Category Archives: Blackjack

Blackjack Variants From Around the World

By Bruna Freire

Queen of Spades

History

Blackjack is but the latest popular variant in a long line of games that are typically referred to as Twenty-One, due to this being the best hand total a player can get in the game. The earliest existing reference to a direct ancestor of blackjack comes from Spain during the late renaissance period. Referred to as Ventiuno, literally Twenty-One, the game was played on a Castilian deck of 48 cards that took influence from Arabic decks that were then arriving in Europe along the silk road trade route. The game made its way across Europe, appearing in France, then Britain, under the French name Vingt-Un. 

Development

It was this version that crossed the Atlantic and took root in the United States, where it became known as Blackjack among prospectors of the Klondike gold rush. Over time, Blackjack became the most popular form worldwide. It is said that 75% of all table games played in Las Vegas casinos are blackjack. Around the world, you’ll find countless variations in play style and rule-sets for this classic parlour game.1)Editor note:  According to the University of Las Vegas Center for Gaming Research:  In 1985, 77% of casino games were blackjack. In 2019, just under 50% were. In 1985, the game accounted for over half of all table game revenues: in 2019, it accounted for 11% of table win.

Below are just a couple for you to explore.

Pontoon

Pontoon is a British card game that shares the same ancestry as Blackjack. It is believed that its novel name is in fact a corruption or mis-translation of the French word Vingt-Un. The game was taken up through co-mingling on the continent and quickly became a favored pastime of the British, who brought it back to their shores.

One clear difference you’ll notice is that a hand of five cards that do not bust is the second most valuable hand in the game, unlike in Blackjack. This is referred to as the Five Card Trick, and it’ll catch you out if you’re coming to Pontoon cold. Another core difference to get used to is the concealment of the dealer’s cards, which remain face down throughout. This affects your ability to strategize, as you’ll be working with less information. 

Siebzehn und Vier

This is a German relative of Blackjack that first began to take shape as a distinct game in the lands of Prussia and the Austro-Hungarian empire by the 1850s. The name translates as Seventeen and Four, hinting at its Twenty-One heritage.

This variant is traditionally played on German spielkarten, which features smaller decks numbering between 32 and 36 cards. Additionally, while the suit of hearts remains, diamonds, clubs and spades give way to leaves, acorns and bells. Siebzehn and Vier, like its French ancestor, also does not allow splitting the hand. This makes more a slower rate of play with less dynamism when compared to the variants below.

Spanish 21

Fast forward to the modern day, and Blackjack’s popularity has led to many new variants and subtle rule changes that affect the pace and nature of play. Among the most popular of these is Spanish 21, a licensed game more broadly based on older Twenty-One variants that developed in the Spanish speaking world.

One of the key distinctions in this variant is a side bet commonly referred to as Match the Dealer. In order to win this side bet, the player is required to match the dealer’s up card with one or both of the cards in their initial hand. If the player succeeds, they are entitled to a larger payout on completion of the hand.

Super Fun 21

Another well loved modern variant for you to try, this one’s DNA is that of true Blackjack. Super Fun 21 was patented as a distinct rule-set in the latter years of the 20th century.

What distinguishes it from other play styles is that Super Fun 21 forgoes the traditional payout of 3-to-2 in favor of 6-to-5. The player may also split a hand up to a maximum of 4 times and automatically secures a winning hand if they have six or more cards with a total of 20. This makes for a more flexible and dynamic play style in comparison to traditional blackjack and is a popular variant in modern casinos.

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Footnotes

Footnotes
1Editor note:  According to the University of Las Vegas Center for Gaming Research:  In 1985, 77% of casino games were blackjack. In 2019, just under 50% were. In 1985, the game accounted for over half of all table game revenues: in 2019, it accounted for 11% of table win.

How blackjack has changed throughout the years

Blackjack HistoryBy James Daniels

Blackjack is one of the most thrilling card games to play around the world. Many people love the simplicity of the game that still delivers a lot of tension as a card is flipped over. Here’s a look at how the much-loved game was first created and how it’s changed over the years.

What it looks like now

Before we look back at how it’s changed over the years, it’s important to look at how big a game blackjack has become. No longer do you need to gather around a group of friends to play at home. You merely need to load up the game on your laptop or phone and you can play against the computer. You don’t even have to visit a casino hall to be able to play for cash. Websites like SBOBET allow you to play a wide range of games, like blackjack, online for the same cash prizes as you’d expect to be winning in some of the biggest casino halls in the world.

The power of the internet has increased the popularity of this game massively. This is because you no longer have to seek out a game. Instead, even the most novice of players can enjoy a game thanks to the power of technology. There are many online games and software tools that will teach you step by step how to play and can advise you of all the possibilities of your next move, meaning you can learn how to become an expert gamer in no time. 

Where it started

Of course, when blackjack was first invented, things were a lot different to how they are today. Nobody is quite sure when the first game of blackjack was played. The first time it was widely recognized as a game was in France during the 1700s. It’s believed the game (which they called Vingt-et-Un) became so popular in France during this time that during the reign of King Louis XV many of the royal family enjoyed playing it as a way of unwinding from their duties. Other people believe that the first game of blackjack was actually played by the Romans. Instead of the traditional playing cards, it’s thought that the game was played with pieces of wood with different numbers painted on them. No matter which explanation you believe, it’s clear that the game we all know and love is probably over 300 years old.

How it developed

One of the surprising things about blackjack is that for many years it wasn’t actually called blackjack. Many people knew the game by a different name, 21, or a regional variation or translation of that same name. Instead the name was a result of a promotion that casino halls put on when the game came to America in the early 1900s.

Many halls would offer an extra prize if the player managed to make 21 by using either the jack of spades or the jack of clubs, i.e. the two black jacks in the pack. It’s believed that the nickname then stuck with the game until this present day.

Blackjacks pay 3 to 2

One of the biggest changes to today’s game is the unfortunate proliferation of games paying only 6 to 5.  Prior to 1999, all regular blackjack games paid a natural 21 (a ten valued card and an Ace) at 3 to 2 odds.  For more information on the history of blackjack be sure to check out BlackjackHistory.com.

