Getting a Blackjack and Payouts

Being dealt a natural blackjack is the best feeling in the game. The awesome feeling comes from receiving the best payout in the game without doing a thing. The only thing second to it is winning with an underdog hand because you go from disappointment at being dealt a crappy hand to elation at winning.

Anyway. Blackjacks.

How often can you expect to be dealt a natural blackjack?

The funny thing about this is that the answer is about once in every twenty one hands. Ironic, yes? But that is the average, once in twenty one hands. Granted there will be times that a player is dealt more blackjacks in twenty one hands, or it might be more than twenty one hands until a blackjack is dealt. The statistic is just the average.

But are you really getting the best payout for that blackjack?

Well, that depends. What blackjack game are you playing in? Is it a traditional game of blackjack or is it one of those new-fad single deck games? If you said it was a traditional game, then you fine, keep on playing. But if you answered that you have been playing with those hip and trendy single deck games let me tell you something—you are paying to play in those games.

The reason is all in the payout. These in-the-now single deck blackjack games come with a payout of 6-5 for a natural blackjack.

Let’s say that you are playing $10 a hand and are playing 100 hands per hour. In two hours of play, which is pretty average, you would have been dealt about ten blackjacks based on our aforementioned stat. And based on that stat, you would have only won $120 at that single deck table whereas you would have won $150 at traditional table. You just paid $30 to play in a single deck blackjack game. Was less money worth it?

Explaining House Edge in Blackjack

House edge is often misinterpreted when it comes to casino games, including blackjack. More often than not players assume that house edge in blackjack has all to do with their chances of winning or losing a round, when really it does not.

House edge in blackjack has nothing to do with your odds of winning or losing a round. Or even how you will fair in terms of winning or losing for a playing streak. It has to do with money. And when it comes down to gambling when is it ever about anything other than money.

The house edge of a game is about the amount of a wager you can expect the house to keep. The house edge in some casino games is fixed. However it is not fixed in blackjack. Players can use strategy in blackjack to lower the house edge.

Now stop and think about that for a moment. Let’s go with the average house edge for blackjack: 5%. That means that you can expect the house to keep 5% of your wager. But using strategy can impact the house edge. Going along with our example so far, you can use basic strategy and over time lower the house edge to 0.5%. That means the house will only be keeping half a percent of your wager as opposed to 5% of your wager.

House edge is about money. Strategy in blackjack such as basic strategy is designed to increase how much you win and decrease the amount you lose. Through minimizing losses and increasing how much you win the house edge is impacted and ideally lowered. But remember that house edge is about money, not odds of winning or losing a 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.

Gambler’s Ruin and Blackjack

Have you ever heard of the principle called Gambler’s Ruin?

It is pretty common in casino gambling, both in brick and mortar casinos and in online casinos. This is the principle that sums up the idea that a player will keep playing their chosen games, say blackjack, until he has lost all of his bankroll. He plays like this because he believes he will win his money back.

While it is possible to recover a few lost dollars from the house, losing a larch chunk of money is generally not recoverable. The cause behind large chunks of money not being recoverable is because the house has the edge.

Granted, a skilled card counter could tip the odds in his favor and win his money back. But blackjack players who are that skilled are not as common as we would all like to think.

The reason behind the house having the edge over the blackjack player in this instance is because of the house’s bankroll. I bet you did not think of the house as having a bankroll. But it does. After all, it has to pay you your winnings out of something. But the trouble with the house’s bankroll is that it is essentially infinite so long as the casino does not lose all its money. The dealer will keep handing out chips. Add to the fact that the house takes in more chips than it pays out.

Now compare this to the fact that a blackjack player’s bankroll is not seemingly infinite. With the house’s edge against the player, it is more likely for the blackjack player to lose his money than for the house to. But this is why we have blackjack strategy right? We use that to help boost our odds and narrow them down as best we can by controlling how we play blackjack.

