Getting Your Blackjack Tournament Fix On!

Unfortunately for all of us online blackjack players, a good strong online blackjack tournament just does not happen as often as it should. And by ‘should’ I mean there should be a biggie at least once a month. Look at what online casinos do for slots tournaments—most have a fairly large tournament every weekend and when a holiday rolls in, forget it! Huge, massive prize pools…all for online slots.

And we all know that online blackjack gives way better odds than online slots, and that hosting so many big tournaments is the online casinos’ way of cashing in. But would it really hurt them to do a big online blackjack tournament once a month?

Anyway there is a way to get your online blackjack tournament fix on while waiting for the occasional big tournament. The prize pools are only the pot and these are only twenty four hour tournaments, but Online Vegas hosts three online blackjack tournaments each week on every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

These are pretty simple tournaments. They begin at 8 pm on those three days and run for twenty four hours. There is no set prize amount, only the pool; so the more people who play the bigger the pool is. And we get all of that for only a 99 cents entry fee.

Yes, 99 cents is all it takes to get your online blackjack tournament fix—or even work on some tournament strategy. The entry fee gives you fifty tournament credits to play with, although rebuys are available for $2.49.

Players who want to get their online blackjack tournament fix on for 99 cents can head over to Online Vegas and register. With them being offered three days a week for only 99 cents each, it really is not too bad of a way to get your blackjack tournament fix.

Virgin’s New Blackjack Bonus

While they do not accept players from the United States, Virgin Casino is one of the foremost online casinos operating in Europe. As such they have decided to begin offering a new blackjack bonus in hopes of throwing some favor to the card players.

Virgin has always been generous when it comes to their online slots players. Now it is time that they showed some favor to the blackjack players, well the new ones at any rate.

New players to Virgin will be able to claim a 50% deposit match using the code BLACKJACK50. But there is one slight downside to this blackjack bonus: it is only worth a maximum of £50. For all the Americans that is the same as just over $80.

So according to the bonus, players would have to deposit £100 in order to receive £50. Again, for the Americans, it would be like depositing $160 and only receiving $80.

While that sort of bonus is all well and fine as one of a few weekly bonuses in a player rewards program, it is actually not the greatest blackjack bonus. I offer up in comparison Rushmore’s blackjack bonus which is a 200% deposit match bonus worth up to $1,000. And $1,000 is a heck of a lot more than $80.

While I am glad to see Virgin Casino giving something to their blackjack players, I do feel that they are worth more than £50. On the other hand my mother always said that some is better than none, so I guess new blackjack players to Virgin have that as their option.

What is Basic Strategy?

The term basic strategy is tossed around all over sites with blackjack advice. It comes up when experienced blackjack players are imparting advice to novice players. And it is always recommended as the place to start with blackjack strategy.

But what the heck is basic strategy anyway?

Basic strategy is the simplest form of blackjack strategy available. Its most common appearance is a chart. Across the top is every single dealer up card, and down the left side are all the two card starting hands that a player could be dealt. Where the line of a dealer’s up card meets the line of a player’s hand is a play, either hit, stand, double down, split or in some cases surrender.

The play where the two lines meet is the best statistical play for the dealer up card/player hand combination. It is not a guaranteed win, but it is the best possible play for the player to make in that instance.

Over time playing perfect basic strategy can lower the house edge to 0.5%. And by perfect basic strategy I mean playing every single hand according to that chart, no deviations. This can sometimes be hard since players do not always want to put down the money to double down or split. But in the long run it pays to do so.

Basic Strategy is also perfectly legal to use in casinos and online casinos. Some brick and mortar casinos will even give players basic strategy charts—but they do so in hopes that the player will believe that they are supposed to win every time, become frustrated and stop using the card, resulting in erratic play which in turn results in more money for the casino.

The best that a player can do is to use the chart knowing they are not going to win every single hand, but that basic strategy will help their odds in the long run. The purpose of basic strategy is to increase money making opportunities, and the better the money is, the better the odds are. Stick with basic strategy.

What Makes Online Blackjack Better

I am willing to bet you thought that this would be about why online blackjack is better than blackjack in a brick and mortar casino. You would be wrong. Forget that explanation. We are going to look at why online blackjack is better than other online casino games, namely online slots.

Online slots have a very dominate presence in online casinos and in the online gambling industry as a whole. Think about it. More than half of the games offered are online slots games. And, for the most part, online blackjack players do not have an interest in them. Online casinos are more than happy to let online slots take the center stage because they are the big money makers. Imagine millions of people around the world happily spinning away their money on slots; and as slots games are designed to take money over time rather than pay it out, casinos are happy to let online slots sit in the lime light and offer more slots games than other casino games.

But here is where online blackjack is better.

Online blackjack offers players a better house edge. And a better house edge means a better likelihood of making a profit. And who does not want more money?

Compare if you will: online slots offer around a 14% house edge and online blackjack offers around 4% house edge before any strategy is applied to it.

Can blackjack strategy help you to low that 4% house edge even more? Yes, it can.

