Sunday, January 27, 2008

Blackjack Versus Poker

Blackjack has always rivaled poker for popularity. In fact, many land-based casinos featured Blackjack over poker. Some casinos in the not so distant past even closed their poker rooms for lack of activity.

Since the advent of televised poker tournaments, like the World Poker Tour, and the World Series of Poker, in particular, replete with celebrity players and fabulous amounts of prize money awarded the tournament champions, poker has taken the world by storm.

Although Blackjack remained highly popular, the game was surely being overshadowed by the multitude of high-profile poker tournaments. Not any more. The Ultimate Blackjack Tour for example, may be hot on the heels of the WSOP tour's popularity, since the UBT will feature not only the best Blackjack players, but championship-level poker players as well.

Although the basic principle of Blackjack is simple; card values are added in an attempt to reach twenty-one without going over, the game is not purely one of luck, as there are numerous strategies that can be employed to increase one's chances of winning.

Although various card games similar to what we now know as Blackjack had been played in other countries for many years, Blackjack did not make an appearance in American casinos until a few years prior to WW I. Played as a private game until around 1915, Blackjack was known by it's French name of "Vingt-Un, (twenty-one). The game became "Blackjack" when the casinos established bonus payouts if a player's first two cards dealt were a Black Jack (spades or clubs), and an Ace of Spades.

In the early 1930's Blackjack had increased it's popularity among gamblers to the point that it was now the third most popular game played, second only to Roulette and Craps. Shortly after the end of WW II Blackjack's popularity soared, and the game was second in popularity only to Craps, it's rise largely attributed to returning American soldiers, who played the game most frequently as a diversion from the strife of the War years. By the early Fifties, Blackjack had become the most popular card game in the U.S.

Blackjack has evolved in the casinos, and having a "black" Jack and an Ace of Spades is no longer the sole means of getting Blackjack. Now, any ten-value card ( ten or face card ), and an Ace of any color gives one a "Blackjack".

Blackjack was hugely popular in the illegal casinos and card rooms of the U.S., but the game reached it's zenith when the State of Nevada legalized gambling within its borders in 1931. It was then that the game could be played by locals and visitors, as well as the professional gamblers that were once only able to ply their trade illegally.

A Brief Blackjack Glossary For The Beginner:

- Blackjack - Ten value card and an Ace
- Broke or Bust - Hand card value over 21
- Hit or Draw - Request for additional cards
- Splitting Pairs - Two of the same value cards "split" into separate hands
- Double-Down - Both cards turned face-up. One extra card dealt only.
- Stand/Stay/Stick - No additional cards requested
- Push - Player and dealer have the same value hand - no winner

Playing Blackjack - How to Finish as Winner

When playing blackjack there are going to be times when you can do no wrong. Your 16's draw out into 20's and 21's, every double down is a winner, blackjacks are coming like you are an ace magnet, and the dealer busts every time you need him to. You are feeling like a genius and the chips are piling up.

Times like these will not last forever. That is why you must play smart. Playing smart will ensure that you walk away a winner. You can do that by following these two proven method:

Maximize your winnings and Minimize your losses.

Maximize your winnings:

1) When you are winning, the most important thing to do is walk away a winner.

The worst possible feeling is to leave the table a loser after you have been up a lot of money.

When you are up by twenty units, put aside 10 units and play with the other ten units. Then if you get hit by a losing streak and lose the 10 units, you still walk away a winner. A unit = the amount that you art betting. 10 units x $5 = $50

2) Don't set a limit on your winning sessions.
If your winning streak continues, just keep putting aside your winnings. When you have lost your ten unit buffer, you will be able to walk away a winner, a big winner.

When you are on a winning streak and want to go for larger wins, you can increase the size of your bet. Just make sure not to go overboard and put your winnings at risk with a couple of big losses. Make moderate increases in the size of your bet.

One thing that you should not forget is, just because you have won four hands or more in a row, does not mean you will win the next hand. Only the odds of the game determine player's chances of winning a hand and not the outcome of the previous hand.

Minimize your losses:

The following guidelines will help save you money, a lot of money.

1) Limit your table losses to 20 units.
Say if you are betting $5 on every game then you should limit your loss to no more than $100 in any session. If you limit your losses and resist the temptation to chase your losses then you will avoid walking away a big loser. Do not be afraid to take a break and come back later.

2) Always keep your bet range within your bankroll.
Simply put, bet within your means. If you are a $5 player then don't start betting $25 chips and put your bankroll at risk.

3) Do not increase the size of your bet to try and break even. Just because you increase the size of your bets does not mean you will improve your chances of winning. Instead, you will put yourself at risk of losing even more money.

The truth is you can't win all the time. It just doesn't happen. But what you can ensure is, when you do lose, lose as little as possible. When you do win, win as much as possible. When you are successful at maximizing your winnings and minimizing your losses, you will be a consistent winner.

The Way To Win Blackjack Will Always Remain

One of the best ways of foreseeing the future is to understand the human nature. Our needs, hopes, problems and dreams are often the basis for our future making. The nature of the human being is one of the most important ingredients in a complicated gambling business. Each of the parties - a casino and a gambler, long to win money from each other. And the growing strain will determine the future of the game.

Blackjack before 1962:
Before publication of the classic book "Beat The Dealer" by Edward O. Thorp in 1962 no single player had ever suspected of such a thing as the Basic Strategy. Everyone used one's own mixture of superstitions concerning the way in which one or the other hand had to play. Plus, some experience gained while playing at home in the kitchen. Excluding a small number of professional card-players who intuitively presupposed that their overbalance would be more if there were more bowers left in a pack, practically none won in blackjack. Naturally, casinos felt quite comfortable under such conditions. Till 1962 blackjack was not very popular, though percentagewise the profit rate was exclusively high.

The next decade: from 1962 till 1972:
After publication of the book by Thorp the situation changed radically. When the book mounted the peak of sales, became a bestseller, and the professor Thorp became an internationally famous personality, casinos were terrified that thus everyone could learn the system of Thorp and would start beating casinos winning huge amounts of money.

