. Away from the pressure of being in a real casino surrounded by experienced gamblers and impatient dealers, you can take the time to get comfortable with your own blackjack strategy.

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PRESS RELEASE: John Terry and BK8 Development

John Terry

It should be known by now that the Chelsea FC’s best captain, John Terry has agreed on a deal to be BK8.com’s brand ambassador. Besides that, John Terry has become BK8.com’s first ever brand ambassador. The deal and appointment were announced on February 2019 in Manila, Philippines.

John Terry appointment news has leaked out as soon as Entourage Sport & Entertainment, John Terry’s commercial agent has agreed to collaborate with Samson Sport Consultancy. 

In an interview upon his appointment as BK8.com’s brand ambassador, he said “I’m excited to begin this partnership with BK8.com! They share my great passion for football and I’m looking forward to playing a role in their many future plans to promote the brand to new and existing players throughout Asia.”

In the agreement, BK8.com will own the authority and rights to use John Terry’s image in all kinds of marketing campaigns and advertising platforms regarding BK8’s businesses all across Asia.

Throughout the past 3 months, John Terry has been a part of several BK8’s marketing campaign. For example, Chinese New Year Ang Pao campaign and BK8 Thailand Songkran campaign. It was proven that John Terry’s appointment has significantly helped BK8.com to grow its brand visibility. In the recent Songkran campaign that was targeted to regions in Thailand, BK8 Thailand has gained a great number of traffic to their site. We believe with the addition of John Terry, BK8 will have even more room to grow and develop as the best online casino in Asia.

John Terry is by far the best and most successful captain for Chelsea FC in the club’s history. He is leading every player in his position who have played for Chelsea FC in terms of titles achievement and also football stats. John Terry has led the Blues to accomplish amazing achievement by winning a UEFA Champions League title, 3 League Cups, 1 UEFA Europa League title and also 5 Barclays Premier League titles.

BK8.com is one of Asia’s biggest and most trusted online casino brand that have attracted millions of players to join and play. BK8.com also provides a number of Asia’s top Casino, Lotteries, Game brands and Sportsbook for its customers to choose and play in. Besides that, BK8’s customer service and support team will be available and online for 24 hours daily, to provide help and assistance.

How to Choose a Real-Money Blackjack Casino

by Julia Beyers

Blackjack CasinoIntroduction

We have designed this ultimate guide for all blackjack lovers looking for trusted online websites to play this game for real money. It’s a difficult task to find the best one, so read through the following information to learn the basics of blackjack, and get valuable tips on choosing the casino of your dreams. We will also provide you with some of the most reliable casinos that we found on AllHighRollerCasinos.Com. So, sit back, relax, and let’s go!

The industry of online gambling is wide-reaching as it slowly yet effectively attracts more players from land based casinos. There are thousands of websites which offer various games from all-liked shiny slots to skill-demanding poker to luck-driven lotteries. Online casinos attract millions of users all over the world because of great convenience and comfort. Online players can enjoy favorite games without spending their bucks on trips to Las Vegas or Macau.

To understand the industry scale, let’s check the comprehensive study by Financial Times, which reveals intriguing data. According to it, there were 51% of the UK gamblers, who accessed casinos via mobile phones and tablets in 2018. At the same time, the UK Gambling Commission revealed that it had issued 888 licenses for online operators. And it’s only one country out of 193 UN members!

Things will look even brighter for web-based casinos, Juniper Research claims. In its recent report, the team predicts that there will be 61 million online gamblers who will bring casinos more than $1 trillion revenue in 2022. Without doubt, a solid portion of this money will come from blackjack tables.

Blackjack 101

Let’s start with the very basics. This section will be especially useful for newcomers who don’t know how to play blackjack or want to discover something new. Further, we want to guide you through the major rules of traditional blackjack versions and reveal some extra game variations available at online casino websites. It’s obvious that basic rules are similar for both brick and mortar and web-based gambling facilities but additional options may vary, so pay attention to games you choose. Without further ado, welcome the blackjack 101 course!

Key Blackjack Rules

Blackjack is a card game where gamblers confront a dealer. Basically, all players and a dealer blackjack get cards from the common deck (there can be from 1 to 8 combined decks), calculate their scores, and compare them. The main objective here is to get the total value of as close to 21 as possible. Hands with 21 always win, though you always lose if you exceed this amount. The game combines 50% of luck with 50% of strategy and math.