The easiest blackjack strategy available for free use (and which is legal to use in online casinos) is basic strategy. This delightful little gem of a blackjack strategy tells players the most opportune play to make based on their first two cards and the dealer’s up card. While this does not guarantee a win every time, it does increase the likelihood of a win. Over time basic strategy can decrease the house edge to 0.5%, giving it the best house edge available to players.

And having a 0.5% house edge means a much better chance of money in your pocket. Hence, online blackjack is better than other online casino games. Simply because players stand to have better odds in online blackjack.

Who Wins More Hands in Online Blackjack

There is some speculation on who wins what percentage of hands in online blackjack. Some think that there is a difference in online blackjack to the point that it impacts the percentage of who wins hands in the game.

While there are some differences in online blackjack and blackjack played in a brick and mortar casino—such as card counting, which cannot be used in online blackjack—there are some things that do not change. The house edge is one such thing that does not change.

While players can still use basic strategy in online blackjack, there are not enough differences to impact winning. The house is still going to win roughly 48% of the hands that are dealt while the player is still only going to win 44% of the time.

The reason for this is still found in the basic structure of blackjack. For one thing the player still plays first. For another the dealer does not put up any wager to play a round.

On the other hand the dealer is not allowed to double down or split pairs. Those plays do give players an advantage but they need to take advantage of them when the opportunities come along. To help guide players there is basic strategy.

Basic strategy tells players when the most opportune moments are to double down and split pairs. This allows players to make the most of these hands which contributes to increasing their odds on winning those 44% of hands. If you are only going to win 44% of the time you want to make the most money off of them and that is where knowing when to double down and split pairs since players can win more money off of those hands than on a standard hand.

Blackjack: A Game of Skill

For the most part casino games are regarded as games of chance. In the case of games like roulette and slots and keno this is true. Thos are games in which players have no ability or control to impact the outcome of a round of any of those games. But blackjack is different.

Like how it is being debated in several courtrooms that poker is a game of skill, the same could be the said about blackjack.

Blackjack is a game of skill.

And by game of skill I mean that players can use different plays and strategy to have an impact on the outcome of a round. To start with players are not simply dealt cards and that be the end of the matter. Players can choose to stand or hit or double down or split pairs. They can even choose to surrender in some cases. There are different routes players can take in blackjack to get to the end, and it takes knowledge of the game and its odds to make a wise decision on how to play out a round.

Then there is blackjack strategy. Players can take the time to learn how to use strategies based on statistics and odds to help improve their own odds. For example players can use basic strategy which is based on the statistics of player hands versus the dealer’s up card. There is also card counting, which is a mathematical means of tracking the flow of the cards to determine if the remaining unplayed cards are rich in high cards which favor the player.

Blackjack players can use basic strategy and/or card counting to raise their own odds and lower the house edge. Basic strategy alone can lower the house edge to 0.5%. Card counting can bring the odds even over time in blackjack and even tilt them in favor of the player.

It is because players can learn to use strategy and can choose how to play out their hands that make blackjack a game of skill. The more practice they have in using their strategies, the more their skills—and blackjack odds—increase.

Some More Differences Between Blackjack and Tournament Blackjack

A couple of weeks ago I began to discuss differences between playing blackjack normally in a casino and playing blackjack in a tournament. While the biggest difference is that you are playing against other players rather than the just the dealer—that the plays they make do impact yours in a tournament—it is not the only difference.

One of the more positive differences between blackjack and tournament blackjack has to do with the monetary risk. Depending on the cost of entry into a blackjack tournament, you might actually be less at risk in terms of money in a tournament than you would at the blackjack table.

In a single night at the blackjack tables there is no limit to the amount of money that you could lose should the cards not be with you or should your strategy not work well. The limit of loss is determined by how much you tell yourself you are willing to lose and if you can stand by that limit.

In a blackjack tournament the only real money that you have put on the line is your entry fee. Tournament blackjack is played with tournament chips. Each player is given the same amount in chips for the tournament. Players can then win more chips from the dealer or lose them to the dealer. Whoever has the most chips at the end is the winner.

Based on tournament playing, it is perfectly conceivable to pay only $100 to buy into a blackjack tournament, and then win several thousand dollars. Trying to accomplish the same amount of winnings in regular blackjack play with only $100 for a blackjack bankroll would be a lot harder and would take significantly more time.

Furthermore if you lose in a blackjack tournament, you are only out the amount of your buy in. But you could possibly, or, depending on your skill, even more likely, to lose more money in regular blackjack play than in a blackjack tournament.

Florida Blackjack Player Fights $1.2 Million Gambling Debt

I am sure that when Jerome Powers took out his line of credit he thought that he would be doing some winning at the blackjack tables at the Mohegan Sun. And I am sure that the Mohegan Sun thought that Powers would not be a problem.

But two years later the Mohegan Sun is still trying to collect on the millionaire’s credit line with them. Did I mention that Powers is a millionaire? No? Well, he is. To give you an idea, he sold his Ocean Drive magazine for $33 million. And that was only one business deal. So with that kind of money floating around, why is he fighting a $1.2 million gambling debt?

