Category Archives: Blackjack

Blackjack for Beginners: A Short Guide

Face Down Blackjack ??? By Takuma Tanaka

When it comes to casino games, blackjack is one of the most famous card games out there. This game started back in the 1700s, in France, based on what a lot of experts believe. It was originally known as ‘vingt-et-un’ which simply translates to ’21’ in the French language.

The game came to the US as French colonists started coming here. It got its momentum in the country during the 1800s due to the popularity of legal casinos in New Orleans. Blackjack got even more popular during the 20th century thanks to establishments in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. However, even now it wasn’t known as ‘blackjack’ and there were no standard regulations. Blackjack got its standard regulations only when gambling was fully legalized.

So, now that you know a little blackjack history, let’s go over a basic blackjack tutorial for beginners interested in playing it.

The Rules of Blackjack1)Complete rules for the game of blackjack can be found in the Encyclopedia of Blackjack on this site.

While there may be some more detailed rules depending on where you play, these are supposed to be easy blackjack rules that can form a beginner’s guide to the game. To play blackjack, you need at least one standard deck. The suit of the cards is not relevant in blackjack and it’s a game that depends on the values. You should note that face cards are worth 10 points and aces can be either counted as 1 or 11, based on what you need.

If you’re playing the game in an online casino, you will need to buy some chips. For online betting sites, you can just use your credit or debit card. It’s best to check out some reviews on PikachuCasinos about places where you can deposit money with your credit card. This will help you start your blackjack journey without having to worry about how to make deposits.

The beginning of blackjack happens when at least one player makes a bet. The dealer gives two cards to each player and keeps two for themselves. The idea is to get as close to the number 21 as possible with the cards you have. The one who is closest to 21, or allows the dealer to bust, wins the round and takes the payoff.

To determine this, the dealer asks each player what they would like to do. The players can take one round to decide their move. These possible moves are:

Stand – When a person decides that they want to keep their current hand and not take a new card.

Hit – When a person decides that they want to take an additional card.

Double Down – When a person decides to place an additional bet on the hand and receive only one more card.

Split – When a person has two cards that are evenly ranked. If they decide to split, they can play two hands, each with one of the original two cards, and place an additional bet.

Surrender – When a person decides to forfeit the game, losing half of their bet.

Understanding the ‘House Edge’

When it comes to a casino blackjack table, the ‘house’ or the ‘dealer’ will always have an edge.2)This is not entirely true.  Ask any card counter. 🙂 Check the rule variations section of the Encyclopedia of Blackjack to see how the rules of the game affect the house edge. There are many reasons for this but the most important one is the ‘bust rule’. If one of the people competing against the house decides to take another card and their total gets over 21, then they ‘bust’. This means they leave the current round automatically. What this leads to is lesser competitors for the house as the dealer goes last in every turn. So even if the dealer loses, they lose only to the remaining people which means that they are always successful against whoever got busted in the round.

While this may seem like the dealer has all the advantages in blackjack, you can also learn some tricks about how to be successful. There are many factors on blackjack tables that can lead to gambling success so be sure to go through them. All of this is what makes blackjack games so much fun for people around the world.

Some Basic Etiquette in Blackjack

While you may find all the instructions to play blackjack, there are some unwritten steps that gamblers should follow to maintain the etiquette of the game, like:

  • using one hand to pick up cards.
  • making sure that your bets are visible to the dealer.
  • not putting your cards under the table or out of sight.
  • using hand signals if it is possible.
  • not touching your chips when they are on the table.
  • being respectful to others on the table.

Blackjack

Tips for Winning at Blackjack

When it comes to blackjack tips for beginners, a lot of people want to know how they can win real payouts. The best strategy that players can use is to count the cards. This essentially means keeping an eye on which cards come out of the decks in the first hands and then determining which ones are left. This way, you will always know the ones that have been dealt and better decide the right move to play against the dealer. While this is not always liked by casinos, it’s a good way to play the game and thwart the higher house edge.

It’s also recommended that you choose a blackjack casino after going through its regulations carefully. Be sure that you understand all of them and there are no hidden terms and conditions. Another thing you can do is see the body language of the dealer. You can try and determine the value of their hand and figure out whether you should stand or hit with your own hand.

Conclusion

So, now that you have gone through this short blackjack for beginners guide, you should be able to begin your own games. Whether you decide to play in a physical casino or join online blackjack games, you will have a lot of fun with this game. You can make your own mini blackjack basic strategy chart based on this introduction and begin dominating the tables. When you keep practicing, there will soon come a time when you will be able to give others stiff competition even with a small card hand.

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Footnotes

Footnotes
1Complete rules for the game of blackjack can be found in the Encyclopedia of Blackjack on this site.
2This is not entirely true.  Ask any card counter. 🙂 Check the rule variations section of the Encyclopedia of Blackjack to see how the rules of the game affect the house edge.

5 Keys to Success in Playing Blackjack

Riffling the CardsBy Poppy Summers

Blackjack is one of the most popular table games out there because it relies both on luck and skill. Unlike many casino games that rely solely on luck, blackjack relies on skill, and if you know how to play blackjack, you can increase your chances of winning drastically. A professional blackjack player can win some serious money in a single night, but it takes training and a correct strategy to win. Today, we are going to take a look at some basic blackjack tips you can use to play successfully and win.