About the author

James Daniels is a freelance writer, business enthusiast, a bit of a tech buff, and an overall geek. He is also an avid reader, who can while away hours reading and knowing about the latest gadgets and tech, whilst offering views and opinions on these topics.

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10 Things You Can Learn from Blackjack Players in Movies

From the movie By Isabella Goode

Blackjack is a simple, yet dramatic game. The combined elements of a game of chance and strategic betting make it a captivating game to play and watch – whether in a brick and mortar casino or on the big screen.

Blackjack has enjoyed a healthy level of popularity in cinema. While the casino game that first comes to mind for many of us may be poker, the element of chance and inherent drama that we see in blackjack often lends itself to the cinema screen.

  1. Learn the odds

The 1996 film Swingers follows a group of friends on a trip to Las Vegas where they’re shown in a casino playing blackjack.

Two of the friends debate between themselves whether to double down on 11 whenever they get the opportunity. While the scene is undeniably funny it also highlights the importance of knowing the odds when playing blackjack.

One of the best ways to increase your chances of winning is to always go into a game with a plan. Doing some work beforehand and learning odds and strategy can be the difference between winning big and going home empty handed.

  1. Keep calm

James Bond is the ultimate cool, collected player. In 1989’s Licence to Kill we see Bond sit down for a game of blackjack. Take your cue from Bond when playing blackjack and make sure to keep a cool head. Don’t rush your decision making and make sure you look at your next move from all angles.

The casino elements of James Bond are perhaps the most well known casino scenes in cinema. It’s hard not to want to try your hand at blackjack once you’ve seen the suave James Bond playing with a beautiful woman by his side. If blackjack appeals to you then you can check out this blog post to find out more about how to find the best places to play online. Online play is the best way to play the game at your own pace, making keeping a cool head all the more achievable.

  1. Don’t always listen to the dealer’s advice

This may seem counter intuitive, however, remember that the dealer in blackjack is always playing for the house – they are not on your side. It is in the dealer’s interest to keep you playing trying to keep you from too big of a win.

A great example of this can be found in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery as Number Two, played by Robert Wagner, ignores the dealer’s advice and ends up winning big. It is important to note though that the average player won’t have an x-ray eye to see the next card!

  1. Not Everyone In A Casino Is As Successful As They Claim

In the 1988 comedy Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, we see that not everyone in a casino is as successful at gambling as they claim to be, so you should take advice only from those you trust.

Someone might look like a wealthy high-roller, but it could turn out that they simply got lucky once and wear a nice suit.

So, if someone comes over and offers you gaming tips, take their advice with a pinch of salt. If you know for a fact that they regularly win at blackjack, or that they have played a lot of games, then you might consider taking their advice. However, if you’re unsure, then test out their advice before you commit a large bet to it. 

  1. High Risk, High Reward

As with many games, you get out of blackjack what you put in. This can be a double edged sword with the ability to win big but also the risk of losing entirely. While Number Two wins big at the blackjack table in Austin Powers, Austin Powers himself is not so lucky. Though, of course, Austin Powers also didn’t have the advantage of an x-ray eye.

  1. Keep To A Budget

Make sure you always keep a budget of what you can afford to gamble. One running theme in any film involving blackjack or any other kind of gambling is that there is a line to walk between the thrill of the wager and falling into the trap of investing too much too quickly.

  1. Practice Theory

Just as with learning odds and strategy, if you’re particularly mathematically minded you can delve even deeper into the theory behind card counting. The movie 21 is a 2008 film based on the real life team of Massachusetts Institute of Technology students who used math and card counting to attempt to beat the casino at its own game.

This kind of game play comes with its own risks and ethical questions. Many casinos will ban players known to count cards so be aware that it is a practice the industry and some other players frown upon. If you do want to level up your game, reading up on the theory can be enough to give you an edge while not crossing the ethical line.1)Editor note:  Card counting simply involves using your brain while playing.  Unethical?  Hardly!!!! Cheating, however, is a line you won’t want to cross.

  1. Enjoy Yourself

Blackjack is about having a fun time and enjoying the thrill of the game. The message of the movie 21 shows that while blackjack can be lucrative it can also have some serious negative impacts on your life if you take it too far.

Casino games are meant to be an enjoyable way to relax after a long week – they are not supposed to take over your life. Make sure that you stop when the fun stops.

  1. Confidence Is Key

Almost all of the successful gamblers you will see in film, from James Bond to Rain Man, show that being confident is key to success.

Second guessing yourself can be a fatal flaw while playing blackjack. Instead relax and trust in your game plan.

  1. Gamble responsibly

While James Bond and Rain Man may highlight the huge rewards of blackjack it is always important to remember that there are big risks involved at the same time.

Never let competition with other players and an imperfect understanding of the rules of the game be your downfall.

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Footnotes

Footnotes
1Editor note:  Card counting simply involves using your brain while playing.  Unethical?  Hardly!!!! Cheating, however, is a line you won’t want to cross.

Blackjack Versus Poker (Part 3)

Image by David Mark from PixabayBy Yancy Howard

In the past two articles we have addressed poker and blackjack as the two games are played in the casino.  Just as Caddy Blackjack differs from the way it’s played in the casino, so can the home game of poker.

The home or private game of poker is usually played as a “dealers choice” game where each player, in his turn to deal, may play whatever game he chooses.  There may be a couple of dozen games to choose from that are played in any given home game. 

There are distinct differences such as how the games are structured for betting purposes and for resolving who wins the pot.  In casino poker hands are resolved under the “cards speak” rule.  After all cards have been dealt and bets made, players merely turn their hand over and the dealer announces the winner or winners in the case of a split pot.