Sure, it probably is not peanuts to his bank account, but he also made five year deal with Donald Trump for $20 million. So while it is not the same as a middle class person forking over $10, there really is no reason why Powers should be fighting the Mohegan Sun and their tribal lawyers for paying the debt.

Unless the money is not there.

The whole problem stemmed from the day in May 2009 when the Mohegan Sun extended Powers the $1.2 million credit line. When he went to write what would be six checks to cover the $1.2 million, his bank returned the checks saying his account was closed. Powers at that point walked out of the Mohegan Sun.

Enter the lawyers.

Powers and his lawyer say that the credit line was illegal since it was issued on tribal land where the state has no jurisdiction. The judge ruled in favor of the Mohegan, saying it was used for legal gambling therefore it was considered legal by the state of Connecticut.

Now Powers and his attorney have filled for an appeal as of last week. The Mohegan are being mum on the entire ordeal, not commenting or saying anything—just keeping their heads down. But that approach is probably best considering they want their money which means the appeals court has to rule in their favor. Mum is best in this case.

But I still do not get why Powers would be so willing to gamble away $1.2 million on blackjack if he never considered losing it all. And there is the lesson: never play blackjack unless you can afford to lose the money.

Player Rewards for Blackjack

When playing blackjack online, it is often beneficial to take advantage of the online casino’s player rewards program. These programs are designed to reward players for playing their favorite casino game, in this case, online blackjack.

Over at Silver Dollar they offer the Lone Star Club in addition to their Six Shooter Welcome Bonus. Players start out at the Amber level and can play their way up through six levels to the Diamond level. Each level offers special bonuses for players at that level. Players progress to higher levels by earning points. Different types of points are earned for the different types of casino games. Below I have all six levels and how many points players receive at that level for each $100 wagered on online blackjack:

Amber is the beginning of a player’s climb through the Lone Star Club. For every $100 wagered on online blackjack 30 points are awarded. Players are eligible for a 10% bonus on all deposits and three weekly bonuses are given on the first deposits on those days: 75% up $100 on Mondays, 50% up to $100 on Wednesdays and 100% up to $100 on Fridays.

Bronze is the next level, reached when a player has earned 10,000 points; at this level players earn 33 points for every $100 wagered in online blackjack. The deposit bonus is increased to 15% and the weekly bonuses stay the same…for now.

Silver is reached once a player earns 50,000 points. From this level players earn 36 points for every $100 wagered in online blackjack. Again the deposit bonus is increased, this time to 20% and the maximum value on all three weekly bonuses is increased to $250.

Gold is the fourth level, reached at 100,000 points. Now every $100 wagered in blackjack is worth 39 points. Here players see the deposit bonus increased to 25% while the weekly bonuses stay the same as the Silver level ones.

Platinum is attained at 500,000 points. And the points awarded for every $100 wagered on online blackjack is increased to 42 points and the deposit bonus is upped to 30%. Also increased is the maximum a player can receive from the weekly deposit bonuses: $500.

Diamond is the highest level and is finally reached at 1,000,000. That is a lot of online blackjack! But players can still earn points to be used in giveaways or other special promotions. Points are earned at a rate of 45 points per $100 wagered in online blackjack. The deposit bonus maxes out at 35% on all deposits, but the weekly deposits do not change from the Platinum level.

And that is the structure of the Lone Star Club at Silver Dollar. With all of the bonuses, they make it worth your while to play online blackjack with them.

But understand while all new players are enrolled in the Lone Star Club, it is not mandatory. Players who only want to play some online blackjack and not worry about levels and points can contact the customer support team and opt out of the rewards program.

99 Cents for Online Blackjack

No, this is not too good to be true. There really is such a thing as dishing out 99 cents for some online blackjack.

Now this is not ordinary online blackjack. This is an online blackjack tournament, but there is nothing wrong with that. It gets you some fun tournament action without making any major investments. These are also good tournaments for players who are just moving into the online blackjack tournament arena.

These 99 cents online blackjack tournaments happen every Monday, Wednesday and Friday starting at 8 pm. Each online blackjack tournament will last for twenty four hours, ending at 8 pm the day following its starting day. So a tournament that begins on a Friday will end on a Saturday.

The entry fee is only 99 cents. That much should be obvious. And players start out with $50 in tournament credits. Players can purchase rebuys for $2.49 each if they fall below the $25 mark on their tournament balance. A rebuy will give players another $125 in tournament money to continue playing with.

The 99 cent blackjack tournament series at Online Vegas will payout the prize pool made up of the pot to the top 41 players. So if you find yourself in a tournament with less than 41 players, there is a good chance you will win something. How much depends on how well you play of course.

One more thing about the 99 cent online blackjack tournaments at Online Vegas: they alternate which type of blackjack game is used between Vegas Strip and Perfect Pairs. Tomorrow’s tournament will be played out in Vegas Strip. So this also means that Monday’s game will be played out in Perfect Pairs. Between you and me, I would stick with the tournaments played out in Vegas Strip—much better odds than Perfect Pairs.