Blackjack Philosophy No-No’s Part III

This is one of my favorite player contrived blackjack philosophies: play two separate hands at the same time.

It’s like trying to outsmart the cards. ‘If the cards don’t let me win with my first hand, they’ll let the next hand win and since that’s my hand too, I’ll win.’

The only problem with that train of thought is that cards don’t have a brain to outsmart. And neither does the shoe.

But what the blackjack players who use this philosophy don’t quite realize is that this playing of two separate hands is not helping them at all. In fact, it’s hurting them. Even if they are playing both hands according to basic strategy.

This is because they are going through their bankroll twice as fast. If you have played two separate hands and lost both of them, you have lost twice as much money in one round as you would if you had only played one hand.

There is no edge to be had in playing two or more hands at once. The only way for this blackjack philosophy to work is to win both hands the majority of the time. Both hands.

I’ve already covered how losing both hands will cost you twice as much. If you lose one hand and win the other you’ve only come out even, not ahead.

And if you’re playing both hands according to the same blackjack strategy, you aren’t giving either hand an edge over the other or over the dealer. It is simply playing two hands. And there is no advantage to be had.

The best thing you can do is stick to playing one hand at a time and focusing on that one hand.

Keep an eye out for Blackjack Philosophy No-No’s—Part IV

Delaware Joins Quest to Gamble

Joining the list of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Florida and Kentucky (maybe on that one) is Delaware. They not only have one bill, but two. One is aimed at legalizing table games like blackjack and poker in their casinos that already have slots, lotteries and horse betting. Oh and dice, the bill would also legalize dice games in these casinos. But Delaware blackjack fans can begin to hope for blackjack tables of their very own.

The first bill, the one to legalize table games, comes from the House Gaming and Pari-mutuels Committee. The other is from the Delaware Senate.

The Delaware Senate is putting forth a bill that is aimed at preventing cheating in these new table games. Very conscientious of them really. Other states are trying to legalize table games or online gambling, and here is Delaware not only trying to get their table and dice games, but they are trying to make them fair games. Very conscientious.

Like other states that are looking at trying to legalize table games and online gambling, Delaware’s motives are similar: revenue.

With the United States sunk in a recession, many states are looking at alternatives they probably wouldn’t consider to fill in the holes in their budgets. State programs need funding—our children’s schools among them.

If the House Gaming and Pari-mutuels Committee’s bill is passed then Delaware casinos will have to pay $13.5 million to have table games such as blackjack. And here’s the breakdown of where the casinos’ revenues would be going if they install table games: 66% to would be kept by the casinos, 29% to the state and 4.5% to horse racing.

There is some concern that the state won’t be receiving the funds that they deserve. But I’m sure that will be discussed—at length—in future legislature sessions. Although the State’s percentage is the second highest rate of return of any state who is legalizing blackjack, poker, etc.

And so Delaware joins the ranks of states looking at games—online or not—such as blackjack, poker, etc for revenue.

Who will be next?

Blackjack Philosophy No-No’s—Part II

The next player contrived blackjack philosophy that we all need to pay no mind to is the one about requesting a “No Mid-Shoe Entry” sign.

We can look at this as being similar to how a third bad player at the blackjack table can make or break the dealer. You know that superstition that the third base player can ruin the game but taking the dealer’s bust card.

And what have I said about that superstition?

That it means nothing. That the third base player does not have that much influence on the dealer. Because if he did then casinos would pay someone to play that chair and keep player winnings in check.

So now we’ll apply that reasoning to requesting a “No Mid-Shoe Entry” sign.

By requesting such a sign, a player is trying to make the order of the cards concrete. But that would only work if he could also control when and for how many cards other players hit.

The truth is that there is no way to control exactly how the cards are going to flow. And it’s useless to try to find away to control it. You might was well try to find a way to control how the sun rises and sets.

The thing to remember is that if the cards are flowing badly, then adding another player could possibly change that. Yes, it could also work the other way too. But the point is that there is no way to control the order of the cards in blackjack. And certainly a “No Mid-Shoe Entry” sign won’t make a difference.

The best that you can do is to play blackjack to the best of your ability using your blackjack strategy. This means accepting the cards as they come to you. If you don’t like how they’re flowing you can always leave the game and find another table or take a break.

Keep an eye out for Blackjack Philosophy No-No’s—Part III

Blackjack Philosophy No-No’s—Part I

Blackjack is a game of skill, yes? Yes. So why is it that casinos, both online and land-based can rake in tens of thousands of dollars from blackjack games a month? It can be owed to player contrived blackjack philosophies. And these, quite plainly, don’t work. Some of these philosophies can be applied to both online blackjack and land-based. But keep them all in the back of your mind.

And while these blackjack philosophies might make sense in someone’s head, they generally don’t stand up to logic. So I will bring you the logic.

Changing Tables When the Dealer is “Hot”
No, that doesn’t mean that the dealer is good looking.

