Indian Casinos

A little something called Sovereignty is what makes it possible for Indian Tribes to set up shop almost anywhere they want. Webster defines this word as the inherent authority of indigenous tribes to govern themselves within the borders of the US. So it only makes sense that they would take advantage of this perk.

What does this mean for the rest of us? Well that these Indian Casinos can mostly likely have whatever payout percentage they want because they may be the only casino around for hundreds of miles. Although this is starting to change as more and more states are opening their own state-run casinos. States like Ohio and Maryland have already started this expansion, and many more states are coming around like Delaware and Massachusetts.

Another big boom in the industry is the presence of online casinos. Many states are also starting to get regulation privileges for gaming and betting online. The thing about online gambling is that the casinos have their rating and payout percentage on hundreds of review sites across the internet so you can scan through and find the one with the best rates. Whereas for land casinos it might be time consuming to travel around to all casinos in your area and pick the one with the best payout percentage.

The closest casino to my house is about 300 miles away, and it is an Indian Casino. Although I don’t know of my site constructing any non-Indian land casinos, I still prefer to play online. There are many benefits, and if you haven’t tried it I definitely suggest you do, they’ll give you free money just to try it out.

Blackjack Cards are Picked with Random Number Generation

Playing blackjack online carries the same amount of odds as playing blackjack in a real casino. If you disagree with this fact, there is something you should know about: Random Number Generation.

While researching the odds of blackjack online I came across something a https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Random_Number_Generation that gave me much need insight into the world of online gambling.

Random Number Generation or RNG is used for many things other than gambling games. It also comes in handy when developing statistical sampling, randomized design, cryptography, and computer simulation. There are also a couple different forms that RNG can take.

The first is the computational method, which is used in online casino games. This method uses complex formulas and algorithms. It is much more complicated than the physical method, which is seen in the form of a simple coin flip, dice roll, or wheel spin, to name a few.

The last and least common method is the human method. This is the least favorite because research has shown that no matter how random humans think they are, there is always a subconscious pattern that goes with your alleged randomization.

All Online Casinos use this method. Every single one is equipped with this software.  So when you hear someone say that computers “cheat” at gambling games you can chuckle to yourself, and then explain to them what RNG is.

Playing blackjack online is always a good tool to perfect your game, especially with the “funny” money that almost all reputable casinos give you. You can see for yourself that the cards drawn are random, try it out on a one or two deck blackjack table if you really want to test the theory.

Table Manners for Blackjack: Cards and Touching

Yes, blackjack has table manners. It is played at a table after all. Actually that is a more relaxed term for blackjack etiquette, and the things that make up blackjack etiquette are kind of like the unwritten rules for blackjack.

Fist off we are going to talk about the cards and touching.

In a face up game the cards are obviously dealt face up on the table by the dealer. He will then quickly calculate the totals. Player then make hand signals to show what play they would like to make: a two finger scratch on the felt for a hit; a palm-down wave over the cards to stand; doubling your amount of chips to signal a double down or a split depending on what cards you have. Hand signals are a part of blackjack etiquette and a tradition of the game. Oh, and they also can back you up if there is some discrepancy on what play you wanted to make since there is a camera above the table.

But above all in a face up blackjack game do NOT touch the cards.

Not touching cards in a face up game prevents players from cheating or marking the cards.

The only type of blackjack game in which you can touch the cards is a face down game. The dealer deals the cards face down and the player picks them up with one hand. Signals in a face down game are a bit different: to hit scrap the cards towards you on the felt to hit; to stand scoot your cards under your wagered chips; to double down or split, turn the cards face up and add the appropriate amount of chips to your wager.

Do NOT use more than one hand to handle your cards.

Handling the cards with one hand helps to cut down on switching or adding cards or marking them for cheating purposes.

You have the etiquette for how to handle your cards down now, and are all set to grab your clip-on tie and head to your favorite casino.

Single Deck Blackjack Games

Would you believe that there are still single deck blackjack games out there?

I am not talking about blackjack variations that use a single deck or about single deck games that offer a 6-5 payout. I am talking about good old fashioned single deck blackjack.

It is true, such games are not easy to find since they are not a common occurrence. But they are out there.

Casinos will use classic single deck blackjack games as a way to compete with their neighbors to try to steal blackjack players from a competitor and bring them into their casino. Sometimes they will offer single deck games as part of a special promotion.

It is a rule of thumb that the fewer decks being used in a game of blackjack that better the player’s odds are. So obviously a blackjack game that uses the maximum of eight decks offers no benefit for players. This is probably why eight decks are commonly used.

Next up are six deck games. They increase a player’s blackjack odds by only 0.02%. And five decks only increase blackjack odds by 0.03%. And four decks? The odds increase is only 0.06%.

It is not until we get down to two decks that there is a decent increase to a player’s blackjack odds as a result of the number decks. A two deck game will give player’s odds an increase of 0.19%.

