Blackjack Myth—I am Due to Win

While you may not have seen this in online blackjack, unless you were the one doing it, this is a pretty common occurrence at blackjack tables in brick and mortar casinos: players who have lost several hands of blackjack in a row (hope they were not using a progressive betting system) and now feel it is their due to win a round.

It is all too common. Whether the blackjack player has only lost a couple of hands or is just having a bad run with the cards, he will begin fussing about how it is high time he won a hand. As if the cards were really listening. But cards are inanimate objects and the odds in a round of blackjack do not bend to a player’s desire to win.

The myth that a player is due to win ties in with progressive betting systems and why they are not healthy for a blackjack player. Both the myth and such betting systems are based on the idea that it is some sort of right for the player to win and that hands in blackjack are dependent on previous hands.

As a result players will often begin raising the amount of their wagers after their magic number of losses have happened, believing that it is time they win and that they can make back all the money they lost in previous rounds. Again, you see how players believe that future hands are dependent on previous hands.

This is so very not true.

Hands in blackjack are not dependent on each other. This means that it does not matter how many times you have won or lost. Each hand of blackjack is independent of the previous one.

Here is how it is: players will win around 48% of the hands they play regardless of whether they won or lost the previous round. Those odds do not change. There is no blackjack rule that says you are due to win after losing X number of rounds.

And because they do not change it is in your best interest to not believe that you are ever due to win. Just play using your blackjack strategy and hope that the cards are with you.

Microchip Blackjack Happening

Imagine a game of blackjack in which you place your chips on the table and your betting total is instantly calculated by the casino. The casino is watching you and your chips, and how you are betting in blackjack, how much you a betting.

Sound a tad Big Brother?

Well, it does kind of sound that way. It seems casinos may have found a way to track their chips. The Meadows in Pennsylvania says that it might have in place microchipped casino chips. These chips would use a radio frequency identification technology to communicate with the casino.

According to the Meadows these microchipped casino chips can be used at a blackjack table to add up a player’s wager faster. And then at the end of the night, these RFID chips can increase the speed of cashing out at the cage at the end of the night.

Sean Sullivan, General Manager of the Meadows, has also given another reason that players should welcome these chips: they will protect players. How so? Because these chips will have RFID technology in their chips it will nearly eliminate counterfeiting chips. This way players will not be surprised when they go to cash out and are told some of their chips are not real.

The chips are being presented as nothing but beneficial to casino patrons.

However, blackjack players have reason to be wary of these microchipped casino chips: it can also make it easier for the casino to pick out card counters.

If these chips are communicating with the casino how much a player is wagering on a game of blackjack each round, casino staff will be able to see when a blackjack player raises and lowers his wager.

So while, yes, there are some benefits to these fancy chips, card counting blackjack players will most likely not take to them at all. You have to wonder how this is going to impact blackjack traffic at the Meadows.

Blackjack Odds vs. Other Casino Games

When it comes to playing online blackjack, it is one of the best online casino games to play. For one thing, online blackjack is easy. But in terms of making a profit from a casino game, online blackjack is the way to go considering that it offers you the best odds.

Seriously, it does. Let’s take a look shall we. I am going to list all of the online casino games that can be commonly found in online casinos and their house advantages. I am going to list them by game and in order of highest house edge to lowest.

Baccarat: Tie: 14.44%
Baccarat: Player: 1.24%
Baccarat: Dealer: 1.06$

Caribbean Stud Poker: 5.22%

Craps: Any 7: 16.67%
Craps: Any Craps: 11.1%
Craps: 4 and 10: 6.66%
Craps: Field: 5.55%
Craps: 5 and 9: 4.0%
Craps: 6 and 8: 1.51%
Craps: Pass/Don’t Pass: 1.41%
Craps: Come/Don’t Come: 1.41%

Keno: 25%-29%

Pai Gow Poker: 2.50%

Roulette: American: 5.26%
Roulette: European: 2.7%

Slots: $0.05: 15.20%
Slots: $0.25: 10.20%
Slots: $0.50: 9.10%
Slots: $1: 8.10%
Slots: $5: 5.50%
Slots: $25: 5.30%
Slots: $100: 3.90%

Video poker: 5.00%

Now that you have seen the odds on some of the most common online casino games we can talk about online blackjack odds. The house edge in online blackjack when playing with basic strategy is 0.5%. As you can see, none of the common online casino games comes close to the odds offered by online blackjack.