In the private game, however, lots of players tend to use the simultaneous declaration method to determine the winners of the hand.  That is, each player places his hands on the table.  on the count of three, everyone opens one hand.  If you show a chip in your hand this signifies you are going for the high half of the pot.  If you are going low, you open an empty hand.  If you choose to go both ways, you open both hands.  Now, there are other ways of declaring… this is just one example.  There are also several ways of resolving ties in the case of a player going both ways.  In some games you loose everything if you are tied or beaten either way, and others allow you to tie and three quarter an opponent.1)A very good discussion of these rules can be found in the High-Low Split chapter of Doyle Brunson’s Super System written by David Sklansky.

“Just as ‘Caddy Blackjack’ differs
from the way it’s played in the
casino, so can the home game of poker.”

Casino poker is played in a poker room where one specific game is played at each table.  The players at the table can’t choose to play a different game than the one being spread.  For instance if you are sitting at a table where 7 card stud is being dealt, and you wish to play some Omaha hi-lo 8 or better, you will have to find a table where that game is being spread. 

As you can see, once you seat yourself at the game of your choice in the casino you are going to play that game until you change tables.  In the private game you are going to be faced with playing different games every hand.  In my opinion you must be a much more rounded player than in the casino game if you expect to be a steady winner and supplement your income from poker.   There are many other things that you must concentrate on in the private game.  Some people play that 6,4,3,2,A2)Also known as a 6-4 low. is the best low and on the very next hand the dealer may announce 5,4,3,2,A3)Also known as the “wheel”. is the best low.

Now, many people will establish strict rules as far as what is the best low.  I say let them announce whatever they wish!  I can make a lot more money from players mistakes, because between hands as the dealer is announcing his game there are always people talking with one another or just not paying attention.  They are playing a hand thinking 6,4,3,2,A is the best when a wheel has been announced as the best low.  Instead of winning only the high side, I can scoop the whole pot by declaring both ways. 

I approach a poker game in a different manner than a lot of other folks do.  I hear people say they are there for a night out and a good time cause they like to play poker.  If they win fine.  I like that type of attitude, it’s just one that I don’t share.  To me, poker is hard work, as I try to play my best game at all times.  I am always looking to collect as many chips as I can squeeze out of each hand I am involved in.  I am always up to the challenge when I sit down in any game.  I’m there to make the money.  If I have a good time in the process, all the better!

I do play poker in casinos, but I prefer to play in private games because I usually play in games where I know everyone and their style of play.  I can find a game every night of the week if I want to play, and never have to drive more than 10 miles.

I play in a game every week that has been going on since 1981.  Except for myself and one other person, the faces at the table have changed many times.  To play in this game a person has to be recommended by one of the other players.  He is told before he comes to play that we are not looking for a one time player.  He has to be committed to setting that night aside each week to play the game.  He or she is also told of the financial risk involved so they aren’t surprised by coming with a short bankroll.  After the first night of play that person is voted in or out of the game by all of the other players.  This game won’t even accept a replacement if a person is ill.  They just play short handed.  It takes too much time to explain all the rules, etc., for the game to run smooth.

The game runs from 6pm to midnight.  No one comes late or leaves early.  Your bankroll is at risk for 6 hours in this game.  We start the deal with the same person each week, and at midnight we end with the person seated to the right of the person who dealt the first hand, so everyone deals the same number of hands. 

I don’t know why, but most people that play poker, men especially, tend to have big egos.  Most men think they are good poker players.  Just ask them!  I’ve seen new players in the game try to run over a couple of our female players only to be sucked-in, outwitted and trounced by superior play.  Some of the people in this game play three or four days a week, and have years of experience.

One play comes to mind.  The game is 5 card stud hi-low declare with one re-buy.  The game is 8 handed.  Six people call the first bet.  Cards are dealt, betting and raising brings it to 5 handed.  Again the cards are dealt.  A player with a queen showing bets and is raised by Mr. Ego, who shows a K,10,7 and is re-raised by our Lady who shows A,4,7.  Everyone calls.  On the last up card the player with the queen catches a blank.  Ditto for Mr. Ego, and the other two.  Our lady who is dealing catches another Ace.  She bets, everyone folds except Mr. Ego.  Now its time for the re-buy. He buys, throws away the 7 and catches another blank.  She throws her chips in for the re-buy, tosses one of the Aces and draws a 6!  He starts raving about why she threw a sure winner for half the pot away.  They declare.  They both declare high!  Mr. Ego turns over a king for a pair, as our Lady turns over an Ace, scoops the pot, and says “I’d much rather win the whole pot than half of it!!”  That’s right, she threw trips away.

[ Copyright © 1994 – 2020 All Rights Reserved ]
[ This article was originally published in the Fall 1994 issue of Blackjack Review magazine. ]

About Yancy Howard

Yancy Howard is the pseudonym for Dick Buechler – a successful poker player and blackjack card counter originally from Salem, New Jersey.  He comments that he learned about advantage play in the United States Marines where he was a Gunnery Sergeant during the Vietnam war era.  A former professional Heliarc (TIG) Welder and instructor, he now enjoys traveling the world in his retirement. 

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BLACKJACK VERSUS POKER (PART 1)
BLACKJACK VERSUS POKER (PART 2)

Footnotes

Footnotes
1A very good discussion of these rules can be found in the High-Low Split chapter of Doyle Brunson’s Super System written by David Sklansky.
2Also known as a 6-4 low.
3Also known as the “wheel”.

Why Slots and Blackjack Make Best Tandem Play Buddies

Online GamblingBy Thomas Smith

There are many games available in the casino. You will find a range of slots, table games, and instant games, to mention a few. Which games you want to play depends on you, but the choices are very different.

Online casino games differ widely in terms of looks, rewards, RTP1)Return to Player (RTP) is a term used by online casino operators to describe the percentage of the total money wagered on a specific type of slot or game that will be paid back to players over time.  It is in this area that advantage players have attempted to exploit., volatility, house edge, and a lot more. No two games are the same. That’s why it does not make sense for you to narrow down on one option. The pro way to enjoy your online gaming experience is to dabble in two different games. In this article, we will show you why you need to play slots and blackjack in tandem.

Features of blackjack

Blackjack is entirely different from slot machine games. This is a card game that you play against the dealer. There are many variations of blackjack which you can play. These have generally the same rules but vary in the number of decks used. 

