The Many Faces of Blackjack: Exploring Its Evolution and Different Names

The Many Faces of BlackjackBy Ahsan Raza.

You might have heard people talk about blackjack but use different names for it. Blackjack is the widely agreed term to describe the game, but local vernacular and other things can impact the way people talk about it. “21” and other names are used around the world.

Understanding a bit about the evolution of blackjack and its European origins can also help to understand different naming conventions. On top of that, its appeal has led to numerous variations and adaptations, especially since blackjack evolved and went online.

History of Blackjack

Casino gamers know it today as blackjack, but the game is thought to have originated from various European card games, most notably the French game “Vingt-et-Un” (Twenty-One) and the Spanish game “Trente-un” (Thirty-One). Ideas in these games were pretty much the same, players tried to reach a total card value of 21 or as close to it as possible without exceeding it.

In the United States, they evolved into what we now recognize as blackjack. Historians think this is because there were some casinos offering promotions relating to people getting black “jack” cards in their hands. If the player’s hand consisted of an ace of spades and a black deck’s jack they may have been rewarded.

Blackjack continues to evolve now, online gaming has really changed a lot with new variations and just more people playing – the game is super accessible.

The 1990s were the first example of online blackjack but the 2000s saw more options, and eventually, digital changes like mobile gaming changed things once more. Cryptocurrency brought about another revolution that is being seen all over the world in casino gaming, and more are choosing to play blackjack with bitcoin online. Bitcoin is the world’s biggest crypto. People who use it know that security is top of the agenda, and cryptographic methods secure the data. Middlemen like banks and other organizations also get cut out of the transaction, and instead, a public ledger is used. Digital wallets also add further security checks for a lot of transactions. Bitcoin means quicker and cheaper movement of funds to the account which is why it’s been so widely used.

Why Blackjack Has So Many Names

You can imagine a time long before the internet when people passed on games in person, they may have added their own twist or even forgotten names. Blackjack’s numerous names stem from its international appeal and the variety of cultural influences that had an impact. Each region where it is played may have added a new name, sometimes just a variety for their language (of course). 21, pontoon, or other names often reflect the unique features of the local versions of the game.

You might think blackjack has enough terminology to learn without having to consider the names it is called around the world, and you’d probably be right!

Vingt-et-Un, meaning twenty-one, is one of the direct ancestors of blackjack, it may just be another name or it can have slight variations from the modern version of blackjack.

The UK calls it pontoon – Pontoon is a popular British version of blackjack with not many differences besides terminology, the rules of pontoon are pretty much the same.1)EDITOR NOTE: Pontoon and blackjack can be quite different depending on where it is played.  The main difference in Australia and Malaysia is that all the tens are removed from the deck(s), making pontoon similar to Spanish 21.

Different locations have other names for it, too. Veintiuna, meaning twenty-one in Spanish, is basically blackjack but historically might have had some rule variations. It is the Spanish version that greatly influenced the game’s evolution. In Italy, blackjack is sometimes referred to as Ventuno.

21 is probably the most popular of all of the things to call the game. People take things pretty literally! You’ll see the game called 21 in many parts of North America, this name is just based on the primary objective of the game and the winning score, so it is a straightforward way to refer to the game.

Blackjack has continued to evolve, especially with the growth of online casinos and digital gaming platforms so you might even see specific variations with their own names, but casinos use the term blackjack as it is so popular and widely understood (21 might be a close second).

Conclusion

300 years or more have passed since somebody, somewhere, had the idea of the game. Of course, in history, some people have got the rules wrong, misunderstood the name, or given their own slang name to the game since then. Travelers who see a lot of the world may have seen the game referred to as different things, it took hundreds of years of the game’s existing before blackjack even got its most popular name.

Casino games continue to change and evolve and blackjack isn’t just a game but a niche now. Cryptocurrencies are bringing more players and giving convenient ways to move funds around, and this historic game has modern audiences.

IMAGE CREDIT: Microsoft CoPilot

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Footnotes

Footnotes
1EDITOR NOTE: Pontoon and blackjack can be quite different depending on where it is played.  The main difference in Australia and Malaysia is that all the tens are removed from the deck(s), making pontoon similar to Spanish 21.

How to Choose the Best Blackjack Table to Play At

Jack of SpadesBy Sadie Smith.

Choosing the right table when playing blackjack makes the game more interesting and increases your chances of winning. Players can now choose between playing blackjack in person at traditional casinos or playing blackjack at online fiat or crypto casinos. Different tables have different rules, limits, and conditions; therefore, it is important to know what to look for so that you can increase your winning potential. For you to be able to choose the best blackjack table, you need to combine your knowledge of the game and pay attention to detail. You have to understand the house edge and identify rules and betting options that are favorable to you.

In this guide, you will learn the key factors to consider when choosing a blackjack table, helping you make informed decisions and increase your chances of winning.

1. Look for Tables With Rules that Benefit You

Before you settle down at a physical or virtual blackjack table, take your time to see what the rules are. The rules that will be most favorable to you are those that offer a low house edge that is less than 0.5%, dealer stands on soft 17, allowing double down on any two cards, and rules that allow splitting pairs.

Looking for a table with blackjack rules that benefit you means that the playing conditions give you a better chance of winning or reducing the house edge. Let us look at some of the rules below:1)EDITOR NOTE: Check the blackjack rule variations and odds section for a deeper understanding of how the rules of the game affect the house edge.

Low House Edge

The house edge, also known as the ratio of the average loss to the initial bet, is the advantage that the casino has compared to the players. It is usually shown as an amount of each wager that the casino expects to win in the long run. The house edge for card games such as blackjack is influenced by game rules, betting options, player strategy, and the number of decks, among other things. It is the driving force behind a casino’s profit margin and affects the player’s chances of winning. 