Ultimately, the classic version features three stages. During the first one, participants wager money, then they receive two cards each, and define scores. Gamblers can see only their hand cards and one dealer’s card while others are hidden. Finally, each player can make a move: to hit (take a card), to stand (do nothing), to double (double the bet and take one extra card), to split (separate cards to create two hands) or to surrender (return half of the bet and end the game). Knowing these rules is enough to start gambling, but we will cover more hints and strategies later.

Remember also the rules related to cards’ values:

● Aces can cost either 1 or 11 points depending on other cards
● All face cards cost 10 points
● Number cards cost as much as indicated on them

If you want to know more about specifics of blackjack casino games, check the related articles in Wikipedia or Dalton’s Encyclopedia of Blackjack. This huge encyclopedia covers everything from the origins of the described game to the least known exotic variations.

The Game’s Versions

Gambling websites list different variations of blackjack to meet the demands of different users. Some of them stem from the early brick and mortar casino offerings, while others are modern inventions. Usually, you will find from 2 to 10 versions on a single website. Below are the most popular ones (we mention only variations from the classic version). Note that the mentioned types are also available as live dealer games.

21 Caribbean

Aces count as 1 only, and the winning hand is slightly different as you have to build a three-card combo with an ace and two 10-valued cards.

21 Face Up / Double Exposure

In this variant, both of the dealer’s cards are exposed to gamblers. Some exotic versions require that all participants show their cards, as well.

21 Match Play

This game is played without 10-valued cards. Instead, you can make use of several bonus hands which vary across casinos.

21 Spanish

In addition to removing 10s, this variant has extra rules:
● Gamblers can surrender anytime
● Gamblers can surrender after double down
● Gamblers can increase bets at any hands
● Gambler’s 21 beats the dealer’s 21

21 Super Fun

Here, the player’s 21-valued hand also beats the dealer’s one. Plus, participants can split hands 4 times – the hand with 6 cards and the total value of 20 win automatically.

Five Hand

As the name suggests, this variation lets you have five hands simultaneously, instead of only one. Be aware that it’s a pretty challenging game though!

Free Bet

All bets placed during splitting or doubling down are protected. It means, you don’t have to wager additional money for these actions, but in the case of a win, you will get a double prize. However, the dealer’s 22-valued hand pushes all other hands except 21s here.

Perfect Pairs

This one introduces extra side bets. You can wager on getting a mixed pair (just numbers), a colored pair (numbers and colors) or a perfect pair (numbers and suits).

Single Deck

Obviously, the game features only one deck of 52 cards. It’s easier to count them and the game itself is more profitable as it has the lowest edge among all versions.

Switch

In Blackjack Switch, players get two hands and can exchange two upper cards within them freely. Similarly to Free Bet, the dealer’s 22 push other combos except for blackjacks.

Suggestions for Beginners

Extending our introductory section, we would like to give some general hints to newbie online gamblers. If you are a seasoned punter, feel free to skip this part and proceed to advanced strategies.

The very first hint is simple: don’t play for money if it’s your first blackjack run. There are hundreds of casinos which offer demo plays with virtual tokens, so try them to get the idea. Learn about the rules, terms, strategies, and features.

House edge is probably the most essential concept to be aware of. It defines how much money the casino gets from each bet on average. For instance, the game with a 5% edge means that the website wins $5 from each $100 bet. Despite the number is rounded and each particular bet can bring different return to a casino, we recommend choosing projects with the lowest edge to guarantee the maximum potential profit for you.

Check some of the blackjack features and how they affect payouts:

Extra splits. If you can split the already divided hands, you will decrease the house winnings.
A number of decks. The fewer of them are used, the lower the casino return will be.
Payouts. The 3:2 scheme is a safer choice, because 6:5 or even 1:1 options increase the edge.
Split aces. This one also boosts your revenue and reduces the casino’s one.
Surrender. This feature increases your payout significantly.

At the end of the day, choose games with a few decks, options for splitting aces and surrender. Combined, these features can increase your odds by a few percent. Respectively, avoid unfavorable payouts, side bets, and exotic rules, especially if you haven’t mastered the game yet.

