BLACKJACK

Blackjack has been a staple of casino games all across the world for quite a long time. Its history starts out in the 16th century, as colonists from Europe, later on, brought it to the Americas, spreading it far and wide. Nowadays, it is one of the most popular non-slot casino games in the world and not just the US.

Its goal is pretty straightforward: the player should get as close as possible to 21 points with his cards, without crossing that threshold. While modern games are somewhat pushing it from its podium, Blackjack will remain at the forefront of every casino player for a long time.

BLACKJACK

Player Strategies

How do you start playing blackjack? Well, it is quite easy, you just need to make a bet, and read these basic rules. Making a bet initiates a game. Players are given two cards each. If they are totaling less than 21, they have a few options to continue the game. If they’ve been dealt 21 through an ace and one of the 10-value cards (either 10, jack, queen, or king), then their hand is being called blackjack. Getting one means that the player will not only get their winnings but an additional bonus as well. The size of the bonus depends on the casino and the kind of blackjack played. That is if a dealer doesn’t have blackjack as well. As with many other card games, blackjack has a few specific dealer commands: “hit”, asking for another card; “stand”, accepting the current hand value; “double down”, increasing the current bet, either matching or doubling it. A bit of advice: the best hands to double down on are ones with a value of 10 and 11, as players can easily make it 20 or 21 with the right card. There is also a “split” command. This one can be used when the player has two cards with the same value. After the player matches the initial wager, he separates his hand in two unique hands. Some versions of blackjack allow for up to four unique hands.

Blackjack Revenue for Casinos

As blackjack is one of the most popular casino games in the US, it comes as no surprise that it is also one of the most profitable games for casinos as well. Despite other games getting their fair share of players and revenue, blackjack still remains the main earner for any casino in the States. In fact, just in Nevada casinos, its yearly revenue still averages at more than $1 billion. Even though digital games, slots and new table games are impacting blackjack’s popularity, it shows no signs of retiring from its pedestal. In fact, all data points out that since the year 2000, it continues to bring in profits to its owners. However, there is a strong challenger emerging in the form of baccarat. It became more popular among the Asian rich public that makes extremely high bets. That pushes blackjack on the second place in Nevada casinos. However, other table games can’t boast about the same level of popularity, as craps make just a fragment of blackjack’s annual revenue. For example, even at their top, they make only about $350 million a year, which is about the third of blackjack’s revenue.

Not Every Blackjack Game is the Same

With how simple and widespread blackjack is, it is easy to assume that it doesn’t really change. After all, blackjack is blackjack, right? Not quite. It is a game where the casino decides on the ruleset, conditions, and bonuses. Ther are many variations of basic rules, some more favorable to players, and some to casinos. If you wish to not just try your luck, but to win, you will need to look over those closely. Some of those conditions are set by the casinos to maximize their profits, but others were set by laws and the state’s regulations. There are also different payout rates, with most of them being a 3:2 payout for a two-card blackjack. That means that you are getting a 1.5 to 1 wager as winnings if you get one. However, 6:5 games are getting more and more prominent among modern casinos, and they have lesser payouts, only 1.25 to 1 for a two-card blackjack. What’s worse, if earlier games of that type were restricted to the single-deck games, now you can find even eight-deck shoe games with that ratio. We would recommend you to avoid those. Thankfully, it seems that 6:5 games are restricted to certain areas, like Las Vegas, while you can find 3:2 games almost everywhere in the world, so there will be no deficit of places to play for you.

Game of Skill and House Edge

While it is true that all casino games rely on Lady Luck in some manner, card games, and especially blackjack, require skill and strategy to succeed. Depending on casino rules, players can get a lot of variety in terms of conditions, the number of decks, re-splitting aces, the right to surrender and lose only half of the bet, and so on, blackjack games have anywhere from 0.3% to 1.1% of house advantage. However, it is the number that shows a house advantage over an ideal player, who doesn’t make any mistakes, there are no dealer errors, and everything in the game goes perfect and orderly. Since it is quite impossible to achieve in real life, the actual house advantage is quite a bit higher. Take that into account when you plan to gamble. Mistakes are not the only part of the house advantage that the casino holds. Most players are superstitious, holding certain numbers, games, and combinations as either “lucky” or “unlucky”. Using those, casinos can significantly increase their edge, along with profit margins.

Player’s Edge

Why did casinos decide to develope different rulesets for blackjack? There are a few reasons for that. The first one would be that players learned how to predict, anticipate and make profitable decisions in their games. Card-counting became one of the best ways to get an advantage in the game. In fact, just recently, in the 40s and 50s, some casinos even offered blackjack players an edge over the casino right off the top. Basically, casinos offered players an advantage from the first hand on a new shuffle. Indeed, those were games where the house actually had a disadvantage instead of stacking odds in its favor. There are some conditions that allow offering the player an advantage simply by knowing what rules are there when to hit, split, double down, and stand.

Conditions

If the following conditions are met, then the player will have the advantage of a few one-hundredths of a percent, which isn’t a big number, but it might just help you to win a big sum:

  • The blackjack game offers a standard 3:2 winnings payout;
  • Player only loses his original bet on a dealer blackjack;
  • The player can double down after splitting, and double down on any two matching cards;
  • The player can re-split up to four hands;
  • Single-deck game with a dealer standing on soft 17;

What is Advantage Play?

Well, first and foremost I have to say that advantage play isn’t cheating and doesn’t relate to cheating. Those techniques are perfectly legal to use, so you will not get in trouble with the law for using them. Though the casino itself may be a little miffed about them. Card-counting, as was mentioned, is the most popular method of getting an advantage in card games. To use it, players rely on their memories to keep track of the remaining cards in the game. Remembering what cards have already been played, the player can decide whether or not he will get a favorable result from the remaining cards. You don’t need to have the eidetic memory or be a genius to use the card-counting. You only need to create a suitable strategy and use your memory and some easy math to figure out what cards are still in the game.

How to: Card Count

While sounding complicated and hard, card counting is actually not that scary and is available to almost everyone to use. It allows you to build your own gambling strategy, improving your decision-making based on the favorability of the remaining cards. Using it, you can decide when to split or hit, how to tweak and finetune your strategies to better suit your situations, and both how not to lose your money, as well as make more. With card-counting, you may even become a high-roller player bent on getting that sweet big prize for yourself.

Blackjack Online and on Mobiles

While most players prefer to play at the physical location in casinos, as those offer a big range of entertainment besides gambling, lately online casinos began to spread all across the world. Blackjack is one of the most popular online games, and it works great in the digital space. Some online casinos, like Golden Nugget, for example, offer live games of blackjack. In those variants of the game, live dealers are dealing the cards and interact with players, and players can see and shuffle their cards in real-time. RFID technology ensures that the system is accurate and responsible, reading and verifying dealt cards. There are also one-on-one games of blackjack where players gamble against a robotized dealer. That allows casual players to visit many games in a short time. You also don’t need to worry about the security and the fairness of games, especially in the state of New Jersey, as it has strict regulations put on its online gambling business. Local casinos use only the best random number generators to make games as fair as possible. Mobile platforms also get their share of attention, as more and more games are adapted for such devices, and casinos keep developing their own mobile apps. But what’s even better is the fact that such games only have the lowest percentage of the house advantage, allowing players to bet and play more hands in a minute.