When you consider blackjack’s placement in comparison to othercasino games, it is easy to see why a large number of players prefer online blackjack. With the house edge being that low, a player’s odds of making a profit with online blackjack explains its profitability.

What Would Make Up the Best Blackjack Game?

While we all enjoy our blackjack games, be it blackjack in a brick and mortar casino or blackjack online, we all will imagine from time to time what would be our perfect blackjack game. Granted, we do not expect to ever actually find our perfect game of blackjack, but every now and then we will all sigh and let our minds wander to this perfect game and imagine the fun and the winnings.

So what would my perfect game of blackjack be? Well, naturally it has all kinds of player favorable rules.

For starters I would have natural blackjacks paying 2-1 instead of 3-2. While a 3-2 payout is awesome, a 2-1 payout will not only pay more but it will also increase a player’s blackjack odds by 2.27%.

What else?

I would have double downs on any first two cards, not just 10s and 11s. That right there would increase a player’s blackjack odds by 0.23%. And while we are on the subject of double downs, I would also allow for double downs after splitting a pair. That little move adds a nice 0.15% to the blackjack odds of a player.

Moving on to the subject of pair splitting, my perfect game of blackjack would allow resplitting on any pairs, which adds 0.03% to their player odds. Not a lot but any rule that gives a blackjack player more options is a good thing—except side bets, there would be no side bets in this perfect game of blackjack.

And I would allow for early surrender on any first two cards. That gives a nice 0.62% boost to your blackjack odds.

As for rules that apply to the dealer, he would have to stand on soft 17. I would not have any off that hitting a soft 17 nonsense. Taking away the dealer’s ability to hit a soft 17 takes away the negative 0.2% to your player odds.

Finally to top of this perfect game, the number of decks these rules would be played out on: a single deck. Just like in the good old days of blackjack before casinos started getting greedy and wanting to make the game harder.

Adding all the player favorable advantages here together gives the player 0.835% odds. Just those rules alone but the game’s odds in your favor. You would not even need card counting at this point. While I would not win every single hand in this game, I would certainly be pulling in more in winnings than I would in a typical blackjack game. And this is all before using basic strategy too.

Unfortunately, the chances of me finding such a game of blackjack, be it an online blackjack game or blackjack in a brick and mortar casino, are not all that great. But I can dream, right?

How Card Counting Works

Part of the image of blackjack is card counting. And that image is of a smooth blackjack player who slips in and, using his incredible intelligence, overcomes the house edge, wins lots of money and slips out before the casino staff can catch on to him.

The idea that card counting can be used to beat the house is not new. And it can help a skilled blackjack player to break even with the house’s edge, if not overcome it somewhat. And that is why it becomes a part of a skilled player’s blackjack strategy.

Some misconceptions about card counting are that you have to be super intelligent or have a photographic memory. Neither of these are true. If you can add +1 and -1 then you can count cards. Oh, and forget about the photographic memory part, you only need to be able to work with +1 and -1.

Seriously, that is all there is to the most basic and widely used card counting system: Hi-Lo.

In the Hi-Lo counting system the cards are assigned counting values as follows:

2 through 6 are +1
7 through 9 are 0
10 through Ace are -1

When playing add up the values of the cards on the table. Say you are sitting with two other players and the dealer. You are dealt a 2/8, another player is dealt 6/10, the other is dealt 4/3 and the dealer has a 2 showing. The math would look like this:

+1 + 0 + 0 -1 +1 +1 = +2

That would be the count at that point. As players are dealt more cards and the dealer plays out his hand you keep adding the counting values as the cards appear. That is how card counting works.

When the count goes at least +3 or higher, skilled card counters will begin to raise their bets. And when the count runs -3 or lower they will start to lower their bets. This is because when the count is positive it means that there are more high cards still left to be played, and high cards are good for players and natural blackjacks. But when the count goes negative it means that the remaining deck is rich in dealer favorable low cards.