The results of this panic are well-known. The majority of casinos cardinally changed the blackjack rules creating even a larger overbalance in comparison with the previous set of rules. These introductions were effective a few weeks only as the majority of casinos' clients simply refused to play a game with such bad rules. Subordinating to the law of supply and demand casinos had to quickly restore traditional rules for all. After this gamblers started immediately to play again, more than that in considerably larger quantities.

The popularity of Thorp's book played into the hands of casinos. Blackjack started to attract crowds of people who thought they could "beat a dealer" only after they had read one book.

But the fact remained that casinos' visitors continued to lose the same amounts of money while playing blackjack as before. Only the number of gamblers increased a hundred times. The majority of those who had read the book simply didn't understand the way the calculation of tens given in the book worked, and those who got to the bottom didn't take enough pains so as to master the system of calculation from A to Z. Casinos observed in surprise the incredibly increased profits.

Reedition of the book in 1966 gave a reader a simpler calculation system. Over that period of time a number of books on blackjack were published. The game gathered pace. Casinos were setting more and more tables. Blackjack was becoming the most popular game in casinos having outrun the previous leader craps.

Blackjack of the 70s:
The classic book "Playing Blackjack as a Business" by Lawrence Revere is responsible for further increase in popularity of the game in the 70s to a great extent. Revere published a shortened version of his systems at the beginning of 1969, but by 1972 already thousands of copies of the book were sold out. Revere republished an extended version of the book offering his simple and effective systems of the game which increased blackjack popularity even more.

Also the book "Winning Blackjack" by Stanley Roberts, was in the right place at the right time, in addition the author appeared in a number of radio and TV-shows. Roberts invested a considerable amount of money into advertising of his book making a splash.

Casinos were once again overcome by the fit of paranoia. They started to suspect that the systems developed with the help of research methods could considerably influence their profits. Casinos started to introduce a multi-pack blackjack instead of a one-pack blackjack to struggle against the system game.

At the beginning of the 70s a lot of scientists, mathematicians, university professors and other "intellectuals" started to write books about blackjack. Some of them developed their own cards' calculation systems. One of the most popular and effective systems - Hi-Opt I, was developed in 1974 with the help of computer programs created by Julian Brown with participation of an anonymous postgraduate of a large Canadian university.

A lot of professional gamblers transferred from the Revere system to the Hi-Opt I system because of the relative simplicity and effectiveness of the latter one. A lot of ordinary gamblers started to use the system together with the basic strategy. These two systems evidently made the biggest impact upon casinos' profits because of their use by professionals. Roberts' systems were more often used by amateurs.

Kenneth Uston, teams and Great Horror:
Kenneth Uston noticed sometime at the end of 1976 that he was amazed by the way how effective the simplest systems of Hi-Opt I type could be. In Uston's book "Big Player"the way how Uston and his companions won together more than a million of dollars playing blackjack is described. Later on his teams transferred from very complicated systems to the simplest of Hi-Opt I type. Uston was thrown out of a few big casinos of Las Vegas, and he filed lawsuit against them for a total amount of 80 million dollars.

With the arrival of Uston the whole new era of blackjack began. Casinos were once again frightened that teams could win huge amounts of money in blackjack. Nearly at once some casinos did away with a one- and two-pack blackjack transferring to 4-, 6- and 8-pack ones. For an average gambler blackjack became too difficult. Plus, casinos started to cut most cards out of play - to two packs. As has been mentioned by Roberts in one of his articles, such practice was at the very least doubtful. By the way, the fact itself of availability of cards which didn't enter the game caused new kinds of crooked gambling connected with withdrawal and addition of cards.

Casinos up to now change the number of packs and the extent of cutting, and compare levels of profits, thus balancing rules. In any case, rules are extremely difficult for gamblers in the USA, especially beginners.

The nightmare continues:
The funniest thing is that gamblers' thoughts are not rigid. Uston's teams were followed by Keith Taft with his pocket computer for blackjack which played better than any profs in the world. The court of Nevada State broke the record of the USA on the quickness of adoption of statute on use of computers in casinos. Up to five years with confiscation in the current situation, though Taft and his advocates were sure of the unconstitutionality of that law.

Forbade the computer? There appeared Tommy Hyland and his most complicated systems of tracking. A new headache for casinos... To worsen the cutting, introduce more packs and make the procedure of riffle even longer. To invent shuffle-machines!

Stanford Wong was the first to outwit these shuffle-machines. The most important thing was to know how they worked. Poor casinos didn't know what to do. These machines cost rather a lot.
Perhaps new varieties would help? Spanish 21, Super-fan 21, 6:5 blackjack, "Open" blackjack, Blackjack-switch, Pontoon... With every introduction there was one problem: either no one played it at all or profs immediately found the way to beat it. Tournaments? Old Wong created teams especially for tournament struggle. Every new rule was calculated and intensively looked into a week in advance. The development of the Internet caused quick information distribution.

Further on the whole pleiad of gamblers of the contemporary generation came on stage. Wong, Sneider, Anderson, Dogerty, Shlesinger and heaps of people who were occupied with theory and practical aspects of the game. Mathematical models of the game were worked out. Texts on Blackjack were published in scientific reviews.

Finally, up to the present moment a small number of professionals still win in blackjack. And will win in the future. Some profs transfer to more complicated systems which are plentiful (let's say, Hi-Opt II was published as far back as 1976). New methods and techniques are being developed.

There is no doubt that it will get still more and more difficult to win in blackjack. However, there difficulties only make gambling wits work harder and harder. Right away new game systems are being worked out in many heads and at many computers of the world.

It is important to understand that gamblers always have a hope. They can change games. They can finally read a textbook on the theory of probability. They can read the same books themselves. They can spend even more money on the newest technologies. However, I assure You, there will always be a way to beat them.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Playing Blackjack With Bad Players

The great majority of blackjack players simply hate playing with bad players. They hate playing with players who draw when they should stand or stand when they should draw. They especially hate it when the results of the poor player's decision cause their own hand to lose. So what is the best way to handle playing with bad players?