Dealer Stands on Soft 17

The dealer stands on soft 17 rule, which is common in blackjack, refers to the dealer’s behavior when they have a hand that is equivalent to 17 and contains an ace that can be counted as an 11. In this case, the dealer will not get more cards to try to get closer to 21 or improve their hand.

A soft 17 includes hands like ace-6, ace-4-2, and ace-3-3. The player’s hand will be settled based on the dealer’s standing hand. If the dealer hits soft 17, they may choose to improve their hand and reduce the player’s chances of winning, so it is important to check the specific rules of the blackjack table you’re playing at since some tables may have different rules concerning the dealer’s behavior on soft 17.

Double Down on Any Two Cards is Allowed

When double-down on any two cards is allowed, it means that a player can double his starting bet and get one more card, in spite of the value of their original two cards. With this rule, the player can choose to double down with either weak or strong hands. The player’s goal is to improve their hand and get closer to 21 or beat the dealer’s hand. Although doubling down gives a player the chance to increase their potential winnings, it also increases the risk of losing more money if the player’s hand does not improve.

The double-down rule should be used strategically and only when it makes sense based on the player’s hand and the dealer’s upcard.  Hands to consider doubling are 9, 10, 11 and soft hands such as A2 – A7.

Splitting Pairs Allowed

When splitting pairs is allowed in blackjack, it means that you are allowed to split your initial two cards into two separate hands if they have the same value, for example, two 8s or two Aces. This can increase your chances of winning, especially if the dealer has a weak upcard. Splitting cards can only be done once for Aces, and but most casinos allow re-splitting up to 3 times for the other cards.

2. Choose a Table With Limits that Fit Your Bankroll and Betting Strategy

When playing blackjack, you should choose a table with a limit that fits within your budget. Before sitting down to play, make sure you check the table minimums and maximums to avoid embarrassment if the minimum limit turns out to be higher than your budget or disappointment when the maximum limit is way below your budget.

When you apply this strategy, you can avoid unnecessary risks and overspending. If you play at a table with a minimum limit that is a bit higher than you expected, you can end up feeling pressured to spend more than you initially intended, which is bad risk management.

16 Versus Ace in Blackjack

3. Pay Attention to the Number of Decks in Play

The number of decks in play affects the house edge and your winning odds significantly. Remember that what is most favorable for you is having fewer decks in play, such as in a single-deck or double-deck game. For example:

  • A single-deck game has a lower house edge around 0.17%.
  • A multi-deck game has a house edge of around 0.5-0.6%.

When there are more decks in a game, the occurrence of an ace and a 10-value card is less frequent, which makes it slightly less likely to get a blackjack. Whether you are playing at a real-money online casino or a traditional brick-and-mortar casino, the objective is to choose a table that favors you instead of the house.2)EDITOR NOTE: The house edge mentioned here assume blackjacks pay 3 to 2.  If blackjacks pay 6 to 5, the house edge can be over 1%.  Avoid games that only pay 6 to 5 on blackjacks!

4. Look For a Table that Shows the Dealer’s Upcard

The dealer’s upcard is the card that faces upwards and is dealt to the dealer at the start of each round. The card can give you a rough idea of how strong the dealer’s hand is and help you decide how to play your own hand. For you to come up with a blackjack strategy that helps you play against the dealer’s upcard, its value, and your own hand play an important role.

When the dealer’s upcard is a 2-6, it means that they probably have a weak hand and are more likely to go over 21, so if you have 12 or more, you should usually stay where you are. If the dealer’s upcard is a 7-Ace, it means that they probably have a strong hand and are less likely to go over 21, so it is usually best to hit values from 12 through 16.

IMAGE CREDIT: Unsplash
IMAGE CREDIT: IstockPhoto

Footnotes

Footnotes
1EDITOR NOTE: Check the blackjack rule variations and odds section for a deeper understanding of how the rules of the game affect the house edge.
2EDITOR NOTE: The house edge mentioned here assume blackjacks pay 3 to 2.  If blackjacks pay 6 to 5, the house edge can be over 1%.  Avoid games that only pay 6 to 5 on blackjacks!

How I Invented Ace Prediction – Ed Thorp

Ed ThorpBy David McDowell.

The big thrill,” said Ed Thorp, “came from learning things nobody else in the world had ever known.[i]  Edward Oakley Thorp was a 28-year-old Assistant Professor at New Mexico State University when he came up with the idea of Ace Prediction:  “I believe that I began to think in detail about non-random shuffling in 1961 and 1962.  My initial thoughts were that it could very substantially affect the odds of many games.”1)EDITOR NOTE: This article is an excerpt from the book Blackjack Ace Prediction by David McDowell, which was originally published in 2004.

     “This was confirmed by the subsequent work I did.  I had a two-pronged attack:  build mathematical models to approximate real shuffling, and do empirical studies of real shuffling.  While doing this, I wanted a simple, practical method for exploiting this and the idea of Ace locating, using neighboring cards, occurred to me.  Why Aces?  Because an Ace is the best card for the player to get as one of his initial two cards at Blackjack.”

     “I tried it out at home and it worked well.  I didn’t focus on using it at the casinos because many other projects with higher priority were going on in my life at the same time.

    Among Thorp’s “other projects” were inventing with Claude Shannon[ii] (1916–2001)  the world’s first wearable computer to successfully predict roulette outcomes in Las Vegas, and writing the world’s best-selling gambling book, Beat the Dealer,[iii] which contained the first mathematical system ever discovered for beating a major casino game—card counting at blackjack.