Advanced Tips and Tricks

Now, it’s time to look at more advanced blackjack strategy types. Undoubtedly, they will be useful for newcomers and experienced players alike, so we suggest that you check them carefully.
As was mentioned above, blackjack results depend on both luck and skill. You can’t control luck, but you can still improve skills. By mastering blackjack in land-based or Internet casinos, newbie gamblers evolve into real professionals. Still, mindless plays are destructive.

If you want to figure out when it’s better to hit and when – to surrender, explore the next sections.

Hands’ Types

Put simply, there are two categories of card combinations:

Hard hand. Generally, any pair of cards without an ace. Hard hands with aces occur only when these cards are counted as 1.
Soft hand. A combo of an ace and any other card. In this case, an ace can be counted as 1 or 11, so soft hands are more flexible than hard ones.

You can choose various strategic moves, which we will reveal a bit later. For instance, soft 19s and 20s require standing almost all the time. It’s better to receive a soft hand because you have more options with it but hard alternatives can also be beneficial as they have related moves, too.

Cheat Sheets

Experienced blackjack players know that there are cool things called cheat sheets. They highlight how you should move under a specific scenario. You can find multiple guides for different game versions but the structure is always the same. While cheat sheets are intuitive, we have prepared some instructions on how to read them.

In any cheat sheet, you will see the “Dealer” title with numbers under it. This row represents the dealer’s visible card, where 10 also stands for face cards. You will also see “Your Hand” with all possible combinations. Pairs mean two-card combos, while single numbers show sums. At the intersection of the dealer’s cards and your scores, there are suggested moves which include standard hit, stand, double, split, and surrender, as well as extra points like surrender or hit, split after a split or hit, and so on. In general, you should just compare hands and do what the table says.

If used appropriately, cheat sheets can boost your game results significantly. For classic versions, they can reduce the house profit by 4-5%. That’s a lot.

General Strategies

Here, we don’t want to dive in too complicated mind games, so we will list four popular strategies. They work fine for real money games.

1. Wait for the dealer’s hit if he/she has 4, 5 or 6. The mentioned cards are pretty risky because they leave enough space for an extra hit. Most of the dealers with soft hands will attack trying to get close to 21. Note that you can double at this moment and earn more in the case of the dealer’s bust.
2. Split aces and 8s, but don’t split 10s. There are no exceptions. Always split aces and 8s because they are great basic cards for winning combos. Instead, never split 10s because they work better together. And of course, follow your gut feeling and look at the dealer’s cards.
3. Stand in the case of your own hard 17. With it, winning chances are relatively low as you are far enough from 21. Nevertheless, it’s not worth risking and grabbing extra card because math layouts aren’t in your favor.
4. Never insure. Some blackjack versions support the insurance feature. It allows participants to protect their bet if the dealer has an ace. If the house wins with 21, all insured bets will be returned. However, stats reveal that such outcomes are rare and you will only lose the price of insurance.

Plus, more strategic moves like Hi-Lo or Hi-Opt can be found in pro cheat sheets available on gambling websites.

Money Management

Another advanced hint is related to bets. First and foremost, play when you are sober, calm, and positive-focused. As you play for money, you should realize the risks and know what to do exactly. Such an approach can protect from dangerous addictions or significant losses during the gambling rush.

Also, try to develop a solid plan and stick to it. For example, set a money-loss limit to stop gambling after reaching it or take breaks regularly. You can also choose more complex strategies: betting schemes called Martingale, Fibonacci or Paroli but be warned that these strategies will not give you an advantage and can be dangerous to your bankroll if used to the extreme. Their efficiency isn’t proven but they may help if you need some guides.

Choosing the Best Blackjack Casino

Blackjack is a simple game and it can be mastered quickly with enough practice and proper strategic plans. The critical question related to online gambling for money is built around platforms to use. The market is now jam-packed with web-based and mobile casinos, so it’s difficult to find the most suitable one or, at least, a reliable one. Remember about these three primary indicators and you will be able to spot the best online casinos.

Licenses

Read, reread, write down, bookmark, send to friends, print, and add to reminders the following info: you should gamble via licensed casinos only! It’s really important as gambling facilities without licenses or certificates can host rigged games and steal your money or credentials. Always check the footer of the main page or “About” section to find current licenses which are marks of trustworthiness.

Usually, famous casinos have certificates from:

● The United Kingdom
● Malta
● Gibraltar
● The Isle of Man
● Belgium
● Denmark
● Estonia
● Costa Rica
● Curacao

New Zealand
, Canada, the United States, and South Africa also have local commissions so you should check their rules.