Another apparent difference between blackjack and slots is that the former is not one hundred per cent a pure chance game. There are skills you can learn that will give you a better outcome in this game. Mastering basic blackjack strategy has been widely accepted as a way to better your odds. Professional players also take things a little further. Skills like counting cards will elevate your winning chances even more. 

Features of slot machine games

Slots are designed with online casino players in mind. Many can’t help but admire the variety of themes in which you will find slots. There is a slot theme for every aspect that has defined popular culture. Songs, bands, movies, TV shows, sports, you name it. These have all been adapted to the small screen.

You need not be a slot geek to understand this game. In fact, there is no strategy involved when you play. Slots are like throwing a coin in the air. There is no way you can train yourself to get heads only, it’s impossible. This is what makes this game so appealing. You will not find it difficult to grasp and master how it’s played. 

Many features make it easy to play slots without too much exertion. Many titles that you will find in slots not registered with GamStop sites have an autoplay feature. This allows you to set the number of spins you want to take in advance. You can also set a stop loss when playing slots. These two features allow you to punch in your settings and let it rip.2)GamStop is a free independent self-exclusion scheme in the United Kingdom for people with online gambling problems. Gamblers register their details and choose how long they want to be banned for.  Then, they should not be able to logon to gambling websites.

Why slots and blackjack go together 

If you look at it, it’s the perfect marriage of opposites. The differences of these games make them the best fit for tandem play. If they were too similar, there was no way one could achieve this. Let’s show you what we mean. 

Playing slots does not require much. All you need to do is press play, and the RNG3)A RNG is a Random Number Generator.  The generation of pseudo-random numbers is an important and common task in computer programming. does the rest. You can go through a dozen spins in seconds. Blackjack on the other hand takes some effort. The length of each round depends on how many players are at the table. So it makes sense for a 21 player to enjoy a few spins in between hands.

If you are going to play blackjack successfully, you need to make sure you are focused. You are playing the perfect basic strategy and maybe keeping an eye on the count. All this can have a toll of the mind. The best way to release that stress is to play a “no-brainer.” This is what you have in slot machine games. You need not make too much of an effort here. You even have a catchy soundtrack to help you loosen up. 

Playing just slot machine games can quickly become monotonous and tedious. You are repeating the same action over and over again. Try doing that for two hours nonstop and you will understand what we mean. Blackjack is an excellent way to break the monotony. Here you have a game where you need to think and no hand is the same. 

Casino games are a great way to enjoy your free time. Too many times players feel the need to pick between games like slots and blackjack. The best way, however, is to take a crack at both of them.

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Footnotes

Footnotes
1Return to Player (RTP) is a term used by online casino operators to describe the percentage of the total money wagered on a specific type of slot or game that will be paid back to players over time.  It is in this area that advantage players have attempted to exploit.
2GamStop is a free independent self-exclusion scheme in the United Kingdom for people with online gambling problems. Gamblers register their details and choose how long they want to be banned for.  Then, they should not be able to logon to gambling websites.
3A RNG is a Random Number Generator.  The generation of pseudo-random numbers is an important and common task in computer programming.

An Online Blackjack Strategy Guide

Online blackjack for real moneyBy Zachary Gleason

 INTRODUCTION

Blackjack is one of the most common games you can play for real-money at land-based and online casinos. The fact that online blackjack features a low house edge, and great odds, makes it a favorite attraction among players.

The objective is pretty straightforward. All you need to do is get a hand total of 21 or close to it without going bust. The more reason why Internet blackjack appeals to gamblers is that you play only against the dealer and not other players. This further reduces the house edge of the game.

However, even with the benefits the game offers, you need a good strategy to maximize your chances. This is because blackjack is a game of skill based on mathematical rules. The fastest way to increase your bankroll and reduce your loss while playing blackjack is by adopting the right blackjack strategy.

A perfect blackjack strategy guide helps players make their decision based on their hand total and the dealer’s up-card. Since it covers basic moves, a blackjack strategy guide is usually simple to learn and understand.

Let’s look at how to win online blackjack using several basic tactics and approaches.

A Basic Blackjack Strategy To Increase Your Odds

A basic blackjack strategy gives you an advantage over the house and more favorable odds while playing the game. It simply involves a set of rules that tells you when to carry out four main blackjack moves:

  • Hit- Request for an additional card
  • Stand- You are okay with your cards and do not want another.
  • Double Down- Double the amount of your initial bet and get an additional card.
  • Split- Split two cards of the same value on two hands, which will automatically double your bet.

Also:

  • Surrender- Some blackjack games also allow you to give up your hand and lose half of your bet.
  • Insurance- An optional side bet when the dealer shows an Ace up. You can wager up to half of your original bet.  If the dealer reveals a ten-valued card under their Ace you will win double your bet.

Here are some essential online blackjack tips to maximize your chances:

  • Always split Aces and Eights.
  • Play only games that support the dealer stands on soft 17 rule.
  • Take advantage of correct soft doubling when you have an ace against dealer’s low cards.
  • It is often correct to stand when your hand could bust and the dealer has a high card showing.
  • Never split 10s.
  • Do not take the insurance bet when offered. It is a sucker bet.
  • Memorize and use a valid blackjack strategy chart for the game you are playing.
  • Go for blackjack games that pay 3:2 rather than games that only pay 6:5.
  • Single deck blackjack games can be more rewarding, however, be aware that most, if not all, single deck games only pay 6:5 on a blackjack.

ARE THEY SAFE AND FAIR

Generally, online blackjack real money games are safe to play and are not rigged. However, much depends on the online casino you are playing at.

When you play at a trustworthy and reliable casino that upholds fair play, you can be sure that all the games available at the casino, including blackjack 24/7, are safe.

Below are some pointers that show that an online casino is safe to play blackjack for real money.