Learn Blackjack Basic Strategy1)Complete blackjack basic strategy charts can be found in the Encyclopedia of Blackjack on this site.

So, the rules of blackjack might sound quite simple and straightforward on paper – draw cards and get as close to 21 as possible without going bust. The dealer does the same thing, however, the dealer must play by strict rules of the house. If you’ve ever played blackjack, you already have a general idea of ​​what the game is and what basic strategy you need to follow. A successful player knows that the more people are at the table, the better it is for the house. If there are many players, the dealer is more likely to get at least some money out of it, so your goal is not to be the worst one at the table.2)In actuality, your goal should be to beat the dealer.  To begin with, you need a good knowledge of the game and a mastery of basic strategy. You can find some of the best $1 deposit online casinos by going through the reviews on LeafletCasino. Casinos are presented in the review, usually offering many games that are great for beginners. Practice in the low-bet game, understand how the game works, when to stand, hit, double or split, and you will be more likely to succeed. 

Know the Table Rules3)Complete rules for the game of blackjack can be found in the Encyclopedia of Blackjack on this site.

There are many variations of blackjack out there, and each one offers something special. Players tend to enjoy the classic single-deck blackjack variation more, but you can also play other variants of this game. The same goes for the tables – each one might have different rules and entry conditions. You can go and see reviews of popular websites like the Zodiac casino and see what types of blackjack are available there. As a game, blackjack is quite tricky, and there are tons of hidden catches in it, so you must be wary of those and proceed with caution. You need to be really confident in what you are doing to play it right, and once you are, you can go to a casino website and play. Successful blackjack players are confident, and they play hard to put some pressure on the dealers and make them uncomfortable. You can also play live dealer blackjack online, which is the closest thing to an actual casino experience.

Find a Friendly Dealer

Well, let’s make this clear straight away – the dealer is not your friend, even if they act friendly. Their ultimate goal is to win money off you, so you cannot really call a dealer your friend. However, there are dealers you might be comfortable playing with and those you are not. The goal here is to choose whatever is comfortable for you. If you are looking for politeness, you can go to Toronto casinos that are famous for their respectful treatment of the customers. There are no specific tips here – just pick whatever feels right for you can keep on doing your thing. Just remember, there are no friends in real money blackjack – everybody wants to get some cash, and you are the one with your pockets full.

Dice, Cards and Chips

Know Your Limits and Play Smart

This does not only concern blackjack – you need to be smart about any kind of entertainment in the casino. Poker, slots, roulette, baccarat – all of those have inherent risks in them. All the different casino card games have their risks and pitfalls, and you must always be smart about the choices and bets you make. You must be cautious because the intent of the game is to make you lose money – well, that’s obvious, and your goal here is to play well enough so that you would not lose the money. There are many tips for blackjack, and you can study them all including card counting, making blackjack side bets, learning the basic betting strategy, and whatnot. All of that will be helpful only if you know when to stop and play smart. You must have a separate budget for the night, the amount you can afford to lose without getting in trouble.

Decide in Advance What You Are Willing to Risk

Gambling is all about evaluating the odds, and you must also evaluate the odds of getting the results you want. How much cash are you willing to risk? How much can you afford to lose? These are important questions you need to answer before you even start gambling. Cards can be tricky, and you must be really careful. Remember, people lose their cash quite often, and some might go down a downward slope losing their property, family, and even life. What are you willing to risk? The good rule is to set up a budget for a week or a month and never go over it.

Conclusion

Gambling is tricky, and there are tons of ways for you to increase your chances of getting that jackpot. The best one, of course, is to practice more and more and try to get better at it. Try free gambling first, get really comfortable, then go for the low-bet lobbies, and move from there to increase your potential take. The most important thing here is to be reasonable and not risk more than you can afford to lose.

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Footnotes

Footnotes
1Complete blackjack basic strategy charts can be found in the Encyclopedia of Blackjack on this site.
2In actuality, your goal should be to beat the dealer.  To begin with, you need a good knowledge of the game and a mastery of basic strategy.
3Complete rules for the game of blackjack can be found in the Encyclopedia of Blackjack on this site.

Modern Day Blackjack Developers Should Remember Atlantic City Blackjack When Marketing Their New offerings

Playing BlackjackBy Anna Lucas

The game of blackjack is evolving, whether traditionalists care to believe it or not. It has had to adapt to the ever-changing landscape of the internet gambling scene and is competing with other highly progressive games such as slots when it comes to attracting players. When developers come up with innovative ways of playing the game, they need to bring in as many players as possible. Looking back in history will give game creators some good ideas about how to market their original offerings, with the introduction of Atlantic City blackjack in 1978 being a landmark event in the timeline of the card game.

What is Atlantic City Blackjack?

Atlantic City has long been one of only a few places in the USA in which gambling was legal. But the New Jersey city didn’t earn that status until the late 1970s, which was way after Las Vegas had boomed in popularity and become a major gambling hub. Blackjack had been played in the Nevada city for decades, and the best players in the world would flock there for the most prestigious games.