In addition, there’s a global organization called eCOGRA. It issues certificates, which prove that the games and RNGs are unrigged. The combination of a national license and an eCOGRA paper is a solid proof of reliability.

Software

The second thing you should consider relates to games. The chosen casino has to list at least one variation of blackjack with certain platform compatibility. Usually, there are three options:

1. Desktop. Install the casino’s client with a set of games to enjoy them from PC.
2. Instant play. Access games directly using Flash, Java or HTML5.
3. Mobile. Get games downloaded on your phone/tablet.

Make sure to choose the best gameplay mode. Also, pay attention to the types of games as not all casinos list the same versions, so you can be disappointed with the lack of your favourite Switch or 21 Spanish. Finally, check the quality of software to know that blackjack rooms are stable and you will not face a painful disconnect at the pure 21.

Banking Methods

Last but not least, if you want to play real money games, you need to know how deposits and withdrawals work. These options vary across countries and casinos, so check the allowed money systems on official gambling websites. The most popular ones are:

● Bank cards
● Global transfers via the likes of American Express
● E-wallets
● Cheques
● Cryptocurrency

For different banking methods, casinos set different deposit/withdrawal limits – per transaction, per day, per month, etc. Be ready to pay fees, which also vary with the chosen method. Usually, the fastest options feature the highest fees and vice versa.

Insights into Blackjack Bonuses

Bonuses are a convenient tool, which casinos utilize to attract players. For example, you can multiply money with the deposit bonus, and get some free cash or free entries to tournaments. At first, it seems that bonuses are great for newcomers, who don’t have enough money to play big. Let’s say, you can deposit $50 and get a 100% bonus with an extra $50 for free. Some sites even reward new users with totally free money.

Still, all bonuses have a catch called ‘rollover’. After agreeing to the offer, you will have to bet significantly more money to be able to complete a withdrawal. Thus, the mentioned free $50 with a 40x rollover would require that you wager $2,000 before cashing out. Moreover, blackjack has a low edge, so casinos impose even stricter requirements.

We recommend checking the bonus privacy policy and the terms & conditions on the official sites.

Examples of the Leading Casinos

Finally, we are ready to introduce the best places to gamble online in 2019 where you can enjoy real money blackjack. The section is divided into two parts dedicated to desktop casinos and mobile applications. You might have already heard about one of the most popular blackjack casinos – Bovada Casino. If you are a newbie, it is worth checking it first. Here, we will list other big brands and give some characteristics.

Top-Rated Online Websites

Without further ado, enjoy the list of trusted casinos for desktops! They provide both classic and live blackjack games.

1. Betway Casino

A number of blackjack games: 68.
Maximum starting bonus: $1,300.

2. Jackpot City

A number of blackjack games: 31.
Maximum starting bonus: $1,600.

3. King Billy

A number of blackjack games: 56.
Maximum starting bonus: $1,130 + 200 free spins.

4. Mr Green Casino

A number of blackjack games: 13.
Maximum starting bonus: $115 + 200 free spins.

5. TonyBet Casino

A number of blackjack games: 49.
Maximum starting bonus: $10 without a deposit.

Mobile Applications

Additionally, you may be interested in mobile blackjack apps, so check them now! Some of these projects offer sports betting, too.

1. 888 Casino

A number of blackjack games: 5.
Maximum starting bonus: $100 without a deposit.

2. Casino.com

A number of blackjack games: 15.
Maximum starting bonus: $400 + 200 free spins.

3. LeoVegas

A number of blackjack games: 26.
Maximum starting bonus: $800.

4. Royal Panda

A number of blackjack games: 5.
Maximum starting bonus: $115 + 10 free spins.

5. William Hill Casino

A number of blackjack games: 14.
Maximum starting bonus: $400.

Running Your First Game

After you have chosen the best casino for online blackjack, you can actually start playing. Good research will point you towards reputable online gambling platforms with quality games, so make sure that you have spent enough time on it. Here’s a quick reminder on the key steps for running your first game.

Register and Set Preferences

Find a tab called “Register” or “Create Profile” to become a new user. Enter contact information in the required fields, set banking methods, and check available bonuses. During this step, check the data several times because typos may lead to issues with withdrawals later. If possible, turn on 2FA to increase safety and be sure that your account is protected.

