Online Blackjack Friday

It is Friday and that means it is time for some online blackjack tournament action!

If you have $10 to spare then you can play in the Weekend Blackjack Classic at Millionaire Casino. They host a three day online blackjack tournament that begins on Friday and runs through Sunday. And unlike other online blackjack tournaments, this one has players playing for a piece of a $5,000 prize pool.

But if you are running low on funds there are always the $0.99 online blackjack tournaments at Go Casino. Granted they are not offering a $5,000 prize pool and you will be playing for a percentage of the pot, but at least you do get to play in a tournament. And you know that you have only invested a little should you lose.

Go Casino alternates which type of online blackjack they use for their $0.99 tournaments. This Friday’s online blackjack game of choice is Perfect Pairs. While this is not my favorite blackjack variation, at least you will only have spend $0.99 on the tournament. That, and nothing says that you have to make the side wager.

And that is it. I know, it is not a lot in the way of online blackjack tournaments, certainly nothing compared to the offerings of online slots tournaments on weekends. But I will be glad with what is being offered.

I will not lie, I would love to see more online blackjack tournaments. But I will take what is offered and hope that online casinos will come to understand that online blackjack players like tournaments too. So for now I am grateful for the online blackjack tournaments that Millionaire Casino and Go Casino offer online blackjack players.

Poker Gaming Company Makes Automated Blackjack Table

PokerTek, a licensed gaming company that specializes in electronic solutions—read: games that do not require the hiring of people—to casinos’ table games, will be unveiling their latest automated table game at this year’s Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas: Blackjack Pro.

Blackjack Pro is like any other blackjack table except that there is no dealer. The entire game is automated with the basic rules of blackjack already programmed into its software. Basic rules aside, casino operators will have the power to set up and alter some of the rules, such as whether or not a player can double down after splitting a pair, or split a second pair of Aces. So the house edge on these automated blackjack tables is not really set.

Casino operators will also be able to adjust the payout options as well. Meaning that if they want to set a Blackjack Pro table to have a 6-5 payout on a natural blackjack instead of a 3-2 because they are using the automated table to support a blackjack variation instead of a standard game, it is possible.

Each Blackjack Pro table will have a central screen so that players sitting around the table are looking at the same screen, rather than each player having their very own screen. PokerTek claims that this will increase social interaction amongst blackjack players.

But what PokerTek fails to understand is that, despite a table holding seven players, blackjack is a one-on-one game of the player versus the dealer. The plays that the other players make do not impact the outcome of my hand.

I am sure that PokerTek means will with its automated blackjack table, but Blackjack Pro is not going to change the basis of blackjack, and it will not turn blackjack into a social game like poker.

Which Blackjack Table to Play at—Part II

When I left you this morning you had just stepped onto the casino floor and were faced with the choosing which blackjack table is the best to play at. Yes, real casinos will have more than four blackjack tables, but in this instance there are only four. Think of it as a really, really small casino.

So which blackjack table did you decide was the best to play at?

If you chose table 2 then you chose correctly.

Table 2 had the two guys playing a quiet game through a streak of low cards.

So why this blackjack table and not any of the others? It comes down to the cards.

Well, the guys at table 1 are experiencing a run of high cards. The problem with this table is that jumping in now would mean that you do not get to play through the entire high card streak, causing you to lose out on some profit opportunities.

Table 3 would be the table to join if you were new to the game of blackjack. But if you are an experienced player, the rounds would go very slowly and no doubt wear on your patience. And if only one or two of the ladies is winning in each round, it means that a streak is not happening with which to judge the table with. Table 3 is a table for novices. If you are not a novice, this is not the table for you.

A large pile of chips is not an indicator of how good a blackjack table is. Those players at table 4 could easily have started with larger bankrolls rather than won all those chips. The indicator is that the cards at that table are mixed, indicating that there are no streaks present—like at table 3.

The low streak at table 2 means that the low cards are passing out of play and that high cards are likely to be on their way. Judge how good a blackjack table is by the cards. Always, always look at the cards. And remember that a table with a low card streak is a good table to jump in on if possible.

Which Blackjack Table to Play at

Casinos are exciting places to visit. Lights, sounds, just the general atmosphere pulls you in and surrounds you creating a one of a kind feeling. With all the excitement it can be rather hard to choose which blackjack table is best to play at.

Wait, am I saying that there is a way to choose which blackjack table is best to play at?

Why, yes, I am.

We are going to pretend that you just walked out onto the casino floor and are looking to play blackjack. You head to where the balckajck tables are and find that you have a few options. I am going to give a few different types of tables and see if you can guess which table is the best blackjack table to play at.

Table 1: The table has six of its seven seats filled by some rather rowdy guys. They are rowdy because they have been winning fairly often. They are also all friends and have been drinking some as well.

Table 2: This table only has a couple of people at it. They are playing quietly, rarely speaking and communicating their plays to the dealer in hand signals. You notice that they keep getting more low cards than high, and the dealer is winning more. You attribute this to the reason why the two players are being so serious.