When casinos first opened in Atlantic City, owners knew they had to do something different to attract customers and encourage them to play. They opted to freshen up the rules of blackjack and offer their own variant of the game. This helped to give them their own identity as well and set casinos in Atlantic City apart from those found in Vegas.

Casino owners decided to introduce a liberal new rule called the early surrender. It meant that players could cut their losses when they had a bad hand and improve their chances of making returns overall. When blackjack first got its name, casino owners had done something similar. They offered much-improved odds on hands that consisted of blackjack and a black ace. Neither this rule nor the early surrender rule in Atlantic City lasted long, but they both served their purpose of alluring players to the tables.

Now one of the Most Popular Variants

Despite dropping the early surrender feature, casinos in Atlantic City decided to tweak the rule set slightly so that their offering still had a unique identity. Some of the different rules include dealers having to stand on a soft 17, and dealers being able to peek at their hole card and reveal a blackjack if they have it.

These minor rule changes are favored by players because they save money from unsuccessful splits and double downs.1)In many European casinos, the dealer waits to take a hole-card until after the players have played out their hands.  This has the unfortunate effect of players losing on their double downs and splits if the dealer reveals a blackjack. The fact that the Atlantic City version is so prevalent at online casinos shows how it is now nearly as famous as the Las Vegas variant. Players usually have a few Atlantic City options to choose from, with games like Atlantic City Blackjack Gold Series and Atlantic City Multi-Hand being standout offerings. These games were created by Microgaming, a company with a rich history of producing top-quality content for the online casino industry.

VR Blackjack Could Use a New Rule Set

With virtual reality expected to be worth $12.2 billion by 2024, it is reasonable to assume that the technology will permeate the online casino industry. Indeed, Microgaming has already developed a VR Roulette offering, and developers like NetEnt have been working on VR slots. VR will likely become a bigger feature of online casinos when the hardware goes mainstream and is more accessible for the end-user. At this point in time, there is no doubt that blackjack will get a VR makeover. This is because it is one of the most popular casino games ever, and it has always adapted to changes.

When VR blackjack first comes about, it could help if developers and operators offer an exciting new rule set to get players interested in the beginning. This could come in the form of providing improved odds, and it could act to encourage more people to buy into VR.

Judging by how famous Atlantic City blackjack is today, it was a wise move of casino owners in the late 1970s to offer their own rules. Operators in the modern age should learn from this as they release advanced variants. It could help the VR industry to explode if online casinos do something like this.

Photo Credit: Pixels

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Footnotes

Footnotes
1In many European casinos, the dealer waits to take a hole-card until after the players have played out their hands.  This has the unfortunate effect of players losing on their double downs and splits if the dealer reveals a blackjack.

How Do U.S. Blackjack Tournaments Work?

Blackjack TournamentsBy John Isaac

Blackjack may be best known as an iconic table game found at pretty much every casino on the planet, but there is more to the classic card game than the single player experience. Although many aspects of blackjack come down to chance, players like Stu Ungar and Bryce Carlson have shown that it is possible to rise to the top through skill. Therefore, blackjack tournaments are growing in popularity in the US. They separate the amateurs from the seasoned pros and give players a chance to earn recognition for being the best in the business. Here’s all you need to know about U.S. blackjack tournaments.

Tournaments Go Beyond the Everyday Rules

Anyone interested in taking part in a blackjack tournament first needs to get to grips with the general rules of the game. The best way to do this would be to read a detailed online blackjack guide such as the one found here. Not only does it take a deep dive into the basic rules of the game, but it also discusses the variations that can be found online. After mastering those elements of the game, players should look to find out everything they can about how the dealer has to act in any situation.

By knowing the foundational concepts of blackjack, players can develop strategies that help improve their chances of winning. A lot of these rely on memory and knowing exactly how to act in any given situation. For instance, seasoned players will be aware of what they should do based on their hand and the dealer’s up-card in any scenario. Tournaments exist to let these players test their skills in the most competitive situation possible.

What is the Tournament Format?

Having a strong understanding of blackjack is essential, but players should be aware that the tournament version of the game differs greatly. On top of that, different casinos will have their own rules as to how the competition will play out.

Just like in a poker tournament, players begin with the same amount of chips in a blackjack competition. In most blackjack tournaments, players must pay a buy-in at the start, but after that they use the chips that are already in play. In other words, they don’t need to stake any more money after the buy-in. Players don’t play against the house in this format. Instead, they play against each other. The winner of the table over a certain number of rounds then goes on to play winners of other tables in a knockout-style arrangement.

How do you Win a Blackjack Tournament?

The winner is the last person standing at the end of the tournament, after having defeated the other players. The way to prevail in one of these events is to go into it with a clear strategy. For example, you may want to place smaller bets in the earlier rounds to watch your opponents take each other out first. Alternatively, betting big in the early stages could be the best way to develop an unbeatable stack. Being able to adapt depending on the other people at the table is the key to victory.1)For expert tournament strategies be sure to check out books such as Stanford Wong’s Casino Tournament Strategy.

Where Are the Best U.S. Blackjack Tournaments Held?

The USA is the birthplace of the modern blackjack game we know and love today, and it is home to the biggest and best tournaments in the world. Las Vegas hosts some of the best-known options, where players compete for grand prizes that often exceed $100,000. These tournaments are considered the elite events on the blackjack calendar and are up there with the World Series of Poker in terms of prestige.