I frequently hear this complaint from players who describe how much money they lost because of the bad players at their blackjack table.

For some blackjack players, nothing is more annoying than sitting on the table with a 16 against the dealer's 5, and watching with horror as the third baseman draws on his own 14 - as opposed to standing and busts out with a 10. Meanwhile, the dealer flops over a 9 for a 14, and rather than drawing the 10 taken by the inept third baseman, proceeds instead to draw for a perfect 21, busting out the whole table and causing a rippling of mumbling and anger from the other players.

It is bad enough for the player holding the 15, how about the other player who holds a 20!

But you know what? It doesn't matter what any player does or how bad they are. It makes absolutely no difference to your chances of winning. Absolutely none. I personally couldn't care less if I was playing with a bunch of monkeys. And you should not care either!

In the long run, whether you have a good fundamentals blackjack player behind you or the village idiot who turns every hand into an adventure, the truth is that mathematically, this player has no effect on your winning or losing chances. This is a very important point and it needs repeating. Poor blackjack players have absolutely no effect on your chances of winning or losing.

Yes, you will always remember the bad decisions by a player that cost you money at the table. But do you remember the times when a player's poor decision making helped you to win a big hand? Most likely, you probably never even noticed when they helped you to win.

The truth is that it all equals out in the long run. The decisions made by the really bad players will help you out just as often as those decisions hurt you. You should just stop worrying about them. How could you possibly know what card they will take?

Your focus should be on following sound basic blackjack strategy. That is it. Block out what the other player does.

However, if you find that a really bad player disturbs your enjoyment of the game or your concentration then move to another table. If you are more worried about someone else's play than your own, obviously a change of scenery is in order.

About Online Blackjack Odds

Blackjack is one of the most popular card games played in casinos worldwide. It's no wonder that the game of Blackjack has been studied by many gambling professionals. Through this intense study methods have been revealed which allow players to subtly increase their odds while playing the game of Blackjack. Many people think that Blackjack is just another game of chance, like a slot machine or roulette, but this simply isn't the case. If you compare the odds of blackjack to other casino games that you will run into, you will find that the odds of blackjack are much better.

The blackjack card game is very popular worldwide, and some speculate that it may just be the most popular card game ever. Blackjack is enjoyed by people in nearly every casino worldwide, and even played by many religiously online. Blackjack websites have grown in number over the years, and can offer a convenient place to play or just go for a few practice hands.

What has made blackjack such a popular card game? One of the main reasons is that when blackjack is played properly, the house has an edge of a little less than 1%. When you compare this number to other table games at the casino, you can see that the odds of winning with Blackjack are much higher than anything else.

With these kinds of odds, why are casinos still making money with Blackjack and not losing it? Basically, it´s because most players who play Blackjack don´t play the game properly or well enough to make a good living off of it. It´s a shame that most players give up such a great advantage just with lazy playing.

The fact of the matter is that as a player, you can affect the odds of your Blackjack playing. Unlike real games of chance like roulette, the decisions you make during the game of Blackjack ultimately affects your odds and how many times you will end up winning your hands. It would be smart to research more about how to increase your odds at Blackjack. People have been increasing their odds in Blackjack for years, and thus their pocketbooks, too. Casinos try to spot out these Blackjack professionals, but it's not like they can completely stop them since what they do is completely legal - it isn't cheating in any way shape or form.

In Blackjack, instead of the game being based on a chance set of independent events, it is dependent on the cards that have been previously played. This is the main reason why it isn't cheating, you're simply making smart decisions based on the cards that you've already seen.

In a nutshell, the large cards left in the deck, yet to be played, favor the player. The smaller cards yet to be dealt favor the dealer. This is the main reason why card counting is important in Blackjack, and will increase your odds of winning more often than not. There's many places with free information online that will help your Blackjack game. Take advantage of this advice, it can't hurt.

What Makes the Pro in Blackjack?

A good blackjack player with a solid foundation of basic strategy can actually affect the odds in this interesting game of chance, just by using his head. Blackjack, in fact, is the best way to use your know-how to tilt the odds in your favor.

There is a lot of good information out there for getting a good blackjack strategy that works. You could, in fact, spend years learning it all, but a little goes a long way, as they say. Even players who don't count cards can pick up enough strategy to bring an advantage to the table.

The first thing a serious-minded blackjack player must do is memorize strategy charts for both single deck blackjack and multiple deck blackjack. These tables chart the best decisions for every possible contingency, giving you the highest probability to win in every situation. They are always first and foremost in any successful long-term blackjack player's bag of tricks.

Another widely-employed blackjack strategy is card counting. This is a way to track all the cards so you more or less know which cards are left in the deck. It allows you to predict the likelihood of receiving the card you need.

Card counting is complicated and demanding, which explains why most players just don't bother. It requires months, even years, to master, even with continuous practice. On top of that, it's frowned upon (to say the least), so the player who counts cards must also find ways to seem to be just a casual player.

There are several card counting systems, but in every one the goal is to get a positive count, which means mostly low cards have been played, leaving the deck with a high percentage of large cards. Such a player finds himself with a definite mathematical advantage and will lean into the bets at that point.

Other items in your basic blackjack strategy bag of tricks might include learning dealer tells, such as tics, facial expressions or gestures that enable you to "read" the dealer"s mind, shuffle tracking (which is like card counting, but even harder to master), learning how to scout out the good tables and players to your advantage (eg., not surrounding yourself with a bunch of drunks and slow card players), wise money management at the table (eg., don't play at a table with a 5% larger minimum than your own total), tipping the dealer (always a good practice), developing an honest awareness about your own strengths and weaknesses, and dedication to the game over a long period of time.