Ease of Online Blackjack When You are Sick

I had something else planned to write about today and share with you, but there has been a change of plans. As I am sick today I feel more compelled to share my thanks at how easy online blackjack is to play. The ease of online blackjack makes it possible for me to do something other than stare at the TV when I am home sick.

I think this is in part to the fact that blackjack offers some very simple rules: take a card, do not take a card, double or split. Easy. Heck it is even easy to add up to 21 when sick too. And I can do all of that while wrapped up in a blanket and sitting on the couch with my laptop. All I need to do is click the write button, and the interfaces on the majority of online blackjack games is so simple that I can read it while in a cold medicine induced semi-coma.

But another plus to online blackjack is its strategy. Players—sick or not—can use basic strategy and impact their odds, brining the house edge down to around 0.5%. All you need to do is find your starting hand and the dealer’s up card on the basic strategy chart. Where the two lines intersect is the best statistical play for your starting hand when faced with that dealer’s up card. All you need to do as a player is make that play. You are not guaranteed to win, but because it is the best statistical play, it gives you the best odds for that hand possible. And you have the satisfaction of knowing you are making the best possible play and making a success of playing online blackjack when you are in the condition that the TV remote is baffling.

So as I sit here on my couch in my PJs and cow slippers, armed with my tissues and laptop and cold medicine, I am so thankful for how easy online blackjack is to play. It makes for a much better occupation than watching soap operas.

Kinds of Mobile Blackjack Out There

It seems our lives center more and more around our mobile devices—particularly cell phones. These smartphones are more than phones, which is probably why they are called smart, they are also PDAs as well as mini computers of a sort.

Think for a moment about those iPhones—you can do the GPS thing, find the nearest location of whatever store you are looking for, download music and books, check your email. In short, they can handle many of the basic Internet functions. And this means that blackjack can go mobile with you.

There are several ways to play blackjack on the go now and all can be done on a mobile device. Granted not every single mobile device can handle blackjack on the go with every single option. Mobile devices, such as iPhones, that can go online and function like a mini computer are capable of handling mobile blackjack in a few different ways:

You can have blackjack on the go in the classic way, and simply go online with your phone to access an online casino of your choice. This would be similar to playing blackjack online on a laptop. It would be like playing in an online casino like normal but just in a very small format.

Another option, and this works if you the owner of a phone that has apps, is to download a blackjack app.

Blackjack apps, for the most part run in two varieties: the play alone and the comparing sort. Both types of blackjack apps come in a variety of qualities, and therefore in a variety of prices, ranging from free to several bucks.

The one thing that both types of apps have in common is their format. Both types will resemble the format of an online blackjack game. Visually at least. This is good because such a format is easy to understand for those who are new to online blackjack or mobile blackjack. And also because it makes the transition from online blackjack to mobile blackjack all the easier for those moving over to mobile blackjack.

Over the next couple of days we will look more at the different types of blackjack apps out there that allow us to make our blackjack mobile.

Bad Blackjack Players—Do They Exist?

I have heard tell of a creature, a creature so frightful in its ineptitude at playing blackjack that seasoned and skilled blackjack players quake at its very existence.

Okay, skilled blackjack players do not actually quake in their boots when they come into contact with an unskilled or novice blackjack player. And by ‘unskilled’ and ‘novice’ I mean a player who either is very new to blackjack or who refuses to play the game with any kind of strategy—even basic strategy.

It is one of the most perpetuated myths of blackjack, that an unskilled or novice player can have an impact on the odds of a skilled player. I am here to tell you that your odds of winning blackjack without a novice on hand are around 48%.

Now let’s say that you are playing at a blackjack table and a little upstart group of college boys on their first gambling trip to Vegas sits down. You are probably annoyed because they are probably noisy too. But you are more annoyed because you think ‘There go my odds.’ In such a scenario, or any other that features an unskilled, non-strategy using blackjack player your odds of winning are around 48%.

Wait a minute! Did I just say your odds of winning with a novice at the table are 48%, which are the same odds as if you were playing sans unskilled player?

Why, yes, I did say that your odds of winning a round of blackjack are around 48% with or without an unskilled player being present.