If you’re looking to take part in a blackjack tournament, it would be best to try your favorite online or local casino first. These events are becoming more popular, and a greater number of places are beginning to offer them. Find a tournament with a buy-in that suits you, and prepare to play your best game.

Blackjack tournaments use the general rules of the game, but the main twist is that players face off against each other rather than the dealer. This is an exciting way to play, and it also represents a prime opportunity to test your skills.

Photo credit: Pexels

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Footnotes

Footnotes
1For expert tournament strategies be sure to check out books such as Stanford Wong’s Casino Tournament Strategy.

What Does the Future Look Like for Blackjack – Does it Need to Evolve?

BlackjackBy Lucas Wilson

When the online casino industry first emerged, blackjack was one of the initial games to be digitized. This was no surprise, as it had been among the most popular casino games for the best part of a century up to that point. However, as the online gambling scene has grown, technology and games have progressed. Now, it feels as though blackjack may be at a turning point, where it needs to evolve to stay relevant.

Blackjack Has Stayed Popular for More than a Century

The amazing thing about blackjack is the fact that it is still the world’s most popular card game after all these years. Even during the poker boom when Texas Hold’em threatened to usurp it, blackjack stood strong and remained one of the go-to games for online casino players.

There is a good chance that blackjack can continue to stay popular, attracting players well into the future thanks to its simplicity and the thrills it provides. On the other hand, though, new casino-playing generations could be in search of more advanced offerings. For this reason, there are some ways that blackjack could be brought forward with technological advancements.

The Evolution of Slots is a Model that Could be Followed

Few casino games have evolved more than slots over the years, and developers have constantly striven to push things forward in this genre. They are by far the most popular casino game, and often feature on the home page of online casinos as a way to entice players. For example, when you look here, you’ll see that the main draw for this site is the wide variety of games available. They include titles based on famous characters like Sherlock Holmes and historical options with Egyptian themes. Naturally, games like blackjack remain a permanent fixture when it comes to online casinos.

Game lists like this highlight how there is so much variety in the slots industry to suit a wide range of players. The themes are there to appeal to different people. Also, because of the competition, progression in technology comes thick and fast. Blackjack developers could think about using themes as a way to make their games alluring to a greater number of people. What’s worked for slots up to now could easily be applied to the card game.

AR and VR Incorporation is a Must

Augmented and virtual reality are still expected to take the online casino industry by storm in the next few years, with analysts predicting a spike in the industry in 2023. It is expected to reach $142.4 billion by this time, indicating that it could be turning mainstream. Online casino games like blackjack could be enhanced by this technology. Perhaps players will be able to put on headsets and feel as though they are actually sitting at a blackjack table, playing the game.

While blackjack may not have changed that much over the years, there have still been a few key developments in the technology that have kept the game relevant. These have included twists on game-play and live streaming of tables. Blackjack will most likely evolve further in the years ahead, and developers may start including themes along with VR options.

Photo credit: Pexels

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No Download Blackjack

No Account CasinosBy James Smith

The rules of blackjack are simple. Almost every casino player knows them. At the start of a game, you receive two cards facing up. Your opponent, a casino’s dealer, receives one card facing up and another card facing down.

The moves you make are based on the values on your card and the dealer’s up card. You can stand or hit for more cards to get close to a total value of 21. If you go overboard, you lose. If your hand is better than the dealer’s, you win.

For a long time, playing blackjack online meant downloading software. It also meant playing the game against RNG1)RNG stands for Random Number Generator. software. Not anymore.

What is No Download Blackjack?

No download blackjack is a form of the game available online in an instant-play mode. There’s no need to install an app or download a program. Adobe Flash isn’t necessary, either. You access the game, hit ‘Play’ and get into action.

How do no download blackjack casinos work? Before Adobe Flash was ended on January 12, this year (2021), it was the main way casinos operated online. You had to install it or use a browser with Adobe Flash installed by default.

Post Adobe Flash, instant-play blackjack games run on HTML5. It’s a programming language that supports faster, high-quality streaming. And unlike Flash, players don’t need to install it to play games.

What are the Benefits of No Download Blackjack Games?

No download blackjack casinos are the future of the industry. Here’s why:

  • No need to download software to play blackjack
  • Supports all major blackjack variants
  • Supports high-quality, real-time live blackjack gaming
  • Available on all major devices and browsers
  • Makes mobile casinos more accessible
  • Available at all leading online casinos

With No download blackjack casinos soaring in popularity, blackjack will continue to be more accessible. Everyone can play the game on their favorite device, whether it’s an iPhone, Samsung phone or Windows computer.

And as mentioned, streaming blackjack in instant-play is faster, smoother and more efficient. It’s particularly exciting when playing the game against a human dealer and not RNG software.

Can you Play No Download Blackjack for Real Money?

Yes, you can play no download blackjack games for real money.2)Online gambling and gaming is illegal in many jurisdictions and users should consult legal counsel regarding the legal status of online gambling and gaming in their jurisdictions. It doesn’t matter what your favorite variant of the game is—Classic Blackjack, Spanish 21, Blackjack Switch, Vegas Strip, Pontoon or Perfect Pairs. Most real money online casinos support instant-play blackjack for real money.