Time, dedication, a willingness to study and especially practice and experience are all invaluable tools to toss into the mix. Without them, and a good deal of plain old stubbornness as well. you'll never be an expert blackjack player, only an aficionado.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Simple Three Stage Blackjack Strategy

I love Blackjack, but if I'm honest, I get a little frustrated having to constantly consult the strategy cards.

I know why the strategy cards exist - to lower the house edge (put simply, the house edge is the percentage of money bet that the casino expects to win) to as close as 1% as possible.

But because the ultimate strategy must cover every possible combination of your cards and the dealer's cards, I find them too complex to memorize exactly. The result is that I'm taking time away from the game to pore over the charts to see what the optimal move is. All of which reduces my enjoyment of the game.

And of course, this is only possible when I'm playing Blackjack online. If I were playing it at a real bricks and mortar casino, I'd be politely asked to leave before I'd made half a dozen bets!

The ideal Blackjack strategy would be easy to remember and apply, and result in a house edge of 1%. Of course, that ideal can't exist, so all Blackjack strategies are a compromise between those two goals - simplicity and accuracy.

Any strategy is going to be more or less inclined towards one of these extremes. When choosing a strategy, your decision comes down to which end of the scale you want to be at - do you want an easy strategy with a lower chance of winning, or a complex one that means that the last 0.01% has been shaved off the house edge?

Personally, my ideal is one that is smack in the middle - a strategy that has an acceptable house edge, but which is so straightforward that I can just get on with playing and enjoying the game.

After studying the available strategy cards, I've devised a strategy that is intended to take players from beginner to high roller in 3 easy stages.

The beauty of this is that as you master each stage, you add on the next one when you feel ready, but you can always step back down again when you don't!

The house edge is a little over the optimal, but the accuracy (ie the percentage of times it makes the right call) is around 98%. But what's important is that it's really simple to remember (even the third stage.)

Although not complex, it's easier to present the strategy in tabular form. My website Fortune Palace (see link in the resource box below) is designed to provide strategies for popular gambling games aimed at all risk levels and styles of play. On my simple 3 stage Blackjack strategy page, I explain everything clearly and simply.

You'll also find a straightforward guide to the rules and bets of Blackjack and - perhaps best of all! - you'll get the chance to play Blackjack for free. I'm very confident of the effectiveness of my system. Once you've tried it, I hope you'll agree that it's the best of all possible strategies - it gives you a great chance of winning without having to remember endless charts.

And best of all - it keeps Blackjack fun! Happy playing.

Online Blackjack for Profit and Fun !

Be it an online blackjack tournament or one staged in the ordinary bricks-and-mortar type casino, blackjack (or "21") still reigns supreme as the most popular game for gamblers.

One reason - and it's a good one - is because newbies never have to put in a lot of time to learn how to play, (initially, that is). Even people who are not acquainted with this kind of games can easily grasp the goal of reaching 21 and a few simple rules such as never hitting on 16, and so on... and they'll win enough to keep going.

But blackjack represents something else altogether to the seasoned and dedicated card player: an opportunity to nudge the odds against the house into their own back yard. No other game of chance offers the possibility to increase the odds of winning just by being really good at what you do and able to think your way through a problem.

Granted, a mind that is friendly with numbers is of great advantage when playing blackjack. Even though "counting cards" is frowned upon, it's still the true name of the game. Let's face it, intuition and being perpetually lucky is only going to get you so far.

These days, you can go to numerous Indian reservation casinos, put up your dough, and have at it. But entering into an online blackjack tournament has great advantages.

Most online blackjack tournaments, unlike those "real" casino games, are free to enter. All you usually need to do is register online to play, hand over your e-mail address, and jump into the fray.

Normally an online blackjack tournament is played with six card decks. Players, good players, compete and win real live money at online poker tournaments. Not bad, to sit at home in your jammies and play cards!

Casino tournaments in cyberspace are really fun, too. You can pit yourself against the best of the best, if you want to, and make a little bit or - sometimes - a great big cash prize. A lot of these online tournaments function by requiring everybody to put up a "registration fee." That money converts into the prize money and nobody loses more than whatever they put up.

If you're really lucky, you can find an online blackjack tournament with a big payout. Some offer fabulous incentive prizes ranging from free new cars to cash bonuses up to $35,000. Some online casinos put together monthly sweepstakes and gifts, lotteries and prize drawings... just to prove how lucky you really are.

The thrill, mind games with other players and the possible gains make the game very popular. The fact that the game is easy if you play it in an amateur level but very complex at pro level makes it appealing for different kinds of players and again, increases the number of players.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Online Blackjack and Basic Introduction

As one of the most popular games in practically all casinos, online blackjack has a reputation for being the player's favorite because of the low house edge and the ease of play. As a matter of fact, there are online casinos that focus exclusively on blackjack game play.

Blackjack has been around for a very long time and continues to grow in popularity as more and more people are exposed to it via the Internet as a result of the online gaming boom. This is good for everyone from the casino operators to the player just trying to earn a few chips and have a good time.

Although Internet Blackjack is a simple game to play, proper strategies must be learned in order to play successfully. The online player must not only be able to access and utilize the Internet, they must also play the game of blackjack as close to perfectly as possible using basic strategy in order to increase their chances of winning.

It is very easy to find a reputable online blackjack site by taking a quick look at a casino review website. This should lead a player in the right direction to begin playing. A player should never jump straight in with both feet, but should instead test the waters with small wagers.

A better starting strategy, however, is to find an online blackjack casino that offers free play and uses the same software as the real money play. This allows the player to use blackjack basic strategy in the free play mode before risking any of their own money. This is a good way to further weed out any less than reputable sites as well. Most online casinos even offer a free welcome match bonus for all new players to try out their games which also aids in removing any risk.

Using proper basic strategy is the key to beating the game of blackjack online. Players can usually find excellent strategy charts at the same casino review sites that were used to find reputable sites to play. Charts can even be printed out for easy access while playing to ensure that the mathematically proper plays are being made at all times.