The truth is that it does not matter whether you are playing at a table full of skilled players or at a table full of unskilled players—it does not impact your blackjack odds. Blackjack is a one-on-one game between you and the dealer. This is why you could beat the dealer and the guy next you might lose to the dealer in the same round.

Your blackjack tip is that it only matters what you have and what the dealer has. Do not bother even worrying about the other players at the table, be they skilled or unskilled. They cannot hurt your blackjack odds. Do not fear the ineptitude of an unskilled blackjack player.

What Makes Blackjack Simple

I know that poker is one the most popular casino games. It does not matter if we are talking about poker online or poker in a brick and mortar casino, it is still the most renowned of all casino games.

But that does not make it the simplest to play. In fact ‘simple’ was one of the reasons I chose blackjack as my casino game of choice. Blackjack has the simplest rules of play in any card game. Except maybe War, but really? War? Not much a game if you ask me.

Now poker, that is a hard card game. All of this remembering what amount of cards and which types of cards make up the various hands. Pairs—I can understand those. But blackjack has pairs and they are easier to play with.

In blackjack figuring out which hand is strongest is easy: which hand has the highest total that is not more than 21. Easy. My 19 beats your 16, that sort of thing.

And by ‘your’ I mean the dealer, as that is another simple aspect of blackjack: no having to worry about what any of the other players are doing. There is no trying to figure out if the guy sitting next to you has a stronger hand than you. It does not matter. Whatever hand total he is holding has no bearing on your hand.

Blackjack is only about what you are holding and what the dealer is holding—whose hand total is greater. It is like those simple grade school greater-than-or-equal-to math problems. You do not even have to add up your hand total if you do not want to—the dealer will do it for you.

It does not matter if we are talking about online blackjack or brick and mortar casino blackjack, between the game being determined by whose hand is greater and not having to worry about what the other players at the table are doing with their hands, blackjack clearly becomes the simplest card game in the casino. So much more simple than poker.

How to Learn How to Play Blackjack

I have extolled the virtues of blackjack—how it is one of the easiest casino games to play (the only thing easier is slots and I am not going there today) and how it offers the easiest yet most effective strategy. But what I have never touched about is how to learn how to play blackjack. Because you cannot very well play if you do not know how to learn.

First you need to learn what the basic rules are, like what the objective is—the true blackjack objective I might add—and what the basic plays are: hit, stand, double down and splitting a pair. Hitting is when you take another card to increase your hand total; standing is when you do not want any more cards; double down is when you double your wager and receive only one more card; and splitting a pair is, again, when you double your wager and split the two cards with the same value into new hands.

You also need to know how a round of blackjack is played. First players make their wagers. Then the dealer deals two cards to each player; those two cards are your starting hand and they, along with the dealer’s up card, will determine how you play out the round.

After all of the players have their cards the dealer then deals himself one card face up—the up card—and one card face down—the hole card. Starting with the player on far right, if you are playing in a brick and mortar casino, each player will take their turn to play out their hands attempting to beat the dealer without going over 21.

Once the last player has made played out his hand, it is the dealer’s turn to play out his hand. House rules will dictate how he plays. For example, he has to stand on a hand of 17. So even if, as an individual, he wanted to hit, he could not. He also cannot double down or split a pair—those are advantages left to players. He also has to hit the hard hands that players usually stand on.

When the dealer reaches a total that he has to stand on or busts payouts are made to players who have won and wagers collected from players who lost. Unlike in poker, it is possible for more than one player to win a round. While seven players might be sitting at the table, blackjack really is a player-versus-the-dealer kind of game. What the other players do and whether they win or not has no impact on your own hand, especially know that third base has no impact on you despite what you might read or hear.

Reading up on the game and its rules and flow are how you learn to play blackjack. It is important to know the basics before sitting down at a blackjack table. Knowing how to play blackjack, its rules and flow of a round, helps you to play better and keep from losing more money than you would if you came to the blackjack table unprepared.

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.