     Paul O’Neil, writing of Thorp’s exploits in Life magazine in 1964, observed:  “Thorp delved into a stratum of impure chaos—a phenomenon involving both pattern and lack of pattern—to which comparatively little attention had ever been paid.[iv]

     While Thorp’s book made the New York Times best-seller list, his Ace Prediction theory remained the closely guarded secret of a handful of high-stakes professional blackjack players for more than 20 years. 

     The idea of predicting Aces first appeared in Thorp’s 1973 academic paper, “Nonrandom Shuffling with Applications to the Game of Faro,”[v] in which he wrote:  “ … nonrandomness yields simple winning strategies at Blackjack, Baccarat and Faro (Thorp and Walden, unpublished)[vi] ”  After outlining his non-random shuffling theories, Thorp commented:  “Note … the immediate application to ace-location …[vii]

     In 1997, Arnold Snyder, blackjack author and publisher, asked Professor Thorp if he had explored non-random shuffling more thoroughly in the seventies.  Thorp replied: “I did.  Most of it never got written up.  It is mostly in my mind and in a few sketch notes.

     Richard Reid, Webmaster of www.bjmath.com, (a website to which Thorp contributed) asked the professor if his “simple winning strategies” would ever be published.  “They may,” Thorp replied, “appear in a future reprint of [his book] The Mathematics of Gambling.[viii]

[i] O’Neil, Paul, “The Professor Who Breaks the Bank,” Life Magazine, Chicago, Illinois: Time, Inc., March 27, 1964, p. 84.
[ii] Calderbank, Robert and Neil J. A. Sloane,  “Obituary: Claude Shannon,” Nature, Vol. 410, No. 768, 2001.
[iii] Thorp, Edward O., Beat the Dealer: A Winning Strategy for the Game of Twenty-One, New York: Blaisdell Publishing Company, 1st ed., 1962.
[iv] O’Neil, 1964, p. 91.
[v] Thorp, Edward O., “Nonrandom Shuffling with Applications to the Game of Faro,” Journal of the American Statistical Association, Vol. 68, No. 344, December, 1973, p. 844.
[vi] Thorp, Edward O. and William E. Walden, “The Solution of Games by Computer,” (unpublished manuscript), 1963.
[vii] Thorp, 1973, p. 464.
[viii] Thorp, Edward O., The Mathematics of Gambling.  Secaucus, New Jersey: Lyle Stuart, March, 1985.

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Footnotes

Footnotes
1EDITOR NOTE: This article is an excerpt from the book Blackjack Ace Prediction by David McDowell, which was originally published in 2004.

Psychology Behind Betting Patterns

Superstition in GamblingBy Sadie Smith.

There are many different superstitions and good luck rituals in the gambling world. Interestingly enough, this has been present in people’s lives since forever and it looks like it is here to stay. Lucky numbers, charms, rituals, mantras, and incantations have been with us for as long as we can remember and read in history.

Regardless of how superstitious you may be, there must be some ritual you have or used to have. It is almost inevitable and no matter how we rationalize it, it is difficult to resist superstition. So, what makes us manifest this type of behavior? Is it a confidence thing, and most importantly, does it work?1)EDITOR NOTE: Pretending to be superstitious can reap benefits as a blackjack card counter or advantage player.  It is one of the camouflage tricks of the trade.

Is superstition modernized?

We are all familiar with blowing or kissing dice, having your favorite chair and a table at a casino, lucky charms, and many other forms of superstitious activities during gambling. However, did these customs transfer to the world of online gambling?

A short answer would be affirmative, given that there are many new traditions in online gambling lucky rituals. Of course, some superstitions could not be transferred as they would require a physical space to gamble. However, they did adapt to the online environment or new ones were invented.

There has been word of a whole bunch of new rituals and lucky actions. However, scientifically, it has absolutely zero impact on online gambling platforms. For instance, most online casinos use random number generators and algorithms so good that no external factors can change their unbiasedness (source: https://bitcoin-casino.ltd). Their algorithms ensure randomness and a fair game, making sure everyone has a good time regardless of which machine they use or how they do it.

How does superstition manifest in the online world?

There are many creative ways people present with superstitions. Some people always log in at the same time, convinced that the time of login will provide them with good luck to that session. Many people also love setting the mood. For instance, some people have their favorite chair or table at the casino, while the ones that join online can also have a favorite chair, something to drink, special clothes or any pre-game ritual they feel helps them while playing. Some always listen to the same song before starting their session.

There are also various rituals when it comes to making patterns for playing. These things happen spontaneously and they stay purposely as soon as a win happens. Using certain fingers in a specific manner is considered a lucky charm for many people who practice online gambling.

Do superstitions work?

One thing we can say is that no pattern or superstition can change the will of the random number generator. However, superstitions still have all sorts of effect on our daily lives.

Whether they impact the algorithm is not even that important. What humans get from honoring superstitions is a certain confidence boost. When we fulfill our rituals, it makes us feel ready and accomplished. It boosts our ego and makes us more prepared for what is ahead. The confidence boost is a huge part of the betting experience and it even makes us enjoy the whole process more.

Therefore, when someone says that superstitions don’t work, you just point them to a confident person who is enjoying there life due to a little self-esteem boost. That ought to change their minds.

… before leaving to play, I put on some Old Spice after-shave lotion.  My next session was a dramatic winner.  For the next several weeks I doused myself with this lotion without fail before playing.  If I went out the door, and remembered that I’d forgotten the after-shave lotion, I’d return for it. Sure, we’re scientists, but I guess certain superstitions creep in periodically.Ken Uston (Two Books on Blackjack)

The gambler’s mindset

There are various psychological phenomena related to gambling. One of the most popular being the gambler’s fallacy. That simply means that people’s judgement changes due to certain events. For instance, you are playing roulette and it is now already the sixth time the outcome was black. This series of events changes our judgement to believe that the next time, the outcome will be red. This also boosts confidence and makes us more motivated as we become more certain that we will win the next time around.