Deposit Money

Unless the casino has provided free money as a bonus, you will have to deposit some money to start playing. Go to your profile and find a section dedicated to transfers or deposits. Here, you can link bank cards/accounts or wallets, set permissions, and perform first transactions. Extra confirmations for money deals are desired, too.

Choose the Game

To start playing blackjack, simply find this game on the website. Check which types are available and which ones are your favorites. Normally, blackjack rooms are located in “Card Games” or “Table Games” category where you will find various versions from Classic Blackjack to multiple 21 variations.

Get Winnings

Ideally, you will end up with some winnings. While it’s possible to leave the money in your casino account and continue playing blackjack, a lot of gamblers prefer to cash out a certain portion. For this, return to your profile and open the tab with money transfers. If previously connected banking methods support withdrawals, just make a transaction. Otherwise, you will need to add another option for cash-outs exclusively.

Other Noteworthy Hint

Check some useful hints to succeed in blackjack games:

● Look at the dealer’s card to understand how to act.
● Avoid first seats as there you will have the least time for thinking.
● Start with small bets to check how the game is going today.
● Don’t analyze other players’ actions as you don’t compete with them.
● Set time and money limits to avoid huge losses.
● Never gamble when overwhelmed with emotions or drunk.

A Word About Responsible Gambling

For the final section, we have prepared some info related to responsible gambling and, particularly, responsible blackjack plays. Most likely, you already know that the gambling industry is full of scammers, fraudulent websites, and rigged games which allow underage gamblers and insolvent users. These casinos have spoiled the reputation of the whole industry, so we beg to avoid them.

Play via trusted websites or use reliable applications. Remember about social responsibility. Just think how difficult it is to earn real money online and how easily illegal gambling platforms can steal it! It doesn’t take a lot of time to check licenses and read users’ reviews, but it can protect you and your close ones from potential huge losses and even addiction. Consider gambling as a hobby to enjoy it without harm.

Conclusion

Phew! It’s a pretty comprehensive guide, isn’t it? Feel free to bookmark it and return later to reread major takeaways. Firstly, make sure that you know the rules and have enough experience to gamble for money online. Then, choose a reputable casino with licenses and suitable banking methods. Lastly, remember about bonuses, their requirements, and gambling algorithms. Following these simple rules, you will be able to enjoy blackjack and earn money without issues. Good luck!

BK8.com lands John Terry as their main ambassador

PRESS RELEASE:

February 15th 2019 announcement in Manila, BK8.com has named John Terry, English Premier League’s most successful club captains and Chelsea FC legend as the group’s first Brand Ambassador.

Manila, The Philippines: BK8.com, one of Asia’s biggest brands within the online gaming industry, secured the appointment of the English Premier League’s most successful club captains’ and Chelsea FC legend, John Terry, as the Group’s first Brand Ambassador.

The agreement grants BK8.com the exclusive marketing rights to John Terry as Brand Ambassador for all the Group’ s marketing campaigns and advertising platforms in which he will appear across its major businesses, throughout Asia.

The partnership with John Terry underpins BK8.com’s key values, reflecting its commitment and passion to grow the brand’s visibility to become the leading gaming destination for all Asian players.

John Terry said: “I am excited to begin this partnership with BK8.com! They share my great passion for football and I’m looking forward to playing a role in their many future plans to promote the brand to new and existing players throughout Asia.”

Mr. Lawrance Wayneson, General Manager of BK8.com, said: “We are delighted to welcome John Terry to BK8.com; a man who shares many of the same values with our brand and who is always looking for opportunities to reach greatness. One of the most influential and successful captains to compete at the highest level of club football, John Terry is a true sports icon who inspires fans worldwide to strive to reach the ultimate standards of excellence. John Terry will help engage our target audience in Asia and working with him as a brand ambassador is just one of the many exciting, upcoming projects BK8.com has planned for 2019!”

The agreement is a result of a collaboration between Samson Sport Consultancy and Entourage Sport & Entertainment, who are the commercial agents for John Terry.

John Terry was a strong, tenacious, commanding and physical defender and was known for his aggressive tackling, positioning, leadership and his ability to read the game. He is considered to be one of the greatest central defenders of his generation. Terry was named UEFA Club Defender of the Year in 2005, 2008 and 2009, PFA Players’ Player of the Year in 2005, and was included in the FIFA Pro World XI for five consecutive seasons, from 2005 to 2009. He was also named in the all-star squad for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, the only English player to make the team.