There are many options available today for online play. Some of the more popular versions are Blackjack Switch, multi-player games, European and Vegas style. Some casinos even offer a progressive game called Triple Sevens where the player hits the jackpot by being dealt the seven of diamonds three times on the same hand from a multi-deck shoe. The odds are rather high of hitting this hand but the payoff is substantial.

Did You Know?
Blackjack was not very popular when it was first introduced in United States casinos. As a result, casinos began offering different types of bonuses to attract players. One bonus was a 10-to-1 payout if a player's hand consisted of the ace of spades and either the Jack of spades or clubs. Since these two Jacks are "black" they named the hand "blackjack" and the name stuck.

After a player has chosen a quality online blackjack casino from a reputable casino review site, it's time to have some fun and win some money. Today's Internet blackjack software contains vibrant and exciting graphics that make the player feel as though they are playing at a live casino. The software is also quite helpful to beginners because it will prompt a player when to bet, how to bet and explain what options are available for the play of each hand.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Basic Blackjack Game Terms I

From "Action" to "Color Up," we're going to go over a bunch of Blackjack and casino terms in part one of our Blackjack terms series today. I've spent some time coming up with a listing of fun terms I think you'll want to know. They're listed in alphabetical order, so scroll around if you want.

Action - It means almost what you think. When a bet is "live" it has action. This term is commonly used when someone puts actual cash in the betting area.

Back Counting - A back counter is someone who isn't sitting at the table and who is counting the cards. An example would be two friends that walk up to play. One sits down and the other stands around the table.

Bankroll - Ah, this one is a classic. A bankroll is the amount of money you have to gamble with. It's the key ingredient in money management and the better you are at managing a bankroll, the better off you are. A bankroll can be for a session of gambling, a calendar month, a season in sports or whatever other time term you want.

Bar - No, not the kind that serves you drinks. If you get barred, you're out of luck. A barred player is one who gets removed from the casino for good. It's also called "being 86ed."

Basic Strategy - In Blackjack, this is your garden-variety strategy that's designed to help you have a good time and stay in the game.

Blackjack - This is the game we're talking about. If you don't know how to play, check out the quick-start Blackjack guide on this site.

Burn Card - After the deck is shuffled and cut, the first card is "burned," which means it is discarded. This is an old anti-cheat mechanism and it's still used today in brick and mortar casinos.

Bust - When your card count in Blackjack goes over 21, you've busted. When you bust, you lose. Ideally, you hope this happens to the dealer often and not you.

Card Counting - It's a strategy to try and figure out what type of cards are left in the deck. Players who employ this strategy will bet bigger when the remaining cards in the deck are larger and bet less when the remaining cards in the deck are smaller. There are many card counting techniques and we talk about card counting in Blackjack more on this site.

Cold Deck - Cold deck is the same thing as a cold table in Craps. It just means that the deck sucks for players. If you're counting, you know when the deck is cold, because it's overloaded with smaller cards.

Color Up - When you're ready to leave the table, you can color up. Let's say that you have 20 red chips ($100), you could color up for one black chip. Casinos try to color up players, because it keeps them from having to constantly fill tables with extra chips. As a player, it's easier to walk around with fewer chips.

We'll be back in part two of our Blackjack terms series with "Comp."

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Basic Blackjack Game Terms II

Last time, we talked about Blackjack terms, such as "Action" and "Color Up." Let's continue forward with part two in our Blackjack terms series. We'll pick it up with "Comps," which happen to be my favorite thing in a casino. Let's get started.

Comps - This is the main reason for playing for many people. A Comp is basically anything you get for free from the casino. It could be food, rooms, cash, travel, drinks and so forth. Here's a tip. Most casinos comp players based on the data from a player's card. Whenever you walk into a new casino, ask about their player's card and get one-they are free.

Cut Card - When you cut the deck in Blackjack-at real live tables-you use a cut card. This card is the same size as a regular card in the deck and it's usually red. It's also plastic. Slide that baby in the right place and let's win some hands!

Discards - These are the cards that have already been played. In a real live game, you'll see the discards off to the side of the table.

Double Deck - A Blackjack game typically uses 1-8 decks of cards. A Double Deck game of Blackjack uses two decks of cards. In a real live game, this game is hand shuffled and dealt from hand. Shoe games start with four or more decks.

Double Down - You're so money! Even non-gamblers know this phrase. When you double down, you double up your original bet and take one final card. You can double down on your first two cards only. While online casinos typically make you double your bet on a double down, live casinos will allow you to "double for less," which means you can put any additional amount down-up to the amount of your original wager.

Double Exposure - This is a variant of Blackjack. You'll find that there are various Blackjack rules that a casino may or may not use-like surrendering. In this variant, both dealer cards are dealt face up. Sounds like easy money right? Not so fast. These games also have additional rules-usually something like dealer wins all ties. You may like this type of game though, so check it out. Make sure you ask about the rules differences before playing.

Draw - Most everyone says, "hit," but draw is the same thing. When you draw a card, you're not getting out a pencil and sketch paper to make an art masterpiece; you're taking one additional card for you hand.

Edge - Do you have an edge? The edge just means who has the best ability to make money over the long haul. As a gambler, you take steps to reduce the house's edge and increase your chances of winning. A Blackjack example of this would be card counting. Another example would be playing only certain types of Blackjack games, such as single deck.

We'll pick up our Blackjack series next time with "Even Money."

Online Blackjack Basics II

Because it offers better chances of winning than most other casino games, Blackjack is one of the most well-liked and popular casino games that also made it big in online casinos. It is also known in gambling circles as the Lucky 21 game, in reference to the winning card value in the game. Regular blackjack games play with only a single deck of cards, but some blackjack games already involve more than one deck. This is the house's response to the famous blackjack counting strategies that have come up among players. No matter how the game is modified, it seems that it only gets better and more enticing for players.

