Probability of the 10 Hole Card for the Dealer

A lot of blackjack players will fall back on what was once a pretty standard way of playing your hand: play as if the dealer’s hole card is worth 10. This was seen as a way to play with the worst case scenario. No one ever questioned this so-called blackjack strategy, not even when it was noticed that the professional players did not play this way. People shrugged it off and assumed they had some highly intense blackjack strategy.

But this was until checking out the math and probability of cards and hands and rules became more common place. Or until players wanted to became more prudent and wiser in how they played out their hands. It was then that the probability of that hole card being worth 10 became known.

There is only a 31% chance that the dealer’s hole card will be worth 10, as compared to the 69% chance it could be worth any other value.

This prompted a wake-up call among blackjack players. They began to question why they were playing their hands out based on an idea that only had a 31% chance of happening. It seemed kind of silly. And it is. Now they knew why the professional blackjack players never played on the assumption that the hole card was a 10.

This is when basic strategy really took off, and I mean really. It offered players a better strategy, one that was sounder and offered a better house edge: 0.5%. And since then the only players who play blackjack on the assumption that the dealer’s hole card is worth 10 are those who are still new to the game; but they are pretty quick to learn this is not a sound blackjack strategy. They join the rest of us playing on the 69% probability that the hole card is worth something else. In other words they join the rest of us playing according to basic strategy.

What Can Basic Strategy do for you in Online Blackjack?

Online blackjack already offers players one of the best house edges in the online casino industry. Prior to any blackjack strategy, online blackjack has a house edge of 2 to5% depending on the individual house rules. In our current climate most house edges for blackjack online sit at around 4 to 5%.

When playing blackjack in a land casino there are more strategy options available because you are playing face to face with real cards and a real dealer, not virtual cards dealt by the Random Number Generator. One of the biggest differences between land casino blackjack strategy and online blackjack strategy is card counting. In online blackjack there is no card counting because there are no discards in online blackjack; think of it as being like playing with a Continuous Shuffle Machine in a land casino.

The loss of card counting is blow to online blackjack strategy since card counting can potentially give the player the edge. But without discards there can be no card counting. So. Moving on, what do we have?

The strongest online blackjack strategy tool that players have is basic strategy. Sometimes online players become tired of hearing about basic strategy. But the reason you hear about it so much and from so many sources is because it is the strongest strategy tool. Playing every hand according to basic strategy can drop the house edge down to 0.5% over time. And that gives online blackjack the lowest house edge out of all the online casinos games. This means that it has the most stable potential to turn a profit for players and to win them real money at online blackjack.

So when you are going to set about playing online blackjack, pull up a basic strategy chart and play exactly how it tells you to. You will not win every hand but your edge will go up and that means you can make more money over time from online blackjack.

Double Attack Blackjack

There seems to be a new blackjack variation surfacing in casinos. As of yet I have not heard that this new variation has made it over into the world of online blackjack, but there is always the chance it will happen, after all other variations have crossed over. The new variation that has popped its head up is called Double Attack Blackjack.

The basic principle behind this variation of blackjack is that players make their wagers, the dealer’s up card is then dealt at which point players can make an additional wager up to being equal to their round wager; then the player’s starting hand is dealt. Yes, you read all of that right; the dealer’s up card is dealt first which allows players to then increase their wager if the dealer’s up card is in favor to bust.

There are some other really nice player favorable rules in this blackjack variation. For starters players can double down on any number of cards, including splits. Late surrender is also offered, which is a very nice blackjack play. And the dealer has to stand on all 17’s, hard or soft.

But like any blackjack variation that offers some really nice player favorable plays and rules, there are also the downsides. Natural blackjacks only pay even money. But one of the biggest kickers is that this game is played with 48 card Spanish decks which means the 10 cards have been removed leaving only the face cards to count for 10.

Overall this blackjack variation has a house edge of 0.62 when using a modified version of basic strategy. Those modifications include hitting a hard 12 and hard 13 against all dealer up cards. As for hard 14, instead of standing against a dealer 2 or 3, you will hit just like you do against a 7 or up. No doubling down against soft hands with less than a total of 16.

If you are in a casino that is offering Double Attack Blackjack give it a try, but start out wagering small until you become accustomed to the run of Double Attack. And if you really want to make the most of the modified basic strategy and the rules of this game, do not take the second increased amount bet and stick with playing Double Attack on one wager.

Shuffle Tracking in Blackjack

Just about every single blackjack player out there has heard of card counting. Even casino patrons who only play a few rounds of blackjack for a break from their preferred casino game have heard of card counting. But what many blackjack players have not heard of is shuffle tracking.

Shuffle tracking is another ‘counting’ skill that the elite of card counter work into their counting strategies. This particular skill involves tracking the clump of cards that come after the shuffle card to see where or in what zone the newly shuffled deck the clump of cards is in.

Let me break it down a bit more. Prior to dealing at the blackjack table, the dealer will have a player cut the deck. Where that cut is made a shuffle card is inserted. When the shuffle card appears, the dealer reshuffles the deck and the process begins again.

What this has to do with card counters is that sometimes the count goes positive and the counter is ready to increase his wagers. And then the shuffle card appears and that means that all those high cards are behind the shuffle card. This is where the shuffle tracking comes in. Shuffle trackers will watch the shuffling very, very carefully to see where that clump of rich cards goes. Then the shuffle tracker will cut the deck so that the clump of high cards from before the shuffle are on top. This allows them to wager high right off the bat; they still get their money from counting cards, and the high wagers from the get-go confuse the casino personnel since card counters never wager high at the beginning of a new shoe.