You can also relish free to play no download blackjack. In fact, one of the biggest advantages of the no download gaming technology is that it makes it possible to create free to play online games.

No Registration Blackjack Games: What are they?

No registration blackjack casinos are exactly what they sound like. They are websites through which you can play blackjack without creating an account, also called Pay n Play. No need to reveal your email address, no need to give out your credit card number.

When you visit a no registration casino, you’re linked to a payment method, usually Trustly – where a registration happens in the “background”. A full guide can be found here. Goes, without saying that the Pay n play casinos do not require any downloads.

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Footnotes

Footnotes
1RNG stands for Random Number Generator.
2Online gambling and gaming is illegal in many jurisdictions and users should consult legal counsel regarding the legal status of online gambling and gaming in their jurisdictions.

How Do Blackjack Rules in Finland Differ from Elsewhere?

Blackjack in FinlandBy Lucas Wilson

Blackjack remains one of the most popular card games in the world, with the same general rules followed in most countries where it is played. Yet, the example of Finland shows us that there are still some unique ways of playing the game.

Live Blackjack Rules in Finland

Playing in a land casino or other physical location in Finland or Sweden for the first time can bring a surprise or two, as the live blackjack rules here are set by the authorities. While the general aim of the game is still to try and get a better hand than the dealer without going over 21, the unique rules make it more difficult to do this.

The game is played with six decks of cards and the dealer doesn’t give themselves their second card until the players have concluded the actions on their hands. Players can double down on 9, 10, or 11 and can split hands but can’t surrender.

In this version of blackjack, the dealer has to stand on all 17s. You can’t double down following a split in Finland, although reports confirm that you can do this in the version of the game played in Sweden, where the rules are similar but vary slightly.

Online Blackjack in Finland

Thankfully there is an alternative, as the type of online casino in Finland offers now don’t have to stick to those live blackjack rules and uses more typical rules. If you prefer to stick with the live card game experience, you can try live dealer blackjack, with baccarat and roulette among the other games where a human dealer appears on the screen.

This means that Finnish players can choose from a wide range of blackjack variants that use the more traditional rules and lower house edge that we are used to seeing in other countries. Each game has its own rules listed on the site for you to read through and understand before placing your first bet.

BlackjackThe Main Issue with Playing Blackjack in a Live Setting

The rules we have looked at so far are all fairly standard and there is nothing to cause too much surprise to anyone who has played blackjack before. However, there is one significant rule that affects your chances of winning money in a land-based game.

This is because you lose if you get the same total on your cards as the dealer and they add up to 17, 18, or 19. Normally, this sort of tie would result in a push and you would get your money back, but in Finland, you lose outright. If you tie on 20 or 21, it results in a push. 

Some sources suggest that this rule change increases the house edge of blackjack to something close to 9%. Since this is usually one of the casino games with the lowest house edge, there is no doubt that the Finnish rules could be off-putting for anyone who is used to playing with other rules.

It is easy to get started as the game-play is very similar to the Finnish style, but the fact that you don’t lose on certain tied hands helps to improve your chances of winning. This means that the house edge drops back down to the sort of level players from other countries are used to seeing.

The way that online casinos now offer different versions of blackjack with rules that are more helpful to the player should ensure that this timeless card game becomes even more popular in Finland.

Photo Credit: Blackjack by Aidan Howe
Photo Credit: Blackjack by Erik Hersman

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Blackjack Variant Round-Up

Blackjack by Michael GodardBy Shaun Smith

Although the primary objective of getting a 21 or as close to it as possible remains the same, the casino game of blackjack has many variations. Some of these have strikingly different rules from the standard blackjack, too.

Let’s look into the top variants in detail here and check which one(s) may be more suitable for your style. Make sure you understand the rules and changes each variation has in order to adapt your own strategy.  Percentages shown are approximate and assume blackjacks pay 3 to 2 unless otherwise noted.  Percentages will also vary depending on the number of decks used.

European Blackjack

Undoubtedly, one of the most widely played blackjack variants in the UK, European Blackjack is a popular blackjack variant. The main difference of this variant is in the rule that the dealer does not receive his hole card till the players have made the playing decisions. European Blackjack poses more restrictions on the players too. An example is the prohibition of dealer peek or surrender. The house edge is slightly higher at 0.66% compared to the 0.4% of the standard blackjack with Soft-17 rules. Doubling is allowed on 9, 10 and 11 only. Doubling after split is allowed but re-splitting is not allowed.

Las Vegas Strip Blackjack

Las Vegas Strip Blackjack is one of the most popular blackjack variants in Las Vegas casinos. With a lower house edge of 0.35% to 0.36%, Vegas Strip blackjack is very similar to the American blackjack rules. It stands out by virtue of its dealer peek rules as dealer peek is allowed only on ace. Additionally, doubling is allowed on any 2 cards and the dealer stands on Soft 17, like in American Blackjack. The game derives its name from where it is played, The Vegas Strip, which is basically a 4.2 mile (6.8 km) stretch of South Las Vegas Boulevard, outside the city limits.