  • The casino is licensed and regulated by reputable authorities.
  • The casino makes use of top-notch software and offers several variations of blackjack.
  • The online casino has a stellar reputation online with a track record of positive reviews.
  • The casino upholds fair play through the use of RNGs.1)A RNG is a Random Number Generator.
  • There are security encryptions in place on the site that protects players’ funds and personal information.
  • The casino features a fast payout and offers several cash-out methods for easy withdrawal.
  • The online casino is registered with a third party gaming organization like eCOGRA. 2)eCOGRA is an internationally approved testing agency and player protection and standards organization. The company was established in 2003 in the United Kingdom and introduced the first formal self-regulation program to the online gambling industry in 2003.

DOES CARD COUNTING WORK ON GAMBLING SITES?

Card Counting is a casino card game strategy used to predict the next hand based on the remaining number of cards in the deck. The strategy is used primarily in blackjack, however, it is generally not applicable or usable online.

You can’t use card counting in online blackjack or other online casino games generally because of low deck penetration. Online casinos use a continuous card shuffling software algorithm that quickly and automatically reshuffles the shoe after each hand is played. This results in no deck penetration or low percentage of cards dealt, making it very difficult and almost impossible for you to count cards.

LIVE BLACKJACK GAMES

Live blackjack allows you to enjoy online gambling blackjack with a real dealer in real-time. Right on your device, you would be able to enjoy a physical casino experience through the exclusive features live blackjack games provide.

Some of them include a live blackjack dealer dealing and shuffling, an actual blackjack table, and real decks.

Live blackjack variations also feature live chat, enabling you to chat with the dealer and other player’s at the table while playing blackjack in real-time.

Live blackjack game-play is similar to traditional online blackjack; the only difference is that the dealer and some of the game’s props are real and in real-time.

You will find several live blackjack variations available at online casinos. Most popular variants include; Live Blackjack Party, VIP Live Blackjack, Infinite Blackjack, Free Bet Blackjack, and Perfect Blackjack.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

Online Blackjack is a fun and exciting game to play for real money. However, the game requires some skill if you are to have any chance. If you want to know how to beat online blackjack, it is necessary that, as a minimum, you learn a basic blackjack strategy.

A good blackjack strategy not only contains information on how to play blackjack online but also gives you tips to maximize your bankroll at the casino.  Even if you understand the basic blackjack strategy, you need to be sure that when you play and win, you would be able to withdraw your funds easily. That’s why it’s vital to play only at safe and legitimate casinos.

Safe online casinos also ensure that your private information is kept safe, and you have a secure and enjoyable online experience playing blackjack.

When playing online blackjack for real money, gamble responsibly and avoid chasing your losses. Fix a time and budget for your online play, and whether you are losing or winning, stick to your fixed budget.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Zachary Gleason is an online casino enthusiast and player that researches and writes about the market on his blog Legitimate Casino. He uses his casino knowledge to help players get the best possible experience with his insights and passion.

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Footnotes

Footnotes
1A RNG is a Random Number Generator.
2eCOGRA is an internationally approved testing agency and player protection and standards organization. The company was established in 2003 in the United Kingdom and introduced the first formal self-regulation program to the online gambling industry in 2003.

12 Legendary Blackjack Players

12 Legendary Blackjack PlayersBy Jonathan Roob

Blackjack, formerly called Black Jack and Vingt-Un, is an American member of a global family of banking games known as Twenty-One. It involves comparing cards between a player and a dealer. The goal of the player is to beat the dealer by obtaining a hand of 21 or less or allowing the dealer to bust over 21. Blackjack is considered the most widely played casino banking game globally.

The experts stated here below have all made an impact on the world through the game.

  1. Bryce Carlson
Bryce Carlson had always wanted to beat the casinos and for that reason, he began playing the game. He got better by smartly playing with other players that he met and developing a strong relationship with other experts.

Carlson wrote one of the best books on blackjack and titled it, Blackjack for Blood. He also developed a sophisticated blackjack and card counting computer program called the Omega II Blackjack Machine.

  1. Lance Humble
Lance Humble, aka Igor Kusyszyn, started as a teacher at York University in Toronto. His course was supposed to be about horse racing, but the students seemed more interested in learning about the games at casinos. So he started to do some research of his own.

Soon he became well versed in the game of blackjack and he was able to make a profit with his new skills. So he decided this game was for him and decided to continue to hone his skills. He wrote a book with Kenneth Cooper titled The Worlds Greatest Blackjack Book. He is most well known for his development of the Hi-Opt I and Hi-Opt II card counting systems.

  1. Arnold Snyder
Arnold Snyder is one of the best blackjack players in the world and an expert teacher in the field. He wrote several outstanding books that relate to the game of blackjack and published Blackjack Forum magazine for over 20 years.

Arnold also developed software called PowerSim Blackjack Card Counting Simulation Software that helped players learn all the basics of the game. It is available to players who need to learn how to play the game free of charge. A 2003 member of the Blackjack Hall of Fame.

  1. Stanford Wong

Born in Georgia during World War II, Wong’s real name is John Ferguson. He always loved games and always tried to figure out a way to beat the games using different tactics. He was not interested in competing with other people until he had figured out the best way to win on his own first.

After turning 21, he went to Reno and kept making trips to other casinos playing blackjack professionally. Wong is best known for publishing the card counter’s resource Current Blackjack News and several excellent blackjack books. A 2003 member of the Blackjack Hall of Fame.

  1. Ken Uston

Ken stumbled into the game accidentally. He was never interested in playing cards until the day he decided to make changes in his life.

One night after work, Ken met Al Francesco, who got him introduced to blackjack. Soon he tried out his skills in small games until he became an expert in Las Vegas. When he saw the amount of money he could gain playing this game, he quit his job and played full time. Uston and his teams won millions in Las Vegas and Atlantic City casinos during the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. A 2003 member of the Blackjack Hall of Fame.

  1. Keith Taft
Keith Taft is renowned for the first blackjack computer in 1972. He produced lots of electronic ways for players to beat the game. This included smaller calculating machines and cameras, used to see the dealer’s hole cards. At the time, these devices were used legally to beat the casinos through 1985.