Another famous phenomenon is the bandwagon effect. This happens when many people are taking part in betting or the lottery, for instance. Everyone’s excited and everyone is a part of it which motivates you to be a part of it, too.

Moreover, throwing your hat in the game will almost always make you think you increased the winning chances. Somehow everyone thinks they are their own lucky charm in a way. By joining a sports bet for some team, you instantly boost the team’s chances to succeed now that they have you on their side.

Simply being in a good mood will boost your ego and make you wish to gamble a bit more. This also makes sense – you are in a good mood, which means you would be more confident in a positive outcome of gambling.

Lucky numbers, rituals and charms also put us in a better mood as we feel they increase our chances of winning. So, who is to say that they don’t work? If it is all in good fun and done responsibly, applying good luck rituals to your gambling routine can only have positive effects on the gambler.

IMAGE CREDIT: Microsoft’s Copilot

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Footnotes

Footnotes
1EDITOR NOTE: Pretending to be superstitious can reap benefits as a blackjack card counter or advantage player.  It is one of the camouflage tricks of the trade.

Dana White: Why Does the UFC’s Head Honcho Love Blackjack So Much? 

By Katie Jenkins.

Dana White has become a household name worldwide since taking over the Ultimate Fighting Championship in 2001. Whether booking blockbuster fights between Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov or being featured in an interview on ESPN Sportscenter, the 54-year-old is regularly seen grabbing headlines. As such, with his high-profile lifestyle, perhaps it should come as no surprise to hear that the UFC’s CEO loves to spend some time at the blackjack table.

Welcome to Las Vegas

White’s escapades are legendary in casino circles and have become a point of intrigue for fans and critics alike. But what drives this successful sports executive to the tables, often risking and winning sums that most can only dream of? Well, when someone manages the risk of a $2 million company for 15 years and turns its valuation into $4 billion, it’s safe to say that he knows a thing or two about strategy. But what else is there to uncover? 

The Thrill of the Game

For White, the beloved Vegas classic offers a thrill that is hard to find elsewhere. That same rush can be felt playing virtually at some of the best online blackjack casinos, but still, there is nothing quite like sitting at the famed tables, either in person or at home. And that’s even the case for someone who watches the planet’s finest fighters battle it out every weekend. As someone who thrives on adrenaline, it’s no surprise that White gravitates toward a game that combines strategy, luck, and high stakes. In an interview on the “Pass The Torch Podcast,” he revealed that the excitement and unpredictability of the game keep him coming back.

“I love the rush,” White said. “Every hand is a new challenge, and you never know what’s going to happen next. It’s similar to the fight game; you have to stay sharp and make quick decisions.”

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The Social Aspect

Blackjack is not just a solitary pursuit for the UFC’s head honcho; it’s also a social activity. He often plays alongside friends and fellow celebrities, creating an atmosphere of camaraderie and competition. This was evident when he played a high-stakes game with Dave Portnoy and the Barstool Sports crew, where the interaction was as much a part of the experience as the game itself. 

However, make no mistake – if you see him in Sin City, he isn’t there just to have a good time. He’s there to win. 

High-Risk, High-Reward

White’s approach mirrors his strategy in running the UFC: high-risk, high reward. He has been known to bet large sums, sometimes winning big and other times losing heavily. One notable instance was when White reportedly lost $560,000 in one night. However, such losses do not deter him. Instead, they seem to fuel his passion for the game. 

White is very aware of the up-and-down nature of gambling, hence why he implements a conservative strategy. He has stated on numerous podcasts that he goes to the table and bets big, usually $50,000 per hand. If he wins two hands, he takes his money and walks out with his money doubled. The nature of the beast is that, of course, it won’t always go that way, but it is still a very sensible approach. 

IMAGE CREDIT: Unsplash
IMAGE CREDIT: Unsplash

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Crypto Blackjack Guide: How Does it Differ from Traditional Versions

Jack of SpadesBy Sadie Smith.

Crypto casino gaming has grown significantly in popularity over the years, breathing new life into traditional classic games like slots, roulette, and blackjack. Crypto blackjack is the online version of the classic card game of blackjack using cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum instead of traditional fiat currency.

The gameplay and rules are essentially the same as traditional blackjack, but the payouts and transactions are facilitated through blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. The benefits of using cryptocurrencies for blackjack include faster transaction speeds, lower fees, and accessing crypto blackjack from anywhere in the world where cryptocurrencies are legal.

Are there Different Variations of Crypto Blackjack?

Many crypto casinos offer multiple blackjack variations alongside the classic versions to cater to the different player preferences and strategies. The rules and payouts may vary slightly across the variants, however, the core gameplay of blackjack remains the same.

There are several variants players can choose from, including Classic Blackjack which follows the traditional rules, to Multi-hand Blackjack, which allows you to play up to 4 or more hands simultaneously. According to Michael Graw from Value Walk, most crypto casinos offer virtual and live dealer blackjack, and choosing top ones to play at is easy since several crypto casinos have blackjack variants to suit your skill and risk tolerance level.

How is Crypto Blackjack Different from Traditional Blackjack?

Crypto blackjack uses cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin for transactions, has several benefits, and allows players greater anonymity by not requiring personal information like player’s names, addresses, and identification like a traditional casino. Compared to traditional blackjack using fiat currency, cryptocurrencies are generally faster than traditional banking methods for deposits and withdrawals. Some transactions are instantaneous whereas others are complete within an hour.