Spanish 21

The Spanish 21 variant of blackjack is more popular in Australia and Malaysia. It was first introduced as Pontoon in 1995. The primary difference of this variant is that it is played with 6 decks of cards and the 10s are removed from each deck. Players, after being dealt the initial two cards, continue to receive cards till they decide to Stand. Spanish 21 is a popular variant because it offers a wide range of side bets including insurance. The house edge of Spanish 21 is between 0.42% to 0.85%, depending on the number of decks and whether the dealer hits Soft-17. The variant is flexible in terms of rules and playing actions. Doubling, doubling after split and surrendering are all allowed. Re-splitting is allowed up to 4 hands including Aces.

Super Fun 21

Invented by Howard Grossman, Super Fun, as the name suggests, is a fun variant of the blackjack game. Popularized around 1999, it is widely played in live casinos or in online live dealer blackjack. The house edge of Super Fun 21 is slightly higher at 1.2% to 1.5%. However, the game variant is quite flexible in terms of rules. Doubling, doubling after split and surrendering are all allowed. Re-splitting, on the other hand, is allowed up to 4 hands including Aces. Super Fun 21 is played with 1, 2 or 6 decks of cards and dealer peek is allowed on Aces and the Face Cards.

Double Attack Blackjack

The Double Attack Blackjack is an interesting variant of the blackjack, played in land-based casinos but not available in online casinos. The main difference of this particular blackjack variation is that it is played with 6-8 decks containing 48 cards each as the 10s are removed from the deck before the game begins. Double Attack Blackjack offers some other favorable rules for the players. For instance, there is a side bet called Bustit. Then, the insurance payout is higher than it is in standard blackjack and most importantly, the players can double the bet while seeing the dealer’s door card. The house edge of Double Attack Blackjack is about 0.62%.

Double Exposure Blackjack

Double Exposure Blackjack is a variant in which the dealer’s cards are all exposed. There is no hole card and that’s why the name, Double Exposure. Double Exposure Blackjack differs from the standard blackjack in terms of the payout also, which is 1:1 as opposed to the 3:2 payouts. This particular blackjack variant does not allow insurance and forbids the players to push if the dealer has a tie. The dealer wins on every push till the dealer and the player have a natural blackjack. The house edge of Double Exposure Blackjack is at least 0.67% and the dealer has the option to Hit or Stand on Soft 17.

Progressive Blackjack

Progressive Blackjack is a blackjack variant combining classic blackjack with progressive side bet options. This variant is played with 6 decks of cards, reshuffled after each round. As the side bets have a significant role to play in progressive blackjack, the game starts with a house edge of 37.94% and decreases as additional bets are placed. The rules are a bit stringent when compared to the standard blackjack. As such, in Progressive Blackjack, dealer peek, surrendering, doubling after splits are not allowed. Doubling, however, is allowed on hand totals of 9, 10 and 11. The dealer stands on Soft 17.

Blackjack Switch

Blackjack Switch is a more distinctive variant with different rules and game play. This variant was created by the renowned casino games inventor, Geoff Hall. In Blackjack Switch, each individual player places a side bet, apart from two identical wagers. First, he is allowed to bet on two hands and then he can switch the second cards with one another, which is optional. Another interesting feature of this variant is that the dealer’s 22 is not a bust but a draw or push. This, however, is only when the player does not have a natural blackjack. The house edge of Blackjack Switch with an optimal strategy is about .6%. The game variant is relaxed in the sense that re-splitting is allowed up to three times for players.

Free Bet Blackjack

Another blackjack variant invented by Geoff Hall, Free Bet Blackjack stands out with some distinctive features, very different from the everyday blackjack we all know and love. The most notable feature among these is that while splitting and doubling, the player does not need to risk his own money most of the time. Another distinct feature of the game variant is that the dealer’s 22 is considered a push instead of a bust. This rule is the same as that of Blackjack Switch. Free doubles are allowed on hard totals of two cards of 9, 10 or 11 alongside the regular ones just as free splits are allowed on pairs except 10s. The house edge of Free Bet Blackjack is between 0.6% to 1% and it is generally played with 6 decks of cards.

Face Up Blackjack

Face Up Blackjack, as a variant, is different from the standard blackjack in terms of the dealer’s cards. So, in Face Up Blackjack, which is also known as the Double Exposure Blackjack, both the dealer’s original cards are dealt face up. The game play and the player’s decisions obviously change based on this rule. However, most of the other rules of the variant remain the same. Doubling, splitting and surrendering are all allowed. The house edge is about 0.67%.

So, this sums up the prominent blackjack variations and their striking rules as played in different parts of the world. Some variants are more on the fun sides whilst others are very much played in high-end luxury casinos alongside standard blackjack tables.

PHOTO CREDIT: Michael Godard

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Five Key Lessons from Card Counting Masters

Do Your ResearchBy Alicia Davis

Those with a passing interest in blackjack have likely looked into card counting legends like Edward Thorp and Al Francesco. Most gaming enthusiasts know that blackjack offers the best odds to win against the house—but card counting is a surefire way to beat the dealer.

Even better, it’s not illegal. Though most casinos will track suspected counters and the skill doesn’t exactly translate to online play, that doesn’t stop pros and newcomers alike from checking out the ropes. But first, players have to learn the basics, like knowing when to split, when to double down, or when to take a break. 