Players will term a dealer as being “hot” when the dealer makes several four or five card hands in a row. Or they’ll simply term a dealer “hot” when they keep losing to the dealer.

And that right there is where the first hole is punched in this philosophy. The player keeps losing. So in a quiet, passive-aggressive response, the player will change tables. To me this is sulking that the cards were running in the dealer’s favor.

But in blackjack, the cards don’t favor one or the other forever. If a dealer is “hot” by winning with several hands made up of small cards, what does that mean? It means that the high cards—the 10s, face cards and Aces—haven’t been played yet. So you don’t want to leave the table. Bet small and wait it out until the high cards begin to come out. You’ll be glad you didn’t give into your sulk and leave.

Keep an eye out for Blackjack Philosophy No-No’s—Part II

The Trick to Soft Hand Double Downs

It’s easy to decide whether to double down when you are playing with a hard hand. We all know that you double down with a hard 9, 10 or 11 and only when against certain dealer up cards. And never against a dealer’s Ace.

But what about when you have a soft hand?

Yes, there are soft hands that you can double down on.

It seems that a fair amount of blackjack players are somewhat uncertain of what to do with a soft hand: play it as a hard hand? Hit it? Stand?

While basic strategy is a very good guide to follow, there is another bit of blackjack strategy that you can use when debating on whether to double down or not: the Rule of 9.

But first what soft hands should consider and which ones should you not?

Never think of doubling down on an Ace-7, Ace-8 or Ace-9. Those you usually stand on.

But an Ace-2 up to an Ace-6 you can think about it. You can use the Rule of 9 as your guide as to when to double down on a soft hand in blackjack and when not to.

The Rule of 9 works like this in blackjack: add your number card (not the Ace) to the dealer’s up card. If the total is 9 or more, double down on that hand. For example, if you have an Ace-6 against a dealer’s 3, add that 3 to your 6 and you have 9—double down.

But if you had an Ace-4 against that 3, the 4 and the 3 only add up to 7—hit that hand instead.

The Rule of 9 is an easy to remember rule to keep in the back of your mind. You don’t even need a chart on hand to know how to use it. But it will help you know when to double down on soft hands in blackjack and when to just hit.

Kentucky Looking to Say ‘Yay’ to Online Gambling—Sort of

In what seems to be a positive trend for United States’ gambling, Kentucky is now joining the list of states looking at gambling as a resource to help pull their state out of the recession. Kind of.

Kentucky Governor Steven Beshear is seeking to right his state’s budget, which is $850 million short for the next two fiscal years. Beshear is already speaking as if the revenue from legalizing and regulating interstate gambling will be a definite thing. He’s treating it like it’s the only option available for Kentucky. According to him, the $850 million he would have to cut from other spending would be reduced to $78 million in cuts.

Beshear has been quoted as saying, “[Gambling revenue] will provide a reliable source of income we can use year after year after year to make investments in the institutions and people of this state, to strengthen our efforts to emerge from this recession not shell-shocked and shattered, but ambitious and able.”

Pretty words from a man who is very opposed to online gambling and online casinos—this would include online blackjack. Beshear believes online casinos are “leaches to the state.”

But he’s perfectly okay with gambling face to face. Apparently, playing blackjack in a Kentucky sanctioned casino would be very different from playing in an online casino that is regulated by Kentucky.

Perhaps Beshear should reexamine his stance on online casinos and online gambling like New Jersey and Florida are doing. If it’s revenue for his state that he’s seeking surely he can see the benefit that online gambling being regulated in Kentucky could have for his state.

By regulating face to face gambling within the borders of Kentucky, Beshear would only be making money off of Kentucky residents. But if he were to work with the state’s Legislature to regulate online gambling within Kentucky the potential to reach out and pull in more revenue will increase. Online casinos make playing your favorites, like our favorite blackjack, more accessible. The more accessible it is, the more people will play it.

So perhaps Kentucky should be looking in the direction that New Jersey and Florida are.

How to Correctly Play 16 Against a 7

Plays made against a dealer’s up card of 7 are usually misplayed. Novice players seem to not know what to do when faced with that 7.

This seems to happen most often when you have a sixteen and he has a 7 showing. Many players will stand here rather than hit. And hitting is what you should be doing. Even a basic strategy chart will tell you to hit a hard 16 against a dealer’s 7.

Now let me briefly ask you, what would you do if the dealer was showing a 10 or a face card and you had a hard 16? You’d hit and you’d have no problem doing so.

But in all actuality the dealer is more likely to bust with a 7 than with a 10. He will bust 23 times out of 100 with a 10, but will bust 26 times out of 100 when he has a 7 showing. And you? You have the same chances of busting in with this hand regardless of whether he has a 10 or a 7. And even though he has a greater chance of busting with a 7, so many novice blackjack players will stand against that 7.

And this is where it doesn’t make sense. If you have the same chances of busting, and he has a greater chance of busting on that 7 rather than with a 10, why would you stand against the 7 and not the 10?