Many crypto blackjack platforms use provably fair algorithms and smart contracts to ensure fairness and transparency of gaming outcomes. Additionally, crypto casinos typically offer players more lucrative bonuses, to attract new players and retain existing players. The key difference between traditional and crypto blackjack lies in the use of cryptocurrencies that has more advantages than fiat currencies.

How to Get Started with Crypto Blackjack

Before getting started with crypto blackjack, the first step is to obtain the cryptocurrency you want to use which is accepted by your preferred crypto casino. Most crypto-gambling platforms accept Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Dogecoin, and more.

Once you have your crypto, you will need to set up a secure crypto wallet to store your funds. Next, look for a reputable crypto casino that is licensed, has fair game certification, and robust security measures like cold storage for funds and SSL encryption. Create your account, transfer your funds, and find a crypto blackjack variant best suited for your skill level. Try the free demos first before wagering and playing for real money.

How to Play Crypto Blackjack

Crypto blackjack’s gameplay is very similar to traditional blackjack:

The Objective1)EDITOR NOTE: Visit the Encyclopedia of Blackjack for complete rules to the game of blackjack.

  • The main objective of crypto blackjack, no matter the variant, is to beat the dealer by getting a hand value as close to 21 as possible or let the dealer bust his hand.
  • Beat the dealer’s final hand without exceeding 21, as this is considered an automatic loss.
  • If you receive a hand value of 21 on the first two cards, which is an Ace and any 10-value card, this is called “blackjack” and beats all other hands.

Card Values

  • Cards numbered 2 to 10 are worth their face value.
  • Face cards, which are the Jack, Queen, and King, are worth 10 points.
  • Aces can be worth either 1 point or 11 points.

Gameplay

  • Place a bet before the cards are dealt.
  • Each player and the dealer are dealt two cards, with one card facing up to the dealer.
  • Players can choose to “Hit”, which is taking another card.
  • A player will ”bust” (lose) if their hand exceeds 21.
  • A dealer must “hit” until they reach at least 17.
  • The hand closest to 21 without busting wins.

Blackjack Terms

  • Stand: A player can decide not to take another card and keep the current hand total.
  • Double down: Players can double their original bet in exchange for receiving one more card.
  • Split pairs: Splitting a pair of the same value cards into two separate hands when the cards are dealt originally. A player can place a second bet equal to the first.
  • Insurance: This is a side bet made when a dealer shows an Ace, the player is betting the dealer has a 10-value card to go with their upward-facing Ace.
  • Hard hand: This is a hand without an Ace, or where an Ace counts as 1 point.
  • Soft hand: This is a hand that has an Ace that will be counted as 11 points without going bust.

Tips and Strategies for Winning Crypto Blackjack

Crypto Blackjack, like any casino game, is about entertainment but also requires players to have a strategy and be familiar with the card game.

Learn the Basic Blackjack Strategy

Just like learning to play traditional blackjack, it is crucial to learn and apply basic blackjack strategy to minimize the house edge when playing crypto blackjack. Use a strategy chart to know when the best time is for you to hit, stand, double down, or split pairs based on your hand and the dealer’s face-up card.

Bankroll Management

Set a reasonable bankroll limit and stick to it. Do not chase losses by increasing your bets after a losing streak, even professional blackjack players understand that not every hand is a winning hand. Having and sticking to your bankroll limit is key to responsible gaming practices.

Take Advantage of Bonuses

Several crypto casinos offer welcome bonuses, reload bonuses, and other crypto-specific promotions to boost your bankroll. However, make sure that you read the terms and conditions of the bonuses carefully, before accepting them.

Understand Odds and Probabilities

Blackjack is a game of skill and understanding the statistical probabilities of different outcomes allows you to make more informed decisions on whether to hit, stand, double down, or surrender.

Avoid Splitting 10-value cards and Insurance Bets

Avoid splitting 10-value or face cards as doing so could lower your chances of getting a strong hand close to 21. Additionally, avoid insurance bets as they have a high house edge and are generally not worth the risk.

IMAGE CREDIT: Unsplash

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Footnotes

Footnotes
1EDITOR NOTE: Visit the Encyclopedia of Blackjack for complete rules to the game of blackjack.

Your Guide to Popular Slots for Real Money

By Sara Godfrey.

Unsure where to begin playing real money pokies app Australia based? Try these hugely popular video slot favorites first.

Before spinning reels, play these top franchises:

  • Buffalo – Epic classic with expanding wild buffalos and free spin stampede features.
  • Triple Diamond – A vintage 3-reel game keeping true to fruit machine roots. Simple yet satisfying.
  • Wheel of Fortune – Spin the fame wheel during paid rounds for big credit prizes led by TV hostess Vanna White!

Australian Pokies Slots

Getting Started with Real Money Pokies1)EDITOR NOTE: The term “pokies” is just another name for slot machines, which is used in Australia and New Zealand. There is no difference between pokies and slots except for the name.

Accessible video themes, crisp graphics and rewarding bonus games explain the widespread appeal of such titles. They compose foolproof gateway amusement for pokie beginners before exploring more advanced options

Through these legendary video pokies, unveil why millions happily spin away for hours. Who knows, you may even discover your new all-time favorite slot yourself!

Classic 777 Slot Games

You can experience the nostalgia of playing classic slot machines with 3 reels and 1 payline. These 777 slot games offer a simple but exciting gameplay.

When playing a classic slot, you spin the reels aiming to land three matching symbols across the single payline. Getting a 777 symbol combination triggers the game’s jackpot prize. While they lack elaborate graphics and bonus features, classic slots provide a pure and straightforward gambling experience.