But when it comes to card counting, knowing when to stay at a table is even more important—and it’s not always dependent on when the count is in or out of their favor. Similar to how sports bettors will cross-reference odds from a variety of sportsbooks, blackjack pros may also choose to remain loyal to one company in search of exclusive offers. 

For example, one FanDuel sportsbook review highlights the group’s same game parlay capabilities. Punters who bet with FanDuel will have more competitive offers on the table for their loyalty, which could lead to competitive bonuses on parlays or other bets, leading to much higher payouts.

Similarly, a card counter may choose to stick around at a table with a cold deck, looking for a larger payout in the future—or, in some cases, to avoid raising suspicion. In other words, the standard advice may not always apply to those diving into card counting.

Let’s take a look at five key lessons from history’s most successful card counters.

Al Francesco: Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

There’s plenty for the average blackjack player to admire in pro Al Francesco. First of all, he wasn’t a natural-born mathematician. Instead, he spent hours and hours learning to count cards and battling headaches. 

Eventually, Francesco turned his hobby into a money-making endeavor in Reno and Tahoe using the Ten Count strategy. However, his biggest contribution to blackjack was forming card counting teams to alleviate the demands on a single counter. Francesco and his ever-shifting team brought home hundreds of thousands throughout the late 1960s and early 70s.

Edward Thorp: Stats > Emotion

So who did Al Francesco learn to count cards from? The original strategy came from Edward Thorp, regarded as the father of card counting, and his debut work Beat the Dealer (1962). Thorp was a mathematician who drew on his probability skills and applied them to blackjack.

Many consider Thorp to be the first true master of blackjack. Similar to his work in the financial sector, Thorp’s message for card counters is this: hard stats will yield reliable probabilities. The most successful players don’t rely on emotion or even experience but stick strictly to the numbers.

Build a team that’s skilled and trustworthy
Build a team that’s skilled and trustworthy!


Tommy Hyland: It Pays to Know the Rules

As mentioned above, card counting isn’t illegal—but that doesn’t mean casinos like or tolerate the practice. And it certainly doesn’t mean large companies losing hundreds of thousands to experienced card counters won’t attempt to hold them accountable.

Back in 1979, blackjack enthusiast Tommy Hyland formed his own card counting team. Over the years, over two hundred different players moonlighted as part of his team, and more than one attempt has been made at taking Hyland to court. However, no charges have ever stuck, as Hyland knows the rules related to card counting, signaling and more—and has never officially broken them.

Ken Uston: Know Who to Trust

As one of the most high-profile card counters in the world, Ken Uston is regarded for his high IQ and card counting precision. His skills landed him on Al Francesco’s card counting team but exposed the team’s secrets in a 1977 tell-all book, The Big Player

What’s the lesson to be learned from Uston? Don’t be overly trusting with team members and make sure everyone is incentivized to toe the line.

Peter A. Griffin: Keep it Basic

Similar to Uston, Peter A. Griffin is hailed for his intellect. But rather than card count himself, Griffin preferred to observe other counting teams and take notes. In fact, he never opted into blackjack but preferred to construct theories from the sidelines.

Griffin’s lesson is to keep it basic—both for the purpose of enjoying what you’re doing and to keep complex strategies as simple as possible. In the end, blackjack has only one goal: to beat the dealer!

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21 Blackjack tips to increase your enjoyment of play and chances of winning

Dealing BlackjackBy Damien Sabaca

Blackjack is one of the most played games in the casino both offline and online. Here are 21 helpful blackjack tips to get the most fun out of your casino visit.

1. Know what you are getting into

It’s obvious, but it’s important to be familiar with the rules of blackjack – also known as blackjack. In addition, it’s more than helpful to be aware of terms like splitting and doubling (“double down”). So it’s a great place to start by reading a blackjack game guide.

2. Play at an online casino with a tasty bonus

New players often receive a pleasant welcome bonus at online casinos. Therefore, look for a reliable gambling site, which not only offers blackjack, but also has a nice welcome bonus on offer.

3. Know your limit and play accordingly

This is actually a general tip that should be followed in any casino game: never play with money you can’t afford to lose. After all, gambling should remain fun. We therefore recommend that you set yourself a limit before you start playing. Find out how much money you can afford to lose and use it to play cards in the casino for real. Set aside, for example, fifty dollars to play with and stop when you’ve lost or won this amount.

If you find that you have trouble setting a limit for yourself and/or frequently go over it: seek help in time. Many licensed casinos have assistance programs where you can go with a gambling problem. They will refer you to the authorities that can offer the necessary help. More information on responsible gambling can also be found here.

4. Choose the right table

With all this in mind, it is also important to sit at the right table in the casino. There are blackjack tables with different stakes: ranging from ten cents (online only) to thousands of dollars. So if you’ve set yourself a fifty dollar limit and you’re playing at a table where you have to bet at least 25 dollars, then – in the worst case scenario – you’ll only be able to participate in two rounds.