Keith worked alongside Ken Uston in a team to test his devices. A 2004 member of the Blackjack Hall of Fame.

  1. Edward O. Thorp
Edward Thorp is the author of the book Beat the Dealer and several blackjack card counting systems. His book is considered a classic and revealed for the first time that the game could be beaten. Most professional players have read his book and used his card counting system at some point.

Thorp is considered by many as the “inventor” of card counting. A 2003 member of the Blackjack Hall of Fame.

  1. Lawrence Revere

Unlike most other players on the list, Revere began his run on the other side of the table. He started dealing cards at the age of 13 and he fell in love with gambling. Revere was a leading blackjack expert during the 1960’s and early 1970’s and wrote the classic book Playing Blackjack as a Business, which provided players with the first color blackjack basic strategy charts. For many years, this book has been the inspiration for many card counters to start a blackjack career.

He later began work at the casinos as a dealer before going on to be a pit boss and eventually owned a personal casino. A 2005 member of the Blackjack Hall of Fame.

  1. Al Francesco
Al Francesco went by several aliases. Some people knew him as Frank Fisano, others knew him as Frank Salerno or Frank Schipani. Francesco made his mark in the world of blackjack as the “Godfather of Blackjack”.

He established the first profitable blackjack teams, thus pioneering the concept of blackjack team play. Players were grouped into different teams and they would gather their bankrolls together to play, and in time, he had developed several techniques like the “Big player” concept and “The Drop”.

Blackjack players adopted Francesco’s techniques and won lots of money in casinos with them. The most prominent was a team of MIT students. Francesco also mentored several big names in blackjack like Ken Uston and many others. Francesco was inducted into the Blackjack Hall of Fame in 2003, to commemorate his incredible talent and daring moves.

  1. Ian Andersen
Ian Andersen is a blackjack star. The renowned author is known for his all-time classic books Turning the Tables on Las Vegas and Burning the Tables in Las Vegas. He has kept his real identity a secret from everyone and has remained anonymous to this day. Ian Andersen was an alias he adopted.

He wrote Turning the Tables on Las Vegas in 1976, and in the book he described several techniques to help card counters disguise their skills from casino bosses. In 1999, he published the sequel Burning the Tables in Las Vegas, in which he proposed a risky betting strategy called the The Ultimate Gambit, which helped card counters increase longevity at the tables. Andersen was a master at blackjack camouflage betting and behavior decisions. A 2012 member of the Blackjack Hall of Fame.

  1. Tommy Hyland
Tommy Hyland is a professional blackjack card counter and player. He once stated that he began playing blackjack in 1976, after reading Lawrence Revere’s book Playing Blackjack as a Business.

He began playing blackjack in 1979, and shortly after that, playing and managing blackjack teams was his full-time job. Hyland started his career with an initial team of three other players where each team member put $4,000 into the team’s bankroll; which multiplied to $50,000 in a couple of months.

Thanks to “Early Surrender,” the new rule introduced by the Atlantic City casinos, gave experienced players like Hyland a significant edge. Soon after Hyland’s first-team collapsed, he formed another team, recruiting and training new players for his team.

Hyland turned out to be an excellent team manager. Sometimes his team had up to 30 members and he managed them as well as he managed a team of four players. Hyland’s team is still active today. A 2003 member of the Blackjack Hall of Fame.

  1. Don Johnson

Some people see Don Johnson (not the actor) as a genius while others say he is a demi-god. Well, they could be right as he has a rich resume that speaks for itself. He is a corporate executive, a professional gambler, and a blackjack player who doesn’t count cards.

He won Atlantic City casinos for over $15 million without card counting. He exploited loss rebates to gain an advantage over the casino. For his bold tactics to beat the game, he was inducted into Blackjack Hall of Fame in 2017.

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The Psychology of Blackjack: How to Beat Yourself

Blackjack can be stressfulBy Tom Roberts

Blackjack is an exciting game played by millions of people worldwide. Many fans have come up with different strategies of how to win at this game. These tend to vary widely, but the ones that have received the biggest audience are card counting and perfect basic blackjack strategy. There are blackjack professionals who swear by these tactics, and for good reason. Evidence is available which agrees with the efficacy of these methods. But there is an element of the game of blackjack that is often overlooked.

Beating the dealer

Too much emphasis has been placed on the rules of blackjack. These state, to win you must beat the dealer. You can do this by getting a natural blackjack or if the dealer busts. You can also win the game if you get closer to 21 than the dealer without going over. So what players usually do is memorize the basic blackjack strategy. This is a probability-based system of telling if you will win depending on the card values. Professional blackjack players take it a step further and learn card counting. Research has shown this to drastically reduce the house edge. It effectively gives you better chances of winning. 

Many think the game of blackjack is based on skill. The skills you need to learn usually leave out the most important one. This is learning how to not beat yourself.

Beating yourself 

There are a lot of ups and downs when you are playing a game like blackjack. It’s like a soccer final where a team equalizes in the 90th minute, only to concede in the 91st. These roller-coaster highs and lows can affect how you play. There are two stages in a game in which you need to take extra care. One of these is when you are enjoying a good run and it seems everything you are doing is working out. You need to be careful of that euphoria. It can lead you to make poor decisions.  

Beating yourself also includes when the chips are down, you are enduring loss after loss, and nothing seems to be working. The way you handle yourself in these circumstances can decide if you go home with earnings or not. But how do you do it and can it be done at all? The short answer is yes, it is possible. 

Keep a cool head 

A wise man once said you must treat attaining vast sums of money with the same contempt as you would lack. The lesson here is not to hate getting wealthy, but to recognize that it is a fleeting stage and will pass with time. The same is true when you are mastering blackjack. You need to be indifferent to the wins and losses. That is the only way you can succeed. No loss is the end of the world and you are not the first person to win a hand in blackjack. So keeping a cool head is one key to playing like a pro. 

If you feel you are not ready, a great place to master self-discipline is through free play games. These are available at online casinos such as www.gamble.xyz. Take your time on these and don’t shy away from familiarizing yourself with the live table options. 