But we are concerned with the single deck classic blackjack game. If you can find a single deck game of blackjack that offers standard house rules and a payout of 3-2 (no 6-5 payouts now) you had better sit down and play because the player’s blackjack odds increase by 0.48%.

So with that nice 0.48% boost to your blackjack odds, you can see how single deck classic blackjack games are worth playing in.

Online Blackjack Variation to Avoid: 5 Diamond Blackjack

Recently I came across an online blackjack variation that I had not looked into before. I wish I had so that I could have passed onto players that this is not a good blackjack variation to play. But really there is no variation of online blackjack that is good to play.

The variation I found is called 5 Diamond Blackjack.

A round begins with the player placing a wager of $1, $2, $5 or $10. It is always in increments like that or similar to that since this is an online game. The player then clicks Play. Five two card hands and one dealer hand appear on the screen. The player can then click on a hand one at a time or click Scratch All to reveal the total of each hand.

The objective of this game is to beat the dealer with one of those five hands without going over 21. Without doing anything more than ‘scratching’ each hand to reveal its total.

That is it. There is no hitting or standing or any other play for that matter.

Players will win if one hand beats the dealer’s total. Revealing a blackjack causes the prize to be doubled.

This is not a true blackjack game. This is actually a scratch card online game and is a game of chance since the player has no control over the outcome of the game.

A true game of blackjack or online blackjack allows a player to hit, stand or make other plays. It allows the player to have some degree of control over the outcome of the round.

But this scratch card game masquerading as an online blackjack variation does not allow players to make any playing decisions. Because of that fact this is one so-called online blackjack variation that should be avoided.

While I do not recommend any variations with side bets or the like, at least those other variations allow players to choose how to play out their hands.

Blackjack Worth it in Pennsylvania

Build it and they will come. Or rather, add them and they will come.

There were many people in Pennsylvania that were either skeptical or downright opposed adding blackjack tables to the casinos found in their state. The objections and disbelief ranged from ‘Could that really give the state revenue?’ to ‘Gambling will corrupt our society and communities.’

But the table games were approved this past spring and were installed in nine brick and mortar casinos around Pennsylvania:

Harrah’s Chester Casino and Racetrack, Hollywood Casino Penn National, The Meadows Racetrack and Casino, Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, Mount Airy Casino Resort, Parx Casino, Presque Isle Downs, Rivers Casino and Sands Casino Resort.

August was the first whole month in which all nine brick and mortar casinos had their blackjack and other table games open for business. While the table games were all installed in July, they were not all installed at the same time. So August is the first month in which revenue could be compared.

For the month of August those nine casinos brought in from the table games alone $34.6 million. Of that $34.6 million, $4.8 million will go to the state of Pennsylvania in taxes, while another $691,000 will to municipalities.

So that is $4.8 million that did not have to come out of citizens’ pockets in the form of raised taxes, so I would call the installation of blackjack, poker, roulette and craps tables a success.

Shawn McCloud, an analyst for Spectrum Gaming Group, agreed:

“It is an impressive start for Pennsylvania…Obviously, Pennsylvania is going to be a formidable competitor in the table games market.”

Here is the breakdown in revenue generated by the new blackjack and other table games:

Parx Casino: $6,338,617
Harrah’s Chester Casino and Racetrack: $5,918,137
Sands Casino Resort: $4,297,070
Rivers Casino: $4,162,280
Mohegan Sun: $3,533,765
Mount Airy Casino Resort: $3,360,361
Hollywood Casino Penn National: $2,658,762
The Meadows Racetrack and Casino: $2,395,124
Presque Isle Downs: $1,891,056

Gambling Addiction Signs

True to what I mentioned this morning, I will talk about gambling addiction.

While I honestly believe that the majority of gambling patrons can handle their money and their gambling responsibly, there are those who cannot, and it is important to be able to recognize if you or someone you know has a problem.

Financial Secrecy
When a person with a person has an addiction to gambling they will often become secretive about their finances. They will often insist on overseeing household finances by themselves, not because they feel that they can manage them better, but because it gives them direct access to money. They might also want to hide just how much money they have gambled.

Compulsive Gambling
Those with an addiction to gambling will often find it had to walk away when they have lost their allotted bankroll. Even though their gambling money is gone, they will often look for other sources of money. These could come in the form of credit cards, using money allotted for something else such as living expenses, or they could even steal it.

This need to find another source of money comes from the drive to win back the money they just lost. Winning back lost money is at the source of compulsive gambling. Addicted gamblers try to find more money to wager with to win back the money they already lost, and in the process lose that next batch of money.

Unnecessary Gambling
This happens when you do not have money to gamble but feel the urge to and do so anyway, finding money in the aforementioned sources. This is when gambling sits in an addicted player’s mind and is their constant companion. It builds into an urge that some addicts will fight while others do not, and it still leads to the casino or online casino.