Terry is Chelsea’s most successful captain, having led them to five Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups, one UEFA Europa League and one UEFA Champions League title since 2004! He is one of only five players to have made over 500 appearances for Chelsea and is also the club’s all-time highest scoring defender.

About BK8.com

BK8.com is Asia’s largest online betting agency, which provides customers with access to Asia’s top Sportsbook, Casino, Lotteries and Games brands. BK8.com is Asia’s biggest online casino brand, attracting millions of players to join and play. As the official agent of major gambling brands, they provide a huge range of casino games which deliver a premium experience for each player, whether playing at home or via Smart phone enabling continuous access to fantastic promotions that are on offer. BK8.com offers the highest quality across its wide range of products and services. Their Member Service Support Team is available 24 hours, 7 days a week, to provide assistance.

For more information, visit our web pages online at https://www.BK8.com

YouTube: https://youtu.be/DOez2IS78U0

JTBK8.com

Single Play Promo and Free Play Chips

Bill Zender Newsletter – December 20, 2018

( Reprinted with permission )

Dear Friends and Business Associates,

I just want to take the time to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a Happy and Joyous New Year.  I’m sorry that I have been unable to conduct my usual consulting work, travel to different casino and provide them advice and answers to  table game problems, teach seminars on game protection and table game mathematics, and looking into and learning all the new techniques the “dark side” of casino gaming has been throwing at us in 2018.  As you all know, I have spent the last nine months (has it been that long?) helping to operate a Cardroom Casino in Northern California. Unfortunately, it has taken up a great amount of my time, and because of the situation, it appears that I will be in this same position at least until the summer/fall of 2019.  For now, take care and I wish you all a fun and very happy holiday season, and a pleasant and prosperous 2019.

Answers to Important Emails

EmailI like to publish questions I receive from various people who contact me and my answers that I believe would be, not only interesting, but enlightening to other people who subscribe to my eBlast list.  One major problem our industry has always had is the sharing of information regarding gaming mathematics and issues related to possible cheating and advantage play. I believe in maintaining a forum that is as open as possible where others in the industry can learn from various industry executives and managers regarding their questions and experiences.

Following are three emails I received over the past months.  When replying to the questions, there are some instances where I also mention attached backup articles, spreadsheets or charts.  If you happen to find the reply to a certain email appealing, and are interested in obtaining the additional material mentioned, feel free to contact me and ask for the specific article, spreadsheet, or chart.

In addition, I do honor your individual privacy.  I will omit the location and name of the individual asking the question, and will not use a question/reply if the person who asks the question wishes to keep it between the two of us.  Please send any table game related questions to [email protected].

Question:
I am wondering if some casino’s place comp restrictions on Video Poker players (Jacks or Better or Double–Double bonus machines)?

Note: Not really a table games question, but I do comment on comp restrictions in ETGs;

My Reply:
The short answer is yes they do.  A lot of video poker games operate off a low H/A%, usually less than 3%.  In most cases, each slot “point” represents a theoretical give back of 0.25%.  If you offer 5X points as a promotion, the give back is 1.25%.  If the video poker game is a 1% game or less (played perfect basic strategy), then you have eliminated your edge.  Of course this would require the player receiving 100% of their reinvestment return (cash, food, rooms, etc.), but you get the picture.  It’s not unusual to see casinos offer 8X or greater promotion days or periods. 
Another area to consider is electronic devices/games that involve a participation with the machine manufacturer.  You need to consider your “profit sharing” agreement before including that device in your standard point promotion.  Example; one major gaming corporation does not give players slot points for play on their ETG roulette machines.  The reason for this is that they have a high participation sharing percentage, and even though the roulette machine is subject to a 5.26% H/A% on all bets, if they apply their standard points reinvestment, they are upside down revenue potential.  Be sure to evaluate (or reevaluate) all participation devices and games.

Question:
I am the table games manager for a casino in Oklahoma. I have a couple of questions about one play only promo chips. The first question is how will having promo chips affect a tables hold %; let’s say the table usually holds X% but we then add promo chips, what is the expected change in hold % and how did you come up with this figure? The second question is how would you create a report showing how the promo chips are doing? If you can give me some directions on these questions it would help me out a lot, please remember that the promo chips are one play only no matter if the player wins or losses.
 