In order to become skillful with card counting you need to practice a lot at home with several decks of cards. You need to work at your blackjack card counting skills until you can count quickly and quietly in your head. Card counting can get you barred from a casino, which is why you want to practice and increase your skill with card counting so that you do not get caught and barred.

Blackjack Myth—Always Insure a Blackjack or 20

The only time that this myth would come up is when you are dealt a natural blackjack or a 20 and the dealer has an Ace showing. In fact, the only time you are offered insurance in blackjack is when the dealer has an Ace showing.

The belief on this blackjack myth might sound reasonable, but it is in fact not practical. Here are the reasons these myth-believing blackjack players will insure their blackjacks and 20s:

– If you insure your blackjack you will get an even money payout no matter what even if the dealer has a blackjack.

– If you insure your 20 and the dealer does have blackjack you will wind up with the equivalent of an even money payout because you will lose that round’s wager, but will collect on the insurance bet.

The belief in this myth is that you are protecting your hand. The problem is that when you are protecting it you are costing yourself more money.

When you insure your blackjack you are losing out on your potential profits. By ensuring a blackjack you are taking a payout of 1-1 and giving up your 3-2 payout. Breaking that 3-2 down looks like this: 1.04-1. And 1.04 is greater than 1-1. Taking insurance, ergo even money, on a blackjack is costing you 4% of your potential profit. So while insurance might feel safer, it is more expensive in the long run to your profit.

As for insuring your 20, that is just not practical. What is a hard twenty made of? It is made up of two 10s. It is one of those pairs that you do not split. Think of this: you are holding two of the cards the dealer needs. This lessens the dealer’s chances of having a blackjack, and it lessens your chances of collecting on your insurance bet because you need him to have a 10. So put all of your chances on yourself and do not take insurance.

Part of your blackjack strategy is playing smart. Not all the tips you hear on the casino floor and in online blackjack forums are good ones. Take some time and think about the blackjack tips you find, maybe even do a little bit of research one them, before putting all your belief behind them. You might even try them out in a free-play mode of an online casino to see how they work.

Blackjack Myth—Always Stand on Soft 18

I have said it before and I will say it again. Soft hands are some of the most misplayed hand in blackjack. I have seen a good number of blackjack players who, while they can handle their hard hands, do not seem to know what to do with soft hands. And a soft 18 is one of those misplayed blackjack hands.

A fair amount of blackjack players will stand on a soft 18. To them it seems like there is no other possible way to play this hand. They get caught up in the 18 part and forget about the Ace.

When facing down a dealer’s 2 or 7 standing is a decent play to make. And you are most likely going to bust when faced with a dealer’s 9, 10 or Ace.

But what about when facing some of the dealer’s weaker hands, like a 3, 4, 5 or 6? Those are his weakest up cards and you do have that Ace in your hand…

The most advantageous play that you can make here is to double down. Part of your blackjack strategy is to exploit the dealer’s weaknesses. Standing is not exploiting those weaknesses. Hitting is a little better, but when faced with a 3 through 6 you really need to be doubling down.

Now, a soft 18 will lose you $18 for every $100 that you wager. This is not weak, it just is thanks to that 2, 7, 9, 10 and Ace. But by hitting and doubling down rather than just standing you can reduce that loss to $14 per $100.

The whole point of having a blackjack strategy is to take advantage and profit on the dealer’s weaknesses, and to minimalize the losses when such situations come up. Playing according to blackjack myths is not going to help you.

In the case of this myth, you might think that you are doing your blackjack strategy and your blackjack odds a favor, but the truth is that you are not. So do it, hit or double down on a soft 18 when you can.

Who is Winning When?

For those who play blackjack fairly often, for those who have researched blackjack, studied blackjack, they know the odds. They know that blackjack games start with a house edge of 2% to 5%. These studied blackjack players know that they can reduce the house edge to 0.5% just by playing perfect basic strategy.

Unfortunately 0.5% is the best odds an online blackjack player can be after. For blackjack players who play in brick and mortar casinos, they can employ their skills at card counting, and even out the odds or even tilt the odds in their favor.

But what do odds tell you about winning? They tell you the chances of you winning, but those odds apply to each and every hand. They do not tell you on average how often you could win at blackjack. And the well informed player should know how often they could win.