Table 3: At the third table the dealer appears to be offering help to a group of ladies who do not seem to really understand the game. The dealer is being very nice about helping them, and at least one or two of the ladies beats him each round.

Table 4: The final table is only half full and each player has a large pile of chips in front them. The cards are mixed, with no real leaning on high or low cards.

Those are your four blackjack tables to choose from. Imagine that you are standing on the casino floor and have to choose one. Which blackjack table is the best to play at.?

Check back this afternoon and I will tell you which blackjack table is the best to play at and why.

Understanding the Objective of Blackjack and How to Play

It is okay to admit that you once upon a time did not truly understand the objective of blackjack. Not understanding the objective actually has an impact on how to play blackjack.

I will admit it. There once was a time that I did not know how to play blackjack correctly because I did not know the true objective of blackjack. Granted, this was a long time ago, but there was such a time. I was eleven years old waiting for classes to start in the morning; my friends and I would play blackjack thinking all we had to do was get 21.

Most often brand new players or non-regular players will hear that blackjack is all about getting a hand of 21.

This, however, is not the true objective of blackjack. The true objective is to beat the dealer without getting a card total of more than 21. And it is important to know the difference as these two objectives require two different playing and strategy mindsets.

If you were to play blackjack according to the idea that all you have to do is get a hand total of 21, it would not matter what the dealer had since all you have to worry about is getting 21. This difference in objectives becomes most evident in the hard hands.

About half of the hard hands in the game you stand on in hopes that the dealer will bust. But if you are not worried about the dealer, then a good many of those hard hands you would not stand on since the potential to get 21 is all the exists in this particular idea of the game.

But when taking the dealer into account it becomes evident how the game changes. Beating the dealer does not mean getting 21. It means getting a strong hand or playing defensively on a rough hand and hoping the dealer busts.

There are more hitting options in a game based only on getting 21. But there is more strategy involved in when you are playing a game in which you are trying to beat the dealer—in a game of blackjack. Knowing the true objective does have an impact on how to play blackjack. It is important to know the objective if you want to learn how to play blackjack right.

Blackjack App Thoughts

I have a couple of really good idea for a blackjack app for all these mobile devices out there, all of the smartphones and iPads and iPhones and what not. But I lack the technical know-how to actually create such mobile apps. So what I want to know is why someone without the technical know-how can think of these blackjack apps, but no one with the actual ability to create them has not done so. I mean, I would buy the apps.

I have heard about mobile blackjack apps that will help teach you the game and its rules. And I have heard of mobile apps that let you play blackjack on the go.

But there are two apps or parts of apps that I want to see.

I want to see a mobile blackjack app that can sync with others with the same app nearby. Kind of like those dating/flirting apps that people have—the ones that alert you when someone you are compatible with and who also has the app is nearby.

The way it would work in a blackjack app is for the person to play blackjack and receive a score based on how well they play. Then, when they are within the vicinity of another person with this nifty blackjack app, their phone will alert each person and their top score will be sent to each other. This will inspire some competitiveness between players. Play, spend time on the app, so that you will not be embarrassed with when another blackjack player with the app comes within the trading zone and your score gets zapped to them. Play hard, blackjack players!

Another blackjack mobile app I want to see is more practical. I want to see an app that teaches blackjack strategy. Specifically one that teaches basic strategy. Basic strategy is a free strategy that anyone can access after all, but not many players actually know how to teach themselves basic strategy. They need something that will teach.

So those are my ideas for blackjack mobile apps that I want to see. There are already plenty out there that simply allow you to play on the go, be they only about blackjack or part of a mobile casino app.

To Switch or Not to Switch

The game of Blackjack Switch sounds quite easy to play on the surface. Especially since it allows you the option of switching your second cards. Because this blackjack variation gives you that option it seems like playing Switch would be a pretty easy thing to do.

Not always.

How do you know if your original hands are better or if the switched hands are better? There is no basic strategy for Blackjack Switch, just your own brain and logic.

Take a look at this example to get what I mean:

We are going to say that the dealer has a 7 showing. When the beginning dealing is down you have an Ace/7 on one hand and a 10/9 on the other. You have a soft 18 and a hard 19.

If you were to switch them, you would strengthen one hand to soft 20 (Ace/9) and weaken the other to a hard 17 (10/7)?

This sort of situation is what makes Blackjack Switch not as easy as it seems.

So which is better: to have two reasonably strong hands, or one really strong and one that is one the weak side?

For your answer look at how I summed up the situation in the last sentence.

Still do not see it? Here it is:

When facing a dealer who is holding a fairly strong card and you have the option of two reasonably strong hands versus one really strong and one fairly weak, it is best to go with the two reasonably strong hands.

If you were to switch to the soft 20 and hard 17, you run the risk of winning one hand and losing with the other. That sort of winning will only cause you to break even and you will not walk away from the round any better off than when you started. True, it is better than losing both hands, but what if you could win both hands and make a profit?

