All I Want for Christmas is a Blackjack App!

Christmas is upon us, blackjack players! For us this does not really mean much in all honesty. Online casinos do gear up for the holidays with exciting promotions, but those promotions and tournaments are heavily weighted for online slots play. And since I prefer to play a casino game I can actually make money off of, I will stick with blackjack. Guess this means I will have to give up hope of an online casino Christmas.

Or perhaps not.

Studies have shown that there is a spike in time spent on casino game mobile apps in the month of December, with a particularly high amount of usage on Christmas Day. And what did the researchers conclude as possible reasons for this?

Bad TV for one thing. There is nothing on except reruns of regular shows and more reruns of the same Christmas movies that have been aired year after year. Rather than watch the same show again and again, year after year players are turning more and more to their mobile devices.

There is a definite increase overall

Florida Blackjack Boat

North Charleston, South Carolina is not the only city to put blackjack port. Jacksonville, Florida has launched its own casino boat to offer some player favorable blackjack.

Jacks or Better is the name of the boat and it sails out of the Mayport area of Jacksonville five days per week: Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The boat sails twice on each of those days with ticket prices ranging from $13 to $18 for each trip; ticket price includes port tax, parking, boarding and nonalcoholic drinks. While the boat is dark on Mondays and Tuesdays it is possible for it to be chartered.

As for the blackjack, Jacks or Better has put together an admirable offering.

Standard blackjack is offered with a 3-2 payout ratio on natural blackjacks. Other player favorable rules include the dealer standing on soft 17s and double downs on any two cards; players can also split aces once and are allowed to double down on any splits except for Aces.

In addition to standard blackjack with some decent rules, Blackjack Switch is also offered on the Jacks or Better boat. I have to say that Blackjack Switch is probably one of the best blackjack variations I have seen yet.

Once passengers are on board, Jacks or Better will say out into international waters where it is not held back by United States restrictions on gambling. And since this is the water-based equivalent to a brick and mortar casino, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) cannot touch it. So if you are looking for a break from online gambling restrictions, check for blackjack boats in your area if you happen to not be in Florida.

6-5 Blackjack Payouts and the House Edge

I hate having my hand forced. It is just a really rotten feeling, playing a variation of blackjack that is far from ideal to me.

Such is how I feel when the only blackjack tables available are ones offering a 6-5 payout on a natural blackjack. If I were playing blackjack online I could find a different online casino to play at. If I were playing in Vegas I could simply walk to another casino. But when you are trapped in an environment with no other options, like when you are on a cruise ship for example, and the only payout ratio available is that nasty 6-5 you will find yourself pressed with a choice: to play and accept a poor house edge or to not play at all.

I know, it is a tough call. On one hand you really like to play blackjack. And when stuck on a giant boat with limited gaming options, 6-5 is the only option. But a 6-5 game of blackjack is, to me at least, just not an acceptable option because of the house edge.

A 6-5 payout for a natural blackjack is 1.45%. And that is taking basic strategy into account.

In a 3-2 blackjack game the house edge, again considering basic strategy, is 0.5%. So you have a 1.4% difference that favors the house. And that is one house edge that I will not play with. You can probably guess at this point that I do not play blackjack when on a cruise ship that only offers me 6-5 blackjack payouts.

That is what I mean by a facing down a forced hand. And you thought staring down a hard 16 with a dealer

What are your Odds of Winning in Blackjack?

Do you know? Are you sure you know?

Yes, blackjack offers some good odds when compared to other casino games. But really, what are your chances of winning?

Excluding pushes (the times that you and the dealer have the same total), you have a 48% shot of winning while the dealer has a 52% shot of beating you.

Realistically those are high odds for players. And they are much better than what you odds would be of winning roulette or slots. But, yes, the house still has the edge. Even when you are using basic strategy.

Depending on what house rules are in play, the house will start out with a 2% to 5% edge over you. But playing all of your hands