5. Always follow basic blackjack strategy

Blackjack can be played in a variety of ways, with different strategies: ranging from the extremely simple to the rather complex. By using good tactics, you not only minimize the house advantage of the casino, but also significantly increase your own chances of winning. The most efficient strategy in blackjack is called basic  strategy

6. Practice makes perfect

We recommend you practice a lot, if only because as a player you have quite some influence on the outcome of the game. At least, more so than with some pure luck games, such as keno and slots. It pays, therefore, to do a lot of training and to put the aforementioned basic strategy into practice. Many online casinos give you the chance to play for free with fake money via free games: so take advantage of this. Practice makes perfect, after all!

7. Never pass at eleven or below

With a point total of 11 or lower in your hand, you can never play yourself to death: going above 21 (also known as ‘busting’). Passing at such a value is extremely awkward and minimizes your chances of winning. So let the dealer give you at least one new card.  With a nice hand of 11, you will most likely want to double down!

8. Never take out insurance

If you want to play the game smartly, it is wise to never take out an insurance policy. Insurance gives you the possibility to arm yourself against a blackjack from the bank. It sounds tempting to do, but it’s anything but: you have the odds completely against you. In short, a real loser bet.

9. Does the dealer have a seven or more: keep asking for cards

If the house on duty’s first card is a 7 or higher, you increase your chances of winning by playing until you have a “hard” total of at least 17 in your hands or a “soft” total of 18 or more. A hard hand is defined as a hand without aces or with an ace counting as 1, while a soft hand is a hand with an ace counting for 11.

10. Apply under no circumstances to a “soft 17”

If you receive two or more cards from the dealer at the beginning or later in the game that add up to a “soft 17,” it is not smart to pass. A soft 17 consists of an ace that counts for 11 and another card or cards. For example: A-6 or A-2-4.

But why shouldn’t I just pass with such a combination, I hear you think. Well, why do you think dealers should always hit on a soft 17? It has to do with the fact that the house advantage is then increased. So if such a thing applies to the bank, it certainly applies to you as well.

So what do you need to do? The following:

  • Double down: if the dealer has a 3, 4, 5 or 6 (2-6 in a single-deck game);
  • Ask for an extra card: if the dealer has a 2, 7, 8, 9, 10 or Ace.

11. Skip, at seventeen or more

Apart from the “soft 17”, it is best to pass as soon as you have a hard value of 17 or more in your hand. Statistically, this is when you have the best chance of beating the bank.

12. Take your loss!

When we lose, it is in our nature to go on full attack. Our reflex is often to go even more in, hoping to wash away the defeat more quickly. Wrong! Just take your losses. Playing in a casino is gambling and gambling unfortunately also means that you can fall flat on your face from time to time. Often, putting in extra money will only make the situation worse. A useful blackjack tip, which, by the way, applies to several games. 

13. Don’t get too emotional

As an extension of the previous blackjack tip, keep your emotions under control. Keep your cool, regardless of the outcome of the game and concentrate fully on the strategy to be followed. If not, you will irrevocably make stupid mistakes, which will be detrimental to your chances of winning. In short: switch off your emotions and stay on top of things.

14. Never separate two tens and fives

It is not really strong to split two tens. In fact, two tens brings the total points to twenty. This leaves only one better hand, which is 21. But the chances of getting this hand are minuscule. Beating two tens is therefore very difficult for the bank. So if you have a set of tens: skip a turn.  If you have two fives, treat it as a 10 and either hit it or double down.

15. Always split two aces and two eights

Splitting two aces or two eights, mathematically gives you the best chances to win. So if you have one of these hands, just split them.

16. Get rid of the superstition

Many blackjack players believe in the so-called hot and cold myth. This means that they prefer a table where they have already made a big pot (a hot table) to one where they have previously lost (a cold table). Not to mention other rituals of superstition.

If you are one of them: stop doing that. Although some people firmly believe that fate determines our lives (‘everything happens for a reason’), it is really pure coincidence that guides our existence. Something that also plays an important role in many casino games. Superstition is therefore quatsch: better concentrate on things you can control!  By taking these handy blackjack tips to heart, for example. 

17. Play short sessions

It is never good to play blackjack for too long. It can get boring or affect your focus, causing you to deviate from basic strategy and make unnecessary mistakes. We suggest you play short sessions and take a break: stretch your legs, change your mind or doze off for a while. Then, as soon as you start playing cards again, you’ll be fresh enough to beat the bank.

18. Delve into the literature

Blackjack is a game where besides chance, knowledge plays a crucial role. As a result, there are books full of tips and strategies to outsmart the casino. It is therefore worthwhile, as an enthusiast, to browse through a book on blackjack regularly: to gain new insights, or just to learn from the stupidities of others.

19. Surprise yourself with blackjack variants

Tired of the standard version of blackjack? Then consider one of the many variants of this card game on the market. The only thing that differs is the rules of the game. Once you’ve tried a variant, you’ll relive classic blackjack as a newbie. But a newbie with experience!

20. Opt for a live casino as well

Would you like to experience the atmosphere of a real blackjack table, but don’t feel like getting up from your couch to do it? Or do you just want to play blackjack in a different way than through a computerized program? Then it’s an idea to visit the live casino. Through your internet connection, you’ll be in live contact with a lovely female (or male) croupier, who will deal the cards at a real blackjack table.

21. Have fun!

After all these handy blackjack tips and tricks, you’re all set for a nice game of 21’ing. So, what are you waiting for? Have a great time! 

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