But shuffle tracking is not a simple skill to learn. Shuffle trackers must learn the shuffle patterns of the particular casino they want to try their skill at. They then have to replicate the shuffle at home to learn how to keep pace with the shuffle in order to track the clump they want to cut to the top. It takes a lot of practice and skill. Without careful practice and careful tracking a player could lose the clump of high cards unknowingly; not being careful and not practicing and preparing ahead of time can result in the loss of a lot of a player’s bankroll.

This is one blackjack skill that requires a lot of practice, more than card counting. And while casinos have naturally taken precautions—complicated shuffle patterns and continuous shuffle machines—players will still try their hand at shuffle tracking. Just make sure that if you want to work shuffle tracking into your blackjack strategy to practice a lot. And I do mean a lot.

Blackjack Players, When in Rome…

When in Rome do as the Romans do right? Well if in Rome they are enjoying blackjack aimed bonuses, that means to enjoy them too right? Right!

Well over at the online casino Rome Casino there are several bonuses that are good for those playing table games and that means that all of you online blackjack players can take advantage of them too.

First up part of the Weekend Warrior bonus specials include an unlimited 15% cash back for table game players. This means that you can get 15% of your losses back in a cash back from playing online blackjack. Not a bad offer for kicking back on the weekends and playing.

Playing during the week? Not to worry, online blackjack players, there are weekday bonuses for you to take advantage of during the week too. They are coming to you from the Weekday Labor bonuses. Online blackjack players can either take advantage of various deposit bonuses with different percentages (check in with Rome Casino each week to see what is offered), or online blackjack players can take advantage of the same unlimited 15% cash back that is available to you on the weekends.

Looking for something that is only available to a smaller crowd? Copia’s Cash Back Bonus is only available to online blackjack, roulette and video poker players. And that is a pretty small crowd considering that it is not available for online slots or online poker players. This special bonus is for a 25% cash back. Nice chunk of money there.

There are also special weekly bonuses in addition to the Weekday Labor bonuses for players to check back for. Rome Casino certainly likes to take care of their ‘Romans’ who are playing online blackjack with all those cash back opportunities.

Splitting 10’s vs. Standing on them

A lot of blackjack players wonder about splitting a pair of 10’s, is it really worth it? To give credence to their question, a pair of 9’s is split in most cases. So why split a pair of 9’s and not a pair of 10’s? After all, a pair of 9’s unsplit is a hard 18, and that is more than 17, which is the hand that everyone begins to stand on.

But here is the thing with a hard 18 when compared to a hard 20: there are three hands that the dealer could either hold or hit to that would flat out beat a hard 18 while there is only one hand that the dealer can hold or hit to which would beat a hard 20. Looking at it that way, there is no way to doubt that a hard 20 is stronger than a hard 18.

That is only looking at the strength of a hard 20. To further back up the idea that it is better stand on a pair of 10’s rather than splitting them, let’s take a look at what you can win or loss when splitting or standing on a pair of 10’s.

The two best upcards to come up against with a pair of 10’s is a 7 or an 8. This is the best case scenario. Standing on that pair of 10’s will on average make you $0.77 or $0.79 per $1 wagered. Splitting that pair of 10’s against that 7 will only make you $0.25 per $1; and the 8 will cost you $0.01 per $1.

Worst case scenario your pair of 10’s comes up against a dealer’s 10 or Ace. The player will lose $0.44 or $0.34 per $1 respectively if they split the pair of 10’s. However, standing on that pair of 10’s against that dealer 10 or Ace can make the player $0.56 or $0.65 per $1 respectively.

This is why your blackjack strategy should include standing on a pair of 10’s all the time. So not only is there logic to back up standing on a pair of 10’s, there is also the amount of money you can win when standing on a pair of 10’s as opposed to either less money made or money lost when splitting. So trust me when I say you are far better off standing on a pair of 10’s.

PokerTek Finishes First Round of BlackjackPro Rollout

I may have to take back my words when it comes to PokerTek’s BlackjackPro automatic blackjack table. Back in November of last year I made it known that I was on the skeptical side of BlackjackPro. And really, can you blame me when one of their features allows the casino to set the game up with their own rules? Such a feature allows casino operators the ability to set up another blackjack table or blackjack variation with rules that are not player friendly.

However, response to the BlackjackPro system has been positive. Hopefully this means that players are not only taken with automated blackjack tables but also with blackjack games whose rules are not stacked more than normal against them.

A quick reminder: BlackjackPro automatic blackjack tables feature a center screen with six seats around it. It is on this screen that players see the game happen rather than on seven individual screens. This helps to improve group play and camaraderie at the table, which I can now commend as it has been a success.

As for the rollout, the entire batch of original BlackjackPro tables have found homes, with the last of the automated tables installed at the end of last month. This means that ninety six BlackjackPro tables have found homes in land casinos and on cruise ships. And the demand for them continues:

“Demand has exceeded our inventory during this initial rollout phase with our available supply now fully absorbed. In response to the favorable product performance and customer demand, production is underway to provide additional inventory for second half installations,” said Mark Roberson, PokerTek’s CEO.

This means that PokerTek will continue to build BlackjackPro tables with the ProCore system. The BlackjackPro tables have been the saving grace of PokerTek, so let’s hear it for blackjack! Considering the success of the BlackjackPro automated blackjack tables, it seems that players like them. Just please be wary of the rules the casinos set them up with as well as side bets that are set up in how the casinos program them.