The main objective of the blackjack game is to get a hand which contains cards that add up to a total card value of 21, which is called a blackjack and signals an automatic win. Blackjacks are paid out at 3:2. If no one gets a blackjack, the player with the total card value that is higher than the dealer's card value wins. Once the total card value of a hand exceeds 21, this results to what is called as a bust, which equates to an automatic loss.

The focus of the blackjack game, or what makes it exciting, are the values given to the cards. The cards from two up to ten are taken at face values. The face cards are valued at 10, while the ace cards can either be a 1 or an 11. This means that the bets possible hand in blackjack contains an ace card and a face card or a ten card, which sums up to a 21 total value.

A blackjack game online and otherwise both begins with the placing of bets. After all the bets are in, the dealer will deal two cards for each player. These cards will be dealt face up. After that, the dealer will also deal two cards for himself. The first card will be dealt face up, but the second will be kept concealed. The dealer's second card will be the determining factor of the game.

If the dealer's face up card is neither an ace nor a ten, then the players get a chance to play their hands. They have several options at this point. They can either stand or hit. A stand means to stay with the present cards, while a hit is to ask for one or more cards to improve the player's hand. Players can keep on hitting until he stands or until he exceeds 21 and busts. Other than these two basic moves, players can also double, split, or surrender. Doubling means to double the player's bet and ask for just one more card.

This happens when a player is confident about his present cards and is hopeful about the next card he will get. A split means to split a hand into two hands, which is done usually when a player has two matching cards. A surrender means to concede, lose the bets, and not play anymore.

In playing blackjack, whether online or not, it is good to choose the game you will join. There are plenty of blackjack strategies around, but the best option is to choose one that suits you best and stick to it. Finally, don't be afraid to surrender when you need to.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Basic Blackjack Game Terms III

Welcome to the third part in our Blackjack terms series. Last time we left off talking about the house's edge. Today, we'll start out with "Even Money," which happens to be a sad moment for me. The last thing you want to see when you're dealt a Blackjack is the dealer having an Ace.

Even Money - When the dealer has a potential Blackjack-and you were dealt a Blackjack-you can ask for even money. If you take even money, your Blackjack is paid 1:1 instead of 1.5:1. So, a $15 wager is paid $15. If you don't take even money and the dealer has Blackjack, you just push.

Expectation - I won't get too technical with this one. Basically, it means the amount of money you can expect to win or lose over a period of time.

Face Cards - Real simple here. Face cards are the Jack, Queen and King. They are all worth 10 point in Blackjack. There's no real difference in these cards unless you're playing a side game like Royal Match.

First Base - This is the seat that gets the cards first. The dealer deals clockwise, so first base is the first seat on the dealer's left.

Flat Betting - When you flat bet, you're just betting the same amount on every hand. This really isn't idea. Unless you're just playing for a little fun and free drinks, you want to alter your bets some now and then.

Heads Up - This happens usually in online play. It's when you're the only one at the table. You're playing with the dealer only. In real casinos, some players like this and they'll move around looking for empty tables. When someone else sits down, they get up and find another empty table. You'll see some big-time players request an empty table. If they are playing enough, the casino will rope off a table for them.

High Roller - We just talked about one in our Heads Up description. A high roller is someone who bets a lot. The real high rollers will walk into a casino with millions to wager if they so choose. They are also called whales.

Hit - Take a hit to get another card for your hand. It's also called a draw.

Hole Card - This is the magical card that the dealer gets that you can't see-unless you're playing a double face up game of Blackjack.

Hot Deck - It's just the opposite of a cold deck. A hot deck is in your favor and hopefully you're betting big.

House Edge - We talked about this in our Edge description. All casino games have a house edge. The casino always has the advantage over you. Some games are better than others. For instance, Blackjack has a much lower house edge than Roulette.

Insurance - Many call insurance a sucker's bet. When the dealer shows an Ace, you can take insurance. It costs half your wager and if you take it, you want the dealer to have a Blackjack. If not, you lose your insurance bet and now if you win, you only win a profit of 50%, which isn't fun.

See you next time when we go into the fourth part of our Blackjack terms series.

Basic Blackjack Game Terms IV

We're nearing completion in our Blackjack terms series. In our next to last series installment, we'll go over some terms, such as "Money management," "Paint" and "Push." We start out with an important term, because it highlights how the Blackjack rules can be different from casino to casino.

Las Vegas Strip Rules - Las Vegas is split into two main gambling regions-Downtown and the Strip. The Strip has different Blackjack rules than Downtown. A major rule to check on before you play is whether the dealer must hit or stand on a soft 17.

Money Management - It's no secret. Losing players rarely have any money management skills. Money management goes beyond just knowing how much money you have to play with. It involves knowing how much to bet and when. There are many money management systems out there.

Money Plays - A command barked out by a dealer when a player puts actual cash in the betting area.

Natural - When you're dealt a Blackjack.

Paint - Want to see paint? If so, you're asking for a face card. It's called this, because face cards are graphical in nature.

Pat Hand - No, it's not the hand of someone named Pat. When you have a pat hand, you want to stay. An example of a pat hand is a hard 17. A hard hand is one in which there isn't an Ace counting for 11 points.

Point Count - If you're counting cards, you always know what the count of a deck is.

Push - This is another name for a tie. When you have a bet that pushes, you don't win or lose. Your money is returned. If you're playing a double face up game, it's possible that there aren't any pushes, because the dealer wins all ties.

Resplit - When you get two cards of the same rank, like two 7's, you can split them. If your first card on a split is also the same rank, you can resplit then hand. Some casinos only allow one split and others may allow up to four. Check with the casino to be certain. While you always want to split Aces, some casinos don't allow you to play split Aces like a regular hand. Instead, they'll just give you one card per hand.

Running Count - It's the same thing as a Point Count. At any given hand, a card counter knows the count of the deck and bets accordingly. If the count is favorable to the casino, the bet is reduced. If the count is favorable to players, the bet is increased.

That does it for this installment of Blackjack terms. We've got one installment in our series left. We'll go over terms, such as Shill, Shoe, Third Base, Toke, Vig and Whale.