Some popular classic slot titles to try include Double Diamond, Triple Diamond, and Sevens Wild. Their vintage machine designs transport you back to the early days of mechanical slots. When you hear the clink of virtual coins and see symbols like bars, cherries, and the liberty bell spin by, it’s easy to imagine yourself in a smoky old-timey casino.

While basic in mechanics, these vintage-style games still deliver thrilling wins. Landing a triple bar on the payline or hearing the simulated sound of coins pouring out into the tray when you hit a payout recaptures the vintage Vegas slot magic. Their simple recipes delight slot purists looking for no-frills standalone fun.

Fruitful Fruit Machines

When playing fruit machines, you’ll notice the reel symbols are various fruits like cherries, oranges, plums, lemons, and watermelons. These classic slots got their name since fruit images dominate the reels.

Some fruit machine examples you may enjoy include Fruits n Sevens, Juicy Fruits, and Old Fruit Machines. Their bright cartoony fruit symbols and simple gameplays aim to evoke a lighthearted feeling.

Landing matching fruits across activated paylines triggers payouts. Mixing different fruits on a line can also pay prizes. Besides fruits, traditional 7s, bars, stars, and bells symbols spin on the reels too.

Fruit slots popularity endures because their vivid colors and familiar symbols appeal to players worldwide. They offer uncomplicated fun everyone intuitively understands. The smiling cherries and dancing lemons spread playful energy.

When you hear coins clanking and see watermelons align as symbols cascade down the reels, fruit machines deliver old-school amusement. Take yourself on a virtual fruit-picking adventure and enjoy some light spins.

Nevada-Inspired Vegas-Styled Pokies

When you play a Vegas-styled pokie machine, it aims to emulate the glitzy gambling experience of Las Vegas casinos. Their designs evoke neon-lit Sin City scenes with showgirl symbols, bright lights, and excitement.

Some popular Vegas-style pokie titles include:

  • Neon Vegas Nights
  • Viva Las Vegas
  • Vegas Baby

Their dazzling graphics and features transport you right onto the flashing casino floors of Nevada. You’ll hear lively slot machine sound effects as reels spin with icons like dice, chips, cocktails, limos, and palm trees. Landing winning combinations across pay lines makes slot machine bells ring and coin prize animations burst.

These games celebrate the sheer spectacle of old-school Vegas slots. Their buoyant sights and sounds strive to mimic the buzzing energy of casino pits in Vegas’ heyday. Playing them conjures nostalgia for the vintage games that made Sin City famous.

Vegas-style pokies app for real money also offers chances at big payouts with features like free spins, multipliers, and bonus rounds. Their glitzy designs deal with exciting wins to match their exhilarating aesthetics.

Bonus Free Spins Galore

One exciting feature in many online pokie games is multiple free spins. When triggered, these give you a number of gratis games to play.

Landing scatter symbols or particular icon combinations on the reels activates the free spins round. The game then awards you anywhere from 5 to 50 bonus spins to use.

As the multiple free games play out, all your winnings get collected. Some slots also add extra wilds or apply a 2X or 3X multiplier during the round. This amps up the winning potential even more.

Playing through your bank of free turns feels thrilling. Watching the reels spin freely without placing bets heightens the anticipation. With lucky symbol cascades the extra spins can pile up sensible sums or even mammoth jackpots.

Various pokie titles offering multiple free rounds include Starburst, Cleopatra, Golden Goddess, Wheel of Fortune, and Lightning Link. Their bonus spins modes give you loads of zero-cost chances to sit back and hopefully rack up stacks of coin prizes.

Be sure to look for slots with multiple gratis games. Their freebie rounds provide suspenseful, no-risk opportunities to score glorious payouts.

Vintage Classic Pokie Fun

If you enjoy old-fashioned slots, try spinning classic pokie machines. These retain simplified retro designs reminiscent of vintage land-based games.

When playing classic pokies or real money pokies app Australia is one of the best! You’ll notice:

  • Limited functionality – Their mechanics focus purely on spinning reels without complex extras.
  • 3-reel scheme – Three vertical symbol columns provide a slimmed-down setup.
  • Few pay lines – Having only 1-5 lines to bet on boosts straightforwardness.

While lacking elaborate graphics and features, these old-style one-armed bandits deliver clean gambling fun. Their uncomplicated recipes let you concentrate solely on anticipating whether Lady Luck spins matching icons onto pay lines.

Some solid classic pokie options include Double Diamond, Liberty Bell, and Fantastic 7s. Their cute retro aesthetics and fuss-free operation recall a charmingly archaic era of mechanical slots.

Try an old classic pokie to enjoy no-frills reel-spinning action. Their stripped-down designs help you focus on the pure pillaring thrill of lining up winning symbol combos.

Imaginative Pokie Plots

Online pokie games often feature unique themes building their graphics and features around a central topic. Some popular examples include:

Theme

Example Games

Key Aspects

Wildlife

Gorilla Gold, Lion Dance

Jungle scenes and animals

Mythology

Zeus, Hercules

Greek gods and legends

Holidays

Sweet Halloween, Festive Fruit

Seasonal symbols and music

Branded

Game of Thrones, Jurassic Park

TV/film references

Weaving in a creative motif gives these games distinct personalities. Their symbols, sound effects, bonuses, and visuals all tie back to the central concept.

A wildlife-themed pokie like Gorilla Gold transports you deep into steamy jungle terrain. Tribal drum music plays as vivid fauna symbols like parrots, tigers, and gorillas spin across vine-draped reels.

IMAGE CREDIT: Based on Freepik

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Footnotes

Footnotes
1EDITOR NOTE: The term “pokies” is just another name for slot machines, which is used in Australia and New Zealand. There is no difference between pokies and slots except for the name.