On average a player will only win 44% of the time while the dealer will win around 48% of the time. Those percentages apply to blackjack game when basic strategy is applied. But either the player winning or the dealer winning only accounts for 92% of games. The other 8% goes into pushes. Meaning that 8% the dealer and the player will have a push.

Of the average 44% of games that the player will win, 5% of those games will be won with a natural blackjack. Interestingly enough, the dealer’s natural blackjack account for 5% of their 48% of won games.

Do not be deceived by this. While the player and dealer will each win 5% of the time with blackjacks, do not assume that is the same number of blackjack. These are percentages, and 5% of 48% is larger than 5% of 4%. In short the dealer will have slightly more blackjacks than the player.

In the end, the average basic strategy playing blackjack player can expect to win an average of 44% of the time with 5%of those wins coming from natural blackjacks. And considering that this is a result of using basic strategy, these are the best odds on casino games, especially online casino games.

In short, online blackjack would be my game of choice. And if I were playing in a brick and mortar casino, I would be playing blackjack there too.

Blackjack Myth: Never Hit 12 Against a Dealer’s 2

For blackjack players who play according to basic strategy, I know, this myth does not make any sense.

And players believe this regardless of whether they are playing online blackjack or blackjack in a brick and mortar casino. Some are absolutely steadfast in this myth.

In truth they are only hurting their own blackjack odds.

Here is what happens in the mind of blackjack player who believes this myth—this is their reasoning. They are afraid of hitting and receiving a 10. They believe that the dealer’s hole card is a 10—another no-no in blackjack—and that if the dealer was dealt a 2 and a 10; and if they stand then the dealer will receive that 10 and bust.

They have this idea that if they hit they will only receive a 10. In their mind there is no other card that they could receive. So they will stand and hope the dealer gets the 10.

But here are the odds: standing on a hard 12 against a dealer’s 2 will cause you to lose 65% of the time while only winning 35% of the time.

On the other hand, if you hit like basic strategy tells you to, you will only lose 63% but you will win 37% of the time.

Yes, in the long run the odds are against the blackjack player in the long run. But look at the winning percentages: you will win 37% of the time if you hit. That is 2% more than if you were to stand. Granted 2% is not a lot, but I will take that 37% chance of winning rather than give it up.

Besides believing that you can only hit a hard 12 and receive a 10 in blackjack just seems, well, rather limiting. It also sounds a little like chopping off your nose to spite your face blackjack style.

Rhode Island Blackjack Hits Another Snag

Lawmakers in Rhode Island are certainly taking their time in deciding what to do with a bill about expanding the gambling offerings in two slot parlors. The two slot parlors are the Newport Grand and the Twin River in Lincoln.

The bill would allow for gambling expansion, which includes adding blackjack tables. But it seems that either lawmakers are a bit intimidated by blackjack, or there simply are not a lot of blackjack players in Rhode Island.

The bill would allow the state to determine how many blackjack tables there would be, their placement, their rules and odds, and to collect receipts from blackjack.

In 2006 citizens were allowed to vote on an amendment that would allow the Narragansett Indian Tribe to become partners with Harrah, and open a casino in West Warwick. The citizens voted no.

So lawmakers are aware that Rhode Island citizens are not crazy about the idea of having full casinos within their state. However, the state is hurting for money like a good number of states. And like those states, the lawmakers are eyeing revenue from legalized gambling to fill in some of the holes in the budget.

But lawmakers are not being too nasty about this and trying to force this through. There have been several revisions of the bill since it was first voted on. And for once the lawmakers are being considerate. They are going to have another review before voting.

But some citizens are not happy even with the lawmakers taking time to review the bill again. Barry Flynn, a resident of Newport, referred to the lawmakers as “petulant children.” All because the state is looking for ways to try to fill in the budget holes so that the state does not have to fire state employees and cut programs.

Seems to me that the citizens should calm down and wait to see what the lawmakers say after reviewing the bill again. They may find issue with it themselves this time. It seems to me that some of these citizens are behaving like petulant children, judging before actually seeing what Rhode Island lawmakers are thinking of doing.

Hopefully an agreement can be reached and blackjack can be brought to Rhode Island. After all, the state needs money, and blackjack in acasino would be a fun way for the state to pull some in.