Assess your games

You also need to develop a habit of assessing your plays. If you take the time to do this, you will recognize massive benefits in the long run. Mastering yourself is a skill just like card counting. How do you learn card counting? Over time with patience, that’s how. So the same soberness and dedication to the task are required if you are to master yourself. You cannot play blackjack effectively until you do this.

Learn to walk away

Many people take walking away as a sign of giving up, of defeat even. This couldn’t be further from the truth, in life and in blackjack. Some of your greatest battles will be won the day you learn to walk away. Accept that it is not your day and move on. In war, they call it living to fight another day. The game will always be there, but your bankroll might not. So walk away, reassess and come back next time bright-eyed and ready to play. 

Learning how to master yourself is just as important as learning to count cards.  There is no difference. In any case, all the fancy tactics will not do you any good if you don’t have discipline.

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Online Blackjack Strategies For Players In 2021

By Jacek Michałski

Blackjack is one of the most popular games available in online casinos in the modern world. The game has a rich history, but gone are the days when it was mostly available in American casinos as it is now available worldwide. It is also one of the best online strategy games.

Some of the questions that run through the minds of newbies are: Can one make money playing online blackjack? Are there strategies for blackjack online that will increase the chances of winning? The answer to both questions is yes.

When Casino Games expert, Jacek Michałski, is not playing blackjack online, then you will find him gathering information on how to win in an online casino. Let’s have a look at this handy guide the author has compiled for players in search of the various blackjack strategies.

Online Blackjack Strategies

The different variants on online blackjack

Someone who has never played in a casino online PL might tend to think that all blackjack games are the same, which is not true. There are different variants that you have to familiarize yourself with and increase your chances of winning.

We recommend you get acquainted with the rules before you start gambling. Learning mobile play strategies and understanding the variants of online blackjack also makes it easy to understand what to expect when you land in a casino.

Classic Live Blackjack

It can be described as the basis of this popular game. Classic live blackjack is played on a classic table and comes with a deck of 52 cards. A player will win when he or she has more points than the dealer at the end of the round of play. However, the points should not exceed 21 points and if the player goes over 21 he or she will automatically lose. If the dealer goes over 21 and the player remains with a non-busted hand, then the player will automatically win.

Pre-Decision Blackjack

This online version can be described as a game of speed. It follows similar rules to other versions but players do not have to wait until their turn to make a move.

Atlantic City Live Blackjack

The player can exit the round (surrender) directly after receiving two cards from the live dealer. This option is the main difference between the Atlantic City version of the game and classic blackjack. Surrender is a desirable player rule.

Party Blackjack

This version can have two or three live dealers. However, the player will only deal with one dealer.

Blackjack Side Bets

These blackjack games have additional options to make side wagers. Of course, most blackjack games offer insurance, which is also a side bet. But we are referring to side bets such as Royal Match, Super Sevens, Bonus Blackjack, Perfect Pairs, etc. Be careful though: Most side bets have a high percentage edge against you but a larger payoff if you win.

Spanish 21 and Other Variants

These blackjack games vary and have unique rules and conditions. For example, in Spanish 21, all of the tens have been removed but some of the rules will have been improved to make the game playable.

Stack of Chips and a Pair of Aces

Understand it is a simple game but strategy wins

Most people who visit an online casino rely on luck when they are playing blackjack. The fact that the casino’s advantage over the player is lower than in other online games seems attractive to players. However, you need more than luck to increase your chances of winning.  Keep on reading to learn the basics of winning blackjack play!

Multideck Basic StrategyOnline blackjack basics

  • A player competes against the house and the aim here is to beat the dealer by scoring closer to 21 points (without busting) than the dealer or allowing the dealer to bust.
  • The game is played between one and eight decks of 52 cards.
  • Kings, Queens, and Jacks are worth 10 points.
  • Cards from 2 to 10 are played at their face value.
  • Aces are worth 1 or 11 (depending on how you want to play your hand)
  • A blackjack (an Ace + Ten valued card) can pay either 3 to 2 or 6 to 5. Obviously, it is better to play in games where blackjacks pay 3 to 2.

Player options

  • Ask for one or more cards if you think it is appropriate and will improve your hand.
  • You can stand with any 2 cards, however, it is often advisable to stand when the dealer has a small card (2-6) and you have a 12-16, thus hoping the dealer will bust (go over 21).
  • When you have a soft hand (Ace + any other card), it is often advisable to double when the dealer has a small card.
  • You can split any two identical cards and then play with two hands, at the same time, in the normal way.
  • Splitting can be very advantageous in the right circumstances, especially if the dealer has a small card showing.
  • You can double your bet when you have advantageous hands like 9, 10 and 11 and especially so if the dealer is showing a small card.
  • Always stand on your hand once you have a hard total of 17.

Conclusion

For better information on specific player strategies, refer to the blackjack basic strategies in the Encyclopedia of Blackjack on this web site. Also, a more detailed description of blackjack rules and options is available. Following these strategies for online blackjack or even counting cards is not a win guarantee. However, if you use the strategies listed here you may increase your odds of winning and enjoy the game more.  Also, don’t forget to take advantage of any online casino promotions and/or bonuses that may be offered when you first sign up!

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Bill Zender’s Newsletter and the Buster Blackjack Side bet

The Bill Zender Newsletter

Bill Zender and Associates

October 29, 2020

Dear Friends and Business Associates,

As the pandemic continues, I have had to change my way of conducting business.  In the last few months, I have gravitated towards conducting more business online.  This includes providing short training session presentations through Internet medias such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom, and a high limit winning player analyses over WebEx.  This process works effectively, but I believe that offering my services in person is the best method for providing project quality.  With that said, following are some of the “virtual” services that I am currently providing to my clients and casino operators seeking my help and knowledge:

Sessions on basic table game mathematics; understanding mathematical house advantage of the different table games and side bets, as well as understanding the mechanics behind game hold percentage.  I have taught this topic as a one-hour session. I have found that split sessions of one-hour each with a 15-minute break in between is more productive (total time 2-hours and 15 minutes).