Yes, you should be hitting against them both, and bravo if you are. But the standing against a 7 has got to stop. And this applies to both land based blackjack and online blackjack. If you’re standing against the 7 you’re not playing this hand to its best opportunity. Just remember, hit a hard 16 against a dealer 7. And make the most of this stiff hand because when do we really have a lot of opportunity with a stiff hand?

And if you answer with a hard 12 you will have made me proud.

Florida is Waking Up for Online Blackjack

It finally seems that the states are waking up in regards to online gambling and online blackjack. Last week, in light of Pennsylvania approving table games, New Jersey is looking at legalizing online gambling for its residents. Now it seems that Florida may go down that road too.

Florida itself doesn’t seem to be really opposed to gambling. The state does have casinos and racinos. The legislature’s decision, I think, came down to which side had more money to lobby with. But anyway, the Seminoles have had their dreams of having a monopoly on blackjack tables done away with. Which is a shame because the Florida budget could use the income that would have come from the Seminoles.

And I’m sure Floridians would have loved to have blackjack tables at all seven tribal casinos.

But closing the doors on the Seminole blackjack tables doesn’t fix Florida’s need for revenue. So similar to how Pennsylvania turned to table games like blackjack to fill in the hole in their budget, Florida is beginning to look in that direction too…only they’re looking at online gambling regulations.

And I have to give them some kudos here. They are acknowledging that Americans gamble online.

Yes, Americans gamble. Don’t even pretend to be surprised.

Florida’s Office of Program Policy and Government Analysis (OPPAGA) is reviewing the good and the bad of legalizing and regulating online gambling, such as online blackjack, within Florida. They have accepted that Americans have turned online gambling into a past time. And they’re seeing the millions, if not billions, of dollars that are being funneled into the revenue of other countries where it has no benefit to the Americans who are playing.

In legalizing online gambling, Florida is hoping to find the money to fill in the holes in their budget, and then put that money to use for the Floridians that are doing the gambling. Hopefully, Florida will legalize online gambling and that will help turn the tide on a federal level.

Blackjack vs. Video Blackjack

I write this after reading a news piece on how the Florida Legislature pretty much shut down the Seminoles’ deal for keeping their blackjack tables. On a side note, it’s possible that the “cease and desist” order could come from the National Indian Gaming Commission within a month for at least three of the seven Seminole casinos. Although, the NIGC hasn’t made the move to shut the tables down yet.

But near the end of the article was an interesting development on the Seminoles part. They are now apparently examining the virtual or video blackjack games found in South Florida racetracks.

These video blackjack games are what caught my eye. The way these games work, players are seated around a TV monitor where they play out their moves on a touch screen in front of them. So the dealer, the cards and the chips are all virtual, but the rules and how the game is played is the same as any ordinary blackjack game.

Now to me this sounds a lot like a mashed together version of a blackjack table and online blackjack.

The Seminoles feel that this is close enough to blackjack that it would give them legal rights to keep their tables. The Seminoles can have any game that is offered in the state. And if these video blackjack games in South Florida are judged to be close enough, it gives the Seminoles what they need. However the president of one of the South Florida casinos says that these video blackjack games are nothing more than a slot machine.

A slot machine? Last I heard a slot machine has reels, virtual or otherwise, that spin. Players win by chance if a combination comes up on said reels. Blackjack has no reels. And if players are playing a game in which the objective is to beat the dealer without going over 21, then I believe it’s blackjack.

According to the South Florida casino president, his video blackjack games aren’t blackjack because they have no live dealer and the cards and chips are electronic. But what is online blackjack then? That’s all electronic, and the last time I checked they still call that blackjack.

So really what is defines a blackjack game? A live dealer? Then what are we playing online?

It seems more that this president was on the side of the legislature and feels threatened by the Seminoles. Why else call a video blackjack game a slot machine?

I believe blackjack should be defined by the game itself, regardless of how it’s played. If the objective is to beat the dealer without going over 21 it’s blackjack.

Tricky Pairs in Blackjack: a Pair of 4s

How do you know whether to split a pair of 4s or not? You can look at your basic strategy chart and you’ll find an answer but it may not be the best answer for once. The times to spit or not to split are actually determined by the house rules.

If you’re playing in a blackjack game where you are allowed to double down after splitting that is a time to split.

Okay, your blackjack basic strategy chart does have a role in how you play your pair of 4s. If you look at it, it will tell you to hit most of the time. But if you look at what plays to make when the dealer has an up card of 5 or 6, you will see that it will tell you to split.

And that is when you want to split, but only if you are allowed to double down after splitting. If you are dealt a 5, 6, 7 or Ace to one of your 4s when splitting you are in a very good place to double down. Yes, you are going to have to put more money on the table, but the point of having a strategy is to know when you’re in an advantageous position and how to play them. A pair of 4s in a blackjack game where you can double after splitting is one of those advantageous positions. So scoot those extra chips out there.

But if the house isn’t allowing players to double down after splitting then you will want to play those 4s as an 8 and hit.