Big Jump in New Jersey Online Gambling Revenues in April

New Jersey Online GamblingBy Steve Ashfield.

April proved to be a highly successful one for the New Jersey gambling industry. Total winnings for the state’s casinos, horse tracks and their online partners were $511 million. That was 10.4% higher than in the same period in the previous year.

Online gambling played a major role in the increased level of revenue. Despite the US economy still having its problems, April produced the second-best-month for online gambling.

While the online sector of the New Jersey gambling industry continues to thrive, in-person gambling isn’t faring so well. The revenue for April was 6.3% lower than in the same period in 2023.

Why is this the case? There are still some gamblers who became used to playing online during the COVID-19 pandemic when land-based casinos were temporarily closed. That isn’t the case now but gambling online saw many players enter a whole new world.

They were able to be gambling on a 24/7 basis and playing games they might never have seen before. When the lock-downs came to an end, players did return to the bricks-and-mortar casinos but not so regularly.

They realized that to gamble on slots and blackjack etc, they could stay in the comfort of their own home and enjoy playing. Nothing quite beats going to a land-based casino but the online sector has grown enormously in recent years and doesn’t look like slowing down anytime yet.

The revenue from in-person gambling is important for the New Jersey industry. It’s a steady flow of revenue and no profit-sharing agreements are in place. The state’s casinos therefore prioritize the in-person side of their business in what is still a very competitive market.

The Director of the Lloyd Levenson Institute at Stockton University is Jane Bokunewicz and she has given her views on what is happening, particularly in Atlantic City. In recent times, operators have been busy making investments with the aim of “improving resort offerings.” This, she believes, suggests that “a significant shift in the market’s overall revenue mix” is on its way.

Her view is that diversifying revenue sources is important. That’s not all about gambling-related products and doing so will see competitiveness and resilience enhanced.

According to NJ.bet, the Borgata topped the revenue charts in April with winnings of $58.3 million. The site attracts players in New Jersey by offering exclusive games with low wager bonus and other promotions. That was clear of Hard Rock in second place with $41.1 million. It wasn’t such good news for other New Jersey casinos, especially Harrah’s. April saw their revenue fall by close to 25% when compared to the same period in the previous financial year.

It’s when sports betting and internet revenue is added, that a brighter picture develops. It’s common now for the land-based casinos to now be offering sports betting to their customers. This has been the case since a major change in US gambling laws in 2018.

A US Supreme Court Judge ruling stated that it was the individual state who could make the final decision on whether or not sports betting should be made legal. Since that ruling, which came about after a lengthy campaign spearheaded by New Jersey, over 30 US states have gone down that route.

It’s good news for gamblers and industry members. Also pleased with the change are the US states themselves thanks to all the gambling tax revenue that is received every month. That’s particularly been seen in New Jersey.

With all the areas of gambling included, the Borgata saw their April revenue figure jump to $107.7 million. Golden Nugget leaped into second sport with a $66 million revenue total. Resorts Digital, who only have an online presence saw their revenue figure make a substantial increase.

A total of $1 billion in bets was placed in April. That’s hugely impressive considering there are no NFL matches being played at present.

New Jersey therefore has a gambling industry in which internet betting is booming as is sports betting. The future does therefore look to be a rosy one. Regulation of the gambling industry is not as strict as in some other countries. There is still the willingness to ensure gambling is safe for players and underage players aren’t participating.

The future looks a rosy one with new technology promising more sophisticated and exciting games to be played. Get ready to see Virtual Reality handsets being used for more games and further growth in areas such as Live Casinos.

IMAGE CREDIT: Microsoft CoPilot

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Discovering Blackjack Bonuses: A Guide for UK Casino Enthusiasts

Blackjack BonusesBy Brendan Smith.

For many British gamblers, blackjack remains a cornerstone of their casino experience. Renowned for its blend of skill, strategy, and the thrill of the draw, blackjack holds a special place in the hearts of UK players. 

Finding bonuses tailored for blackjack can often feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. This guide explores the world of blackjack bonuses, the challenges in discovering them, and strategies to unearth those elusive offers that enhance the blackjack experience in the United Kingdom.

What are blackjack bonuses?

Blackjack bonuses in the UK’s online casinos can be as elusive as they are enticing. These bonuses are special offers that can be exclusively used for blackjack games or in addition to all other games within a casino’s repertoire. 

For blackjack enthusiasts, these bonuses are a golden ticket, offering extra playtime, a chance to try new strategies or even more bang for their buck. Whether you’re a seasoned player or new to the virtual felt, understanding and finding these bonuses can significantly enhance your gaming experience.

Blackjack and wagering requirements

The challenge in finding lucrative blackjack bonuses often lies in how these bonuses contribute towards wagering requirements. Online casinos in Great Britain impose these requirements to ensure players engage with games over a certain period before withdrawing their winnings. Blackjack, known for its high Return to Player (RTP), is often seen as a less favourable option for casinos regarding bonus wagering. 

Blackjack’s strategic nature and player skill can significantly reduce the house edge, making it less profitable for casinos in the long run. As a result, blackjack bets frequently contribute only a fraction towards the wagering requirements, making the hunt for valuable blackjack bonuses all the more challenging.

Blackjack bonus terms and conditions

One of the critical skills in finding blackjack-friendly bonuses is learning to navigate the often complex and detailed terms and conditions laid out by online casinos. These texts are treasure maps in their own right, revealing how bonuses can be used, their wagering contributions, and any game or game provider restrictions. Understanding these terms allows players to identify which bonuses offer real value to blackjack enthusiasts and which are better left unclaimed.