Which is exactly what you can do by having two reasonably strong hands. While they are not guaranteed to win, they still put you in a better position to win both hands, which is your goal when playing Blackjack Switch.

This is why Blackjack Switch requires some brain work and logic when choosing to switch the second cards or not. This is not a blackjack game in which you just have the cards switched just for the sake of switching them.

Playing in Blackjack Switch

Blackjack Switch is a newer blackjack variation. And while players do have to wager more in a round than they would in a standard game, I find that I do not mind. For one thing the extra wagering is not for a side bet, it is for a second hand that is mandatory to play Switch with. And for another thing this blackjack variation relies on skill, logical thinking and blackjack strategy.

The way Blackjack Switch is played is with two hands per player. The round begins with the player setting out two wagers of equal amounts. The player is then dealt one card for the first hand and then the first card for the second hand; once both first cards are dealt each hand will receive its second cards.

The unique thing about Switch is that, once it is your turn to play, you can tell the dealer to switch the two second cards of your hands. The strategy is to strengthen your hands and your position against the dealer.

For example if you were dealt a 10 on your first hand and a 5 on your second hand, and then received a 6 on the 10 and an Ace on the 5 you would be in a tough spot if this were an ordinary blackjack game.

But you are not in an ordinary blackjack game. You are in a game of Blackjack Switch.

At this point you have a soft 16 on your first hand and a hard 16 on the second hand. Tricky spot to be in normally. But in Switch you can signal to the dealer at the beginning of your turn to switch your second cards. Once that switch is made you then have 10/Ace and a 5/6: a natural blackjack and hard 11, which you can double down on.

Unfortunately you would only receive an even money payout for the natural blackjack. Normally I would not play in a game that paid me even money for a natural. But in the case of this game, I am willing to take the even money payout so that I can have the ability to switch my cards. The ability to switch does make for more blackjacks.

That and in the case of the above example, I would rather have the even money payout than lose my wager like I probably would have done if I had not switched.

See, this is the kind of logic that I am talking about. Players have to think about whether their original hands are stronger than the hands that would be formed if they had the second cards switched. Because of that logic and that little extra challenge, Blackjack Switch has become the variation I would turn to if I wanted a break from blackjack but still wanted to play.

Really Good Blackjack Payouts

The numbers have just come in from Cinema Casino, an online casino based in Malta. It seems that September was a very good month…for the blackjack players.

During the course of September online blackjack players at Cinema Casino received a total rate of 100.28% in payouts. In translation that means that on average the online blackjack players at this online casino received a little more than 100% of their wagers back in payouts. They turned a profit from playing blackjack.

I love this game. True, it is a bit harder to win real money from online blackjack but that is because card counting cannot be used in online blackjack. So I applaud the online blackjack players at Cinema Casino.

But what is curious to me is why Cinema Casino is so widely publishing this payout information. Granted the monthly payout reports are not exactly top secret. They are audited by the auditing facilities at eCogra before being published.

And while the affiliation with eCogra is a very good sign, a part of me cannot help being a tad bit skeptical. Perhaps it is just seeing an online casino boasting their payouts so much—it is not something one sees all that often.

And they are quite boastful, check it out:

Victor Roberts, casino manager, said, “Players can trust in the fact that they always come out with full pockets when they play on CinemaCasino.com. Winners are not born. They are made—by us!”

Makes me raise an eyebrow no doubt. But I still have to say that September’s online blackjack players at Cinema Casino are not going to argue the point. After all, they did turn a profit in online blackjack.

Things I Do Like About Blackjack

Earlier today I gave a couple of the things that I do not like about my beloved blackjack. So now it is time to name some of the things that I do like about blackjack. These would be the incentives to play blackjack, people.

First off it has the lowest house edge out of all of the casino games out there. And that is before applying any blackjack strategy to the game.

Depending on what the house rules are, a standard game of blackjack will start with a house edge of 2% to 5%. When you compare it to the 14% that slots games have—and they have no strategy at all—blackjack becomes very reasonable. Actually it becomes even more reasonable to play the game.

Note that I said before applying any blackjack strategy. Another high point of blackjack is that players can use blackjack strategy to influence the outcome of their hands. They might not win every single hand and “beat the game,” but they can put themselves in a position to take advantage of money-making opportunities. The better those opportunities are, the more money it is possible to win.

Another blackjack high point that goes hand in hand with blackjack strategy is its number one strategy tool: basic strategy.

Basic strategy is a chart that tells players the most advantageous play to make based on what their two starting cards are and what the dealer’s up card is. Where the two lines on the chart intersect the best possible play is given.

This little chart, which is perfectly legal to use in casinos, can help you to take advantage of times when it is best to double down and split pairs. With those advantages it becomes possible to win more money and increase your blackjack odds. Basic strategy also can lower the house edge to 0.5%, which makes blackjack the casino game with the lowest edge hands down.

Between easy to use yet highly effective strategy and the small house edge, blackjack offers so much and lends itself to being one of the top casino games out there.