Basic Blackjack Game Terms V

We've finally arrived at the final installment of our Blackjack terms series. We're about to bring it all together. It's been a fun ride. Once you finish this series, consider yourself a Blackjack terms expert. Let's go.

Session - This term is used most when talking about money management. A session is a period of time spent gambling.

Shill - These guys are casino employees. To facilitate action, a shill will go up to a table-usually an empty one-and play. The idea is that if you're walking around and see action, you'll play. Shills are more likely to be used at a Craps table, because not many people like being the only player in Craps.

Soft Hand - This is any hand where an Ace is being used as an 11.

Stand - When you're happy with your hand, you can stand, which ends your turn.

Surrender - Some casinos allow you to surrender. When you surrender, you throw in your hand and get half your wager back. A common surrender situation is when you have a hard 16 and the dealer has a face card showing.

Third Base - It's the opposite of first base. Third base is the last seat to get cards. If the table is full, it will be the seat immediately to the dealer's right hand.

Toke - Also called a tip. Dealers work for tips, so they love players who tip them. One common way to tip in Blackjack is to place a bet for the dealer. You do this by placing your tip bet above your wager on the layout. Let the dealer know it's for him/her, so they can make sure the placement is right. This is a good way to get the dealer to root for you.

True Count - It's another card counting term. When there are multiple decks, you take the running count and divide it by the number of decks being used. This gives you a more accurate picture.

Up Card - The dealer gets two cards in Blackjack to start with. The Up Card is the card that you can see. The bottom one you can't see is called a hole card.

Unit - A measurement of betting. For instance, a unit could be $5, $10, $1 or whatever.

Vig - This is the money that goes to the house. A popular vig in sports betting, for example, is 10%.

Whale - This is the big-time player-the high roller. Casinos-and dealers-love to see a whale coming. It usually means there's a chance for a nice payday.

And there you have it. We've come to the end of our Blackjack terms series. Do you feel like a Blackjack terms expert now? We've covered a lot of ground in this series.

Good luck at the tables!

Three Important Blackjack Fundamentals

What separates winning Blackjack players from losing ones? Is it all luck? No. Winning Blackjack players adhere to a set of rules that gives them the best opportunity to walk away from the Blackjack table as a winner.

Today, I will share three such Blackjack fundamentals with you. Put on your thinking caps and commit these to memory. If you already know them, you're ahead of the game.

Blackjack Fundamental One: Don't Always Double Down on Eleven

What? You can't be serious. I know, I know. We've all heard the catchphrase "Always double down on eleven." But, there are situations where doubling down on eleven makes no sense.

Let's say you have eleven and the dealer is showing a face card. Why would you double down? Think about this for a moment. You're risking twice the money for a possible 4 out of 13 chance to win.

In each suit, there are 13 cards (A - 10, J, Q, K). Let's imagine that the dealer has a 20. Only three cards in each suit can produce a win. One card will produce a tie and nine cards a loss.

The odds are not in your favor.

Blackjack Fundamental Two: Dealer Shows Six, Let it Fly

For me there's one time when I get ultra-aggressive on the Blackjack table and that's when the dealer is showing a six. There are so many possibilities for the dealer to bust.

This is the time when I like to double down on hands totaling seven to eleven or anything soft, such as a soft 18.

And I always stand on any hard hands that total twelve or above.

Blackjack Fundamental Three: Don't Chase Wins

Streaks come and go. Steer clear of any playing strategy or system that increases the betting amount after a loss. It's counterproductive.

Instead, you want to increase your wagers after a win-if at all.

Far too often I see players betting some losing progression system that has them losing more and more each hand. Personally, I stay away from any preset betting strategy and just bet up or down as the hands fly.

You just never know when a hot or cold streak is coming. If you're an astute Blackjack player, you can probably gauge how a deck is going and what's likely left. And that's how you want to determine your bet size and not some preset up and down scheme.

Start with these three fundamentals and you'll be on your way to playing better Blackjack.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Why Choose Blackjack Over Poker

Out of all the different casino games, blackjack is not only the easiest to learn and the easiest to play, but it is also the easiest casino game for winning money from the different casinos whether online or offline. In comparison, poker is hitting a huge boom all over the place from the best online casinos to the huge World Series of Poker, but when it comes right down to it blackjack is still the biggest game and the most fun to play.

In this article, I am going to detail the top five reasons why black jack will prove to be a better game for you than poker. This evidence will more than suffice in laying a strong foundation to my argument that blackjack or 21 as it is also commonly called is far superior than any other casino game and especially poker.

1) Black jack is quick, you do not have to sit and wait for people to think. It is either hit me, or stay and that is all there is to it.

2) Blackjack is by far a much easier game to learn to play. Since the basis of the game is to beat the dealers hand with a 21, there is not really so much that you have to learn in comparison the poker.

3) You get to play against the dealer when playing black jack, which is not usually the case when playing at poker rooms. This is better because you do not have to worry what the other players are thinking. This is not an advantage but you do not have to worry about body language and the like.

4) Hitting 21 or Black Jack is just exiting, an automatic win. By all means poker is interesting, but how often are you dealt the Royal Flush? Well in black jack it is possible to be dealt black jack repeatedly in one sitting and I will say it is definitely more exciting hitting a black jack than seeing a guy with a pair of 7s beat a guy with a pair of 4s.

5) In black jack it is up to you to win, now it is also the same in poker, but if you lose to someone else you can not blame the dealer. Now many people would say why blame the dealer anyway? I will tell you, the dealer has only dealt the cards, you can only blame yourself for losing. It has to do with how you play. So it is easier to take loss in a hand in black jack than it is in poker.

Finding the game that you identify most with is the game you should stick with. If it is poker than be a poker player in any of the different poker rooms you can find, or if it is black jack than put on your smart clothes and pick your seat at the black jack table at the casino nearest to you, because in my opinion, black jack is the best casino game there is, and once you begin to play it you will realize this for yourself.