The role of gambling affiliates

In the vast sea of online gambling, affiliates such as Bojoko, AskGamblers, and MrGamble serve as lighthouses, guiding UK players towards the best bonuses and casinos. These platforms specialise in listing and reviewing game bonuses, including table games like blackjack. Bojoko, for example, maintains an updated list of online blackjack bonus offers, making it easier for players to find offers that suit their needs. By leveraging these affiliates’ resources, players can save time and effort in their quest for the perfect blackjack bonus.

In summary

Discovering bonuses that cater to blackjack players requires a mix of strategy and persistence. Beyond consulting affiliate sites, savvy players keep an eye on casino promotions, sign up for newsletters, and join casino communities. Engaging with these platforms can reveal exclusive bonuses not advertised elsewhere. Additionally, contacting customer support directly to inquire about blackjack-specific bonuses can sometimes unlock private offers.

IMAGE CREDIT: 123RF

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A Trip Through Time in Card-Playing Movie Scenes

By Claudia Hartley.

There are all kinds of card playing cliches. Picture: a smoky backroom full of poker-playing cowboys, a glitzy casino waiting for the deciding card in a hand of blackjack, we all know the tropes. Over the years, film directors have been captivated by the act of card playing. Sometimes it opens a window to the psyche of the player, other times a game of cards is used to portray a bigger battle that’s taking place.

Card Playing with Ace Ten of Spades

There are all kinds of ways that we can read into the meaning of these games, I’m sure I have after a losing streak at the blackjack table! Anyway, if you’re a fan of cards – which you likely are if you’re browsing the Blackjack Review blog – then I personally guarantee you’ll fall in love with these stupendous scenes.

The Cincinnati Kid, 1965

If you’ve ever had even the slightest interest in poker, then I’m willing to wager (a considerable amount) that you’ve seen this famous Steve McQueen film. And if you haven’t, what are you waiting for? Watch it now! Released in 1965, but set in the 1930s, this film takes us back in time to New Orleans. The Cincinnati Kid is a burgeoning young poker player, who decides to take on a seasoned pro, known as ‘The Man’.

The most beloved scene – and the culmination of the movie – involves a game of five-card stud, in which it looks certain that The Kid is going to win. You know what happens next. We’re being set up for a fall. In a cruel final twist, The Man reveals a Royal Flush (an unbeatable hand). Whether it’s a reminder to stay in your lane, respect your elders – or any number of other warnings – it remains a spectacular work of cinema.

A Big Hand for the Little Lady, 1966

Come with me to the Old West (maybe the best setting for a good poker battle) for an absolute tour-de-force from Joanne Woodward as Meredith. Meredith is the matriarch of a poor farming family who ends up thrust into a high-stakes poker game – very high stakes. On reflection, probably not the kind of game that you’d thrust your novice poker player into, but I digress.

In what might some consider reckless, it turns out that not just the house, but all (yes all) of the savings are on the line. It’s suddenly up to Meredith to not only save the entire fortune of the poor family but to try and play poker for one of the first times in her life. If you’re planning on watching, don’t read the next bit!

Meredith wins. The fortune is saved, and the poor family instantly becomes a wealthy one, however at the cost of her husband’s life. On seeing the final hand play out, he has a heart attack and dies. Nobody ever said poker was a game for the faint-hearted!

Rounders, 1998

Set in the mysterious world of underground poker, this John Dahl film takes us into the gritty underworld of New York. A law student (and pretty hot poker player) meets up with his aptly named friend, Worm. The two of them get involved with some dodgy characters, but ultimately rekindle their love for the game of poker.

The film cleverly manages to show the intricacies of poker strategy, whilst balancing this with the risk involved in the hunt for a win. Of course, the camaraderie between characters is also one of the big pulls of this film. For poker fans, it doesn’t get much better than Rounders.

Casino Royale, 2006

Has there ever been a rundown of great casino films that didn’t feature Casino Royale? Unlikely. Either way, here’s the great film again! Casino Royale breathes opulence and glamour in a way that only a James Bond film could. The casino used in the film was the Casino de Monte Carlo. Having recently visited, I can confirm that it is maybe the single most spectacularly decorated casino in the world. Imagine: dripping gold chandeliers, plush velvet drapes, and a poker table that will make your jaw drop to the floor.

The key scene involves a poker game between James Bond and Le Chiffre for millions of dollars. This scene is without a doubt one of the most intense poker games ever recorded, one that has you holding your breath until the very end.

From the movie 21
From the movie 21

21, 2008

In a much more modern take, a group of students use their card-counting skills to win big money on a trip to Las Vegas. They all come to know one another as math students at MIT who are brought together by their entrepreneurial professor. He realizes all of them have what it takes to pull off a heist. So, he sets them to work learning how to play blackjack online and keep track of which cards are being played. For a while, their techniques go unnoticed by the casino teams, but before long things come to a head. The professor must choose between his own lust for winning and the safety of his students.

Molly’s Game, 2017

Our final film is one of my personal favorites. If you’ve not watched it yet, then it’s still on Netflix. Quick! Molly’s Game is based on the true story – always a great start – of an Olympic skier turned poker game organizer. Not a conventional career path, but one that makes for a very good film.

Being an astute woman, Molly quickly realized that there was an appetite for high stakes – seriously high stakes – poker. Especially if your participation came with complete discretion. Before long, Molly had a guest list as long as your arm, comprising celebrities, politicians – and even royalty. However, all good things must come to an end (especially underground things). It was the FBI who were determined to put an end to this racket. I won’t ruin it for you, but it’s going to be pretty tough for even someone as tenacious as Molly to outrun these guys.

IMAGE CREDIT: Unsplash
IMAGE CREDIT: Movie – “21”

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