My Reply:
Great question. Single play Promo chips result in a loss to the chip tray of the table where they are played.  If you reduce the amount of chips in the tray, you lower your hold percentage.
 
The purpose for single play chip promotions is to bring players to the table to gamble.  The down side to this promotion will occur if the customers don’t stay at the table long enough for you to win back the cost of the chips.  The cost of the single play promo chip is approximately 48% of face value (based on a standard BJ game).  If you give a player a $10.00 single play (also known as “free play”) promo chip, it cost the casino (and the table tray) $4.80.  If the customer continues to play and bets $10 (on BJ), he will have to place an additional 37 wagers (at $10) before you will break even. In many cases, the marketing department has no idea of this cost and give the promo chips away like they are candy.
 
Note: In review of this person’s question, I noticed I forgot to answer his question 2 regarding how to create a report that shows the effect, positive or negative, regarding the single play promo chips usage. The answer; you need to compare the cost of the promo chips given away, in this case about 48% of face value, with the incremental revenue gain from the promotion.  You also need to add in any additional cost such as extra dealers to open more games, and personal to handle the promotion.  In many cases, the promotion is not structured correctly and/or closely monitored by management, and the cost exceed the increase in revenue generated by the promotion.  God bless the marketing department; however, a number of marketing personnel do not understand that the cost of this promotion is felt by the table games. When marketing creates a promotion Proforma (I hope they create a Proforma!), they usually don’t include the true cost of the promo chips.
 
Question:
I’ve recently heard that you advise operators to keep side bets on blackjack tables at $100 max or less.  I’m reaching out to question your reasoning behind that.  More specifically, in relation to the side bet offered at my property. We offer 21+3 side bets that pay 9 to 1.
 
Reply: 
There are a couple reasons for setting lower side bets limits:
 

  1. On multiple paying wagers, in this instance 9:1, you are open to large swings when players wager large amounts, and in most cases upper management does not understand when someone crushes a BJ game on a non-high limit table.  Keeping the limits low allows you to maintain the “grind” play.
     
  2. Side bets are sometimes exploitable when players are allowed to wager larger amounts.  For instance, the “Match the Dealer” side bet can be counted using a special count system, but no one attacks it when it is limited to a $25 maximum side bet.  The estimated hourly “card counting” return for an average paced game is under $3 per hour.  If someone were to raise the limit to $250, the side bet becomes much more attractive (just under $30 per hour).  I tell people, be careful when raising the side bet limits you don’t open up Pandora’s box.
 
On the opposite side of this equation, raising the side bet limit will increase your revenue potential from that side bet.  The only problem is that an overwhelming majority of side bet players wager in $5 to $10 maximum, and the side bets don’t really attract higher range players who usually are not interested in anything but wagering on the main game. Idea; maybe consider giving certain higher limit players a special limit on the side bets (if your regulations allow it).
 
If you want to raise the side bet limit, be sure you understand how the side bet can be beaten through advantage play beforehand (check www.apheat.net), and be sure upper management understands any possible win/loss volatility; explain the trade-off of short-term volatility for long-term revenue potential.  
 
Scheduled Seminars and Workshop

World Game Protection Conference March 2019 – Las Vegas

World Game Protection ConferenceDon’t forget the World Game Protection Conference, March 3-6, 2019 at the Tropicana Resort in Las Vegas.  I plan to conduct two 50 minute sessions; one on Electric Table Games, similar to last year, but with updated material, and a second 50 minute session which will be a “drill down” into Roulette and Craps.  It appears there are a couple of gambling jurisdictions that are including both roulette and craps to their State’s available table games for the first time.  This session will be interesting for both the “newbie” and the “long-term” veterans.  For more information, please go to: https://www.worldgameprotection.com/register/.
 
On the Move
I don’t have any additional jobs other than the one in northern California.  I will keep everyone informed when that changes.  Following is my obligations for the 2019 (so far):
 
February – 
World Game Protection Conference in Las Vegas Nevada 

Questions???
 
As mentioned previously in this eBlast, I’m always available to answer your questions. If you have any questions on gaming; don’t hesitate to contact me through email.  I answer close to a half dozen emails on gaming every day [email protected]
 
 
Cheers and good luck.
 
Bill Zender
Bill Zender and Associates
702-423-5734