Live Black Jack Game Rules

A Blackjack game is a game of possibilities and chance. There are no certain strategies that can guarantee wins. Playing a live black jack game is quite easy, but of course, there are several special rules in blackjack that makes the game more challenging. These rules act as if they are playing with the players' fates. Here are some of the special rules in blackjack that anticipates different occurrences and changes the outcomes considerably.

In a live black jack game, the players and the dealers will be dealt two cards each. The players' cards will be revealed immediately after they are dealt, while only the dealer's first card is revealed. The second card is concealed until the players have made their plays. However, there are instances when the dealer's first card is an ace or a ten. This means that there is a possibility for the dealer to get a blackjack. A blackjack is a hand that sums up to a 21 total card value. In some games, the players are allowed to place insurance bets if the dealer has an ace or a ten.

The insurance bets will insure the players against the dealer getting a blackjack. After the insurance bets are placed and the players play their hands, only then will the second card be revealed. When a player places an insurance bet, he will be paid 2:1 in case the dealer gets a blackjack. However, insurance bets are not advisable because even if a dealer gets an ace or a ten, there is still a bigger chance for the player to win more without insurance than with.

To get on with the game, in case the dealer gets an ace or a ten face up card, most casinos check for the blackjack immediately. The players will not be given a chance to play their hands anymore, as the second card is revealed immediately. In case the dealer gets a blackjack, the house automatically collects all the bets and the game officially ends. However, this is not an ordinary blackjack occurrence. The chances of the game turning out like this depends entirely on the rules of the casino or online casino and the rules of the game you chose to join.

The blackjack being a game of chance, there are also instances when the dealer gets a blackjack and another player gets a total card value of 21 as well. This will be called a tie or a push, to use the blackjack lingo. A push means that no one wins and no bets are exchanged.

The instances mentioned above are special occurrences that can happen to a live black jack game. These special rules change the game sometimes drastically. As we have learned, a black jack game can even abruptly end and all players plummet quite quickly to a loss. These instances, however, is what makes the black jack a challenging game. Even if these can make the game harder, there is no doubt that these play a role in luring people to the quite popular game.

A Quick Rundown of Blackjack

Learning Blackjack doesn't need to take years and years. Today, I'll give you a very quick rundown of the game. Within minutes you'll be ready to try your hand at Blackjack.

Part One: Cards

First, everyone, including the dealer, receives two cards. These two cards make up your hand's count. All cards are worth their face value, so a nine of clubs is worth nine points. Face cards are worth 10 points and an Ace is worth one or 11-you choose.

Part Two: Basic Goal

The dealer is always the last to act, so it's your job to determine what the dealer has and act accordingly. You can go up to 21 in your hand. If your hand ends up being 22 or more, you have busted and you lose. While some books might incorrectly state that the goal of Blackjack is to get as close to 21 as possible, the goal is really to beat the dealer.

Part Three: Action Time

When it's your turn, you'll have a few actions you can perform. If you like the count of your hand, you can stand. Stand simply means that you pass and your turn is now over. If you'd like another card, you can hit. When you hit, one card is dealt to you. You can keep hitting until you are satisfied. However, if your hand reaches 22 or more, your turn is ended and you lose.

If you have two identical cards, such as two eights, you can split them into two hands. You'd then play two separate hands. But note, when you split hands, you must double your wager. Splitting can lead to greater profit or greater ruin. Act accordingly. Never split 10s or face cards.

Another action is doubling down. When you double down, you double your wager and take one final card-that's it. Most people like to double down when they have 11. Some casinos will let you double for less too. So, if you had a $100 original wager, you could double down for say $50.

Part Four: Blackjack

Should your first two cards equal 21, you have a Blackjack. Remember, an Ace can be one or 11, so a Blackjack has one Ace and one 10 or face card. Also, a Blackjack pays 1.5x, so if you had a $100 wager on the table and received a Blackjack, you'd be paid $150.

Part Five: Wagers

This is real simple. Aside from a Blackjack, all wagers are paid even money, so a $100 wager is paid $100. Good luck and have fun playing Blackjack.

How To Play Live Blackjack

Blackjack is perhaps one of the most challenging yet most popular of all casino games. Besides Poker, Blackjack is not just about getting blackjack on the first hand or on any hand, it is about betting wisely and deciding for yourself if you should take a chance and play on or fold. The rules are can be kind of confusing to start with and then they will become more complex. There are many things to consider when playing this game. Each player is playing fro themselves, they are not playing against the other players at the table, they are playing one on one against the dealer. If they lose the game continues, if they win the game continues until all of the players have won or lost.

The dealer places one card face down and then one card face up. Never show your face down card until the very end. The dealer will show their cards so you can see all along what they have. The face value of the cards are pretty simple, the number 2 through the number 10 are face value at what they are, the jack, Queen and Kings are worth ten points and the Aces are worth either a one or an Eleven.

That is one benefit to this game is that if you get an Ace and any other card you cannot go bust or lose because you can use a 1 or an eleven. The winner is determined by who has the better hand, you or the dealer. If both players have the same exact card values then no one wins and it is called a push.

Once your initial hand is dealt then you have 4 options that you can use. The first option is to Hit, this means draw another card. You can Stand which means to hold onto the cards you have and not draw anymore. You can double down which means you can double the wager and then take one more card and then stand. You can also Split, this is when you double the bet because you are splitting the cards you have in your initial hand.

For example, if you have a 7 card up and a 7 card down. You can turn up your 7 card that was down and create a new hand. On a split nothing is face down everything is in the open. You can have double the chance of winning with two hands. The last option is called the Surrender, this is pretty much a forfeit of half of what you bet and you give up the hand. The Surrender was mostly used in the early days of the game but it is no longer used in a lot of casinos.

What is great about the game is that it is challenging. You get to choose which option you want, you win or lose based on two things, the luck of the draw and the luck of the player. How you play you cards is also a factor if you win or lose.