If you notice these signs about you and your gambling habits, or if someone you know exhibits these signs, it is a good indicator that they have an addiction to gambling.

If you notice these signs about yourself, seek help. If you notice these signs in a friend or loved one, talk to them about their gambling, but be prepared to have your concern met harshly—addicts do not always like to admit that they have a problem.

However hard it is to admit that a person has a gambling addiction, it must be acknowledge so that help can be sought.

Blackjack Strategy: Card Counting Odds

Card counting has always had this glamorous image in the blackjack world. It is considered the crème de la crème of blackjack skills. It is also the blackjack skill that can allow the player to beat the house. But how much of an edge does this piece of blackjack strategy give a player?

You might be surprised.

A skilled card counter may only get a 1% edge over the house.

But when you think about it and compare it to other casino games, that 1% is not as little as it might sound. Blackjack already has the smallest house edge of all the casino games: 0.5% for the player who uses perfect basic strategy, and card counters certainly do use it.

Card counting is when a blackjack player uses a counting system to get an idea of what kinds of cards are left in the deck. If their counting system reveals that a good number of lower cards (2 through 6) have been played, it means that the remaining deck has more high cards (10 through Ace) left than low cards.

Because there are more high cards left, the chances of being dealt a strong hand or a natural blackjack are increased. This is when skilled card counters will begin to raise their bets.

But when their counting system reveals that a larger number of high cards have been played, leaving the remaining deck rich in low cards that favor the dealer, the player will then begin to decrease his bets.

It is having the idea of what the remaining deck is rich in that gives players that 1% edge on the house—if they can exploit it and not be caught by the casino staff. And the risk of being caught is why players must be skilled at card counting to include it.

Blackjack on North Carolina Gambling Boats

Remember when Pennsylvania and Florida and other states wanted to add casinos or add table games like blackjack to casinos already in existence? Well, it is now trickling down to a city level.

Similar to several states, now cities are eyeing gambling as a source to alleviate the strain on their budgets. North Charleston is one of the most recent.

Mayor Keith Summey’s desire to authorize casino cruises will take a step forward when his proposal goes to the city’s Planning Commission next week. And it appears that the City Council will support Summey’s proposal. Seems they see the need for more revenue and do not mind it coming from blackjack, slots and other casino games.

If the proposal is approved these casino cruise boats will offer patrons blackjack, slots and other casino games. And of course there will be dining available—you do not want to put people on a boat without food.

To help earn the proposal’s approval, Summey has stated in his proposal that these casino cruise boats will dock only in industrial areas and away from areas that are “in close proximity to educational or religious uses.”

For those not familiar with the North Charleston area, this puts the casino cruise boats near the area south of Riverfront Park on the Cooper River.

As for the desired revenue, Summey’s proposal offers two options.

The first is to have owners of the cruise boats pay the equivalent of 10% of the face amount of each ticket sold to patrons along with 5% of the proceeds of each trip.

The other option proposed is to just charge a $7 surcharge to the patrons.

Either way the revenue is coming from the money that patrons put into the boats through tickets and wagers made on blackjack, slots and other casino games.

But before blackjack sees itself sailing on the Cooper River a few amendments need to be made the city’s business licensing. Mainly there needs to be coverage for gambling boats in the licensing. There also has to be a repeal of the 1999 ordinance that bans gambling devices.

But with the favor already shown by the City Council it looks likely that Summey will see the reality of his gambling cruise proposal, and blackjack will be floating the waters around North Charleston.

Microgaming Online Blackjack Upgraded and Improved

Like any good online game, every now and then an upgrade is needed. Even a game such as online blackjack needs to be updated once in awhile to tweak this or mildly enhance that.

But considering that online blackjack is always the same game with the same rules, its upgrades are more of the tweaking variety. Unlike World of Warcraft, which is changing a great deal in its upcoming expansion. Or so I hear.

So one would not expect that online blackjack could be truly upgraded. But then along comes Microgaming, who likes to show that they are the best in online game development, and gives their blackjack games quite the upgrade.

Microgaming has available a type of online blackjack that features a dealer. It is similar to having a live dealer. Except that there is no pretty dealer on the other end of the Internet connection. Players just have to be content with the pretty computer generated dealer who is not real.

These online blackjack games from Microgaming had a slightly awkward interface. There was the table on which players could play multiple hands if they so desired. And then there was a box where the dealer was supposed to be which featured a picture of a dealer. But the look and the angle of the table to the dealer box to the dealer image itself was on the awkward side. The lines and angles did not line up.

But Microgaming has come along and fixed it. All a player need to do now when they want to see the dealer is change their casino view. Once they do that players will have the appearance of sitting at a blackjack table with a dealer.

No awkward angles. No dealer boxes. But there is still a pretty dealer, boys.

It just goes to show that Microgaming is constantly up to ways to create new games and to improve their existing ones—even ones as unchanging as online blackjack.