A series of sessions on card counting in blackjack.  These sessions include (1) Basics of card counting, (2) Understanding Basic and common strategy, (3) Detecting card counting from the casino floor, and (4) Confirming card counting from surveillance.  Each session is one-hour and would be accompanied by handouts and informative charts and spreadsheets.

Conducting Winning Player reviews and evaluations.  All I require is the ability to review portions of the player’s video and a PDF of the player’s gaming hand tracking sheet records.  I have found that conducting player reviews over the Internet is quite efficient if I have access to view video and review hand tracking information.  If you have a customer who is continually beating your game, I can provide you with an expert’s “second” opinion.

In addition, I have accurate information on COVID-19 and procedures for the casino.  If handled correctly and consistently, procedures can be established to make the casino a very safe environment for both the customers and employees.   I can provide your organization with a virtual presentation or assist in compiling safe and adequate COVID procedures.

BTW, on November 17th from 1100am to noon EST, I will be giving a one-hour presentations at this year’s BNP Media’s Table Game Cutting Edge (Virtual) Conference (please see the information below).  The topic presented will include the effect rules changes have on the game, procedures, and side bets and how these changes effluence table game hold percentage.  I feel this presentation is a must for any casino executive involved in table games.  This session is more advanced than my standard table game courses.  At this time, I will only have this presentation available through BNP Media. 

If anyone is interested in any of these presentations and/or winning player reviews, please feel free in contacting me at [email protected] or 702-423-5734.  My prices are extremely reasonable at this time.

Email

Interesting Emails

Over the past month I only received one interesting question regarding table games that I wish to pass along to my readers.  The question has to do with protecting the Buster side bet from card counting attack.  A lot of game protection professional try and apply a blackjack count system to all aspects of the game including side bets.  In some situations, the object of the side bet is parallel to the primary game which dictates that higher value cards (specifically ten-value cards) are important to the players successful wager outcome.  However, many of the side bets are NOT designed to follow the object of the main game, and to successfully attack those side bet, a totally different count system needs to be employed.  This is the case with the Buster sidebet.  The following email outlines this exact situation:

Executive’s Email

In the past month or so we’ve experienced a rash of card counters at our property. What makes this all the more intriguing is that three out of the last four have wagered on the Buster Bet side wager upon the count hitting -4 or below. Is this anything you’ve come across recently? The last two using this strategy I asked if they had any information for me, realizing that they didn’t owe me a thing, one of which let me know that it was -5 but he had no mathematical evidence to back this. Only that he had been told to do so.  I read Eliot Jacobson’s two articles in AP HEAT, but this was far more advanced and was hoping to discover something easier to train, if it existed. Any insight would be welcome, as usual. 

My Reply

First off, counting the Buster side bet requires a different count system than the main game of BJ.  If you count using a hi/lo system, you will notice that side bet counters of Buster would bet in a negative hi/lo true count.  The Buster count system usually has the 7,8,9,T labeled as +1 when removed, and cards like A,2,3 labeled as -2 (or greater).  The system used depends on your pay schedule, but the count labels will vary only slightly.  In addition, pay schedules that pay 3:1 for busts with four cards are more likely to get attacked.  With that said, the return for the player counting the Buster is not as good compared to counting the main game.  I would assume the maximum bet limit on the Buster would have to be greater than $25 if it is the primary area of attack.  If the players are professional level counters then they could be attacking the main game using a hi/lo (or similar) count system, and have another person on the table or standing behind, counting the Buster using the Buster count system as mentioned above (signaling to the others).  My two cents on the situation.  I hope that helps.

My reply to this casino executive is based mostly on supposition, since I am not observing the play directly but analyzing it though the executive’s narrative.  As mentioned in the reply, the Buster is only vulnerable when the maximum bet limit exceeds $25, and when the pay schedule indicates a four-card bust pays at least 3:1.  Also, it goes without saying that a double deck Buster game is more attractive than a six or eight deck game under the same limits and pay schedule.  Any comments regarding attacking the Buster side bet are welcomed. Email me at: [email protected]

Scheduled Seminars and Workshop

Bill Zender SpeakingTable Games Cutting Edge Conference (Virtual) November 17th

How rules, procedures, and side bets effect table game hold percentage

Tuesday November 17th online from 11AM – Noon EST
At this year’s BNP Media’s Cutting Edge Table Games Virtual Conference I will be seated comfortably (and safely) in my own home.

Hold percentage is the primary measurement used by upper management to gauge table game performance. Do you know the factors that influence whether your hold percentage is respectable or terrible? In this 60-minute session you will learn how the number of hand decisions and wagering spots influences hold percentage (and win). How changing game rules alters the hold percentage range, and why adding side bets is so important. You will also come away with an understanding of “buy-in churn” (number of times the player’s buy-in is placed in action), and how it has a substantial effect on your hold percentage. This session is a “must” for anyone involved in table game management.  Here are the topics I will be discussing during the 1-hour presentation:

  1. The basics: How hold percentage is calculated based on table win and drop.
  2. Effect of gaining more decisions per hour: More revenue (win) same drop.
  3. Effect of offering “less” betting spots: Hold% goes up, but revenue goes down.
  4. Effect of rule changes: Do minor rule changes effect hold%; what about major rule changes?
  5. Effect of utilizing side bets: Side bets reduce decisions but increase revenue potential.
  6. Effect of buy-in churn: What effect does time on table have on hold% (and revenue).

For more information please go to the website https://www.casinojournal.com/table-games-conference/agenda

On the MoveOn the Move

Since I’m sheltering in place right now, I’m not on the move.  No one’s on the move.  I plan to get back on track sometime after the first of the year (and a successful vaccine!).  Call or email me! 702-423-5734and [email protected].
 
Questions???
 
I am always available to answer your questions. If you have any questions on gaming; do not hesitate to contact me through email.  I answer emails about gaming every day[email protected]I really am here to help.
 
Cheers, good luck, and stay safe!
 
Bill Zender
Bill Zender and Associates
[email protected]
702-423-5734

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