Online Blackjack News: Player Jailed in Ireland

How far will you go to play online blackjack? Seems some blackjack players will go to great lengths, but a lot of people cease calling them players and call them addicts.

Such is the case with Eamonn McGirr that I saw in my online blackjack news this morning. McGirr has been ordered to serve twenty months in prison and another twelve months on probation for his online blackjack and online gambling addiction.

Why prison? Are they that harsh about gambling in Ireland?

No, they are not as long as you are playing and gambling responsibly. That means not embezzling your employer for the U.S. equivalent of $500,000 over two years.

But the embezzled $500,000 is not all that McGirr has stacked up, although the embezzled money is his only illegal action. Everything else is just pure debt—and I do mean debt: overdrafts on his two bank accounts, a loan for the U.S, equivalent of $6,400 from a credit union, and finally maxing out five credit cards. All on gambling.

I have two responses to this: one about something the judge said and another on online gambling in general.

The judge of the McGirr case was concerned about how a person could gamble away such enormous amounts of money without being checked, and that online gambling companies should take a “look at how they did business.”

First off, it is not the online casinos’ fault that the man got himself jailed. They are a business. They are there to make money. If this judge is saying that online casinos should be called to task because players gamble away too much, then what about all of the designer fashions and expensive electronics and cars that people will put themselves into debt for?

If the judge’s concern is people being wooed into spending more than they reasonably should because of how a company advertises and does business, then all the companies that lure people into racking up debt on credit cards should be put out of business. Shame on them for offering products that cost more than what we are paid. Let’s go back to farming and trading chickens and wearing loincloths—perhaps that is living within our means.

Then there is my response to online gambling. Obviously not every single player puts themselves into debt to play online blackjack and other online casino games.

But there are players who do become addicted to online gambling, and it can be a very serious problem. As McGirr showed us it is possible to hide the problem until someone else catches on that a friend or loved one is addicted. Sometimes the player him or herself knows they are addicted.

This afternoon I will talk about addiction to online gambling.

Microgaming Creates New Online Blackjack Tournaments

Microgaming is known as one of the industry leaders when it comes to online gaming software. They are constantly creating new games and revamping their older games to improve them.

To be honest there is not a lot that can be done to online blackjack games. The game itself does not change. It is not like a slots game that allows for the same type of game to be repackaged in a new colorful package. Online blackjack is online blackjack.

But that does not stop Microgaming from working with this game to give it something new to entire old and new players alike. This time Microgaming has revamped their online blackjack tournaments. There are now four types of online blackjack tournaments for players to play in at Microgaming powered online casinos:

One-Shot:
The name says it all on this one. Players must play their best as they have only one chance to get the highest score. There are no add-ons or rebuys for this tournament either. It is literally a one shot chance to get the highest score and win.

Extender:
This type of online blackjack tournament will allow players add-ons and rebuys as the point is to play again and again to build their scores. As always, the highest score wins. These tournaments will have long time periods to play out to encourage players to play more and more.

Reloader:
This one is a sort of combination of one-shot and extender. Players have one shot to get as high a score as they can, and there are no add-ons or rebuys. But if a player is not satisfied with their score they can play again starting their score over at 0 to try for a higher score.

Survivor:
This is an elimination type of tournament. At the end of each round a number of the players are eliminated from the tournament. This happens at the end of each round until the last round in which the player with the highest score ends.

When Microgaming makes changes to their games, be it new games or revamping an older game, they usually hit their mark and delight players at Microgaming powered online casinos. The new online blackjack tournaments are sure to be a hit.

Good and Bad Blackjack Tips: Card Counting Online

When looking at online casinos many of them have little sections on their sites with information about their casino games and casino games in general. Not always, but fairly often casinos will actually give players tips on how to play, say, blackjack and tips for blackjack strategy.

Now what is funny to me is that there are some players out there who blindly follow those tips on how to play blackjack and for blackjack strategy. Stop and think about that. You want to follow the tips on how to play better—as in win money—from the online casino—which wants to take your money? Yeah, that is what I thought too.

So I went out to see what some of these tips are. Some of it was as I expected and other times I was surprised. There are actually online casinos out there that will offer genuinely good blackjack playing tips.

Here is some of what I found and some blackjack tips about what I what I found.

I did find online casinos that encouraged players to use card counting. This is very dubious to me. Card counting is very much frowned upon in brick and mortar casinos. So first off why would an online casino encourage players to use it in online blackjack?

The answer is simple. Because card counting is ineffective in online blackjack. Because of the game’s RNG no card is ever discarded and all are still in the deck, so to speak since we are talking about a virtual game. On top of that, again because of the RNG, it is like all of the cards are shuffled before each round because the RNG randomly pulls a combination for the beginning of each round.

So online casinos will encourage card counting for online blackjack because it will not actually work and it actually can hurt a player’s online blackjack odds by trying to use it. Players could increase their wagers, thinking that they are getting the jump on the house and a run of high cards, when there are not any discards to back up that run.

Really all this so called blackjack tip is doing is encouraging players to use a blackjack strategy that does not work online in order to create erratic betting, which causes a gain in money for the online casino. So understand card counting does not work online, even if the online casino’s tips say it does.

Oh, and think twice about an online casino that is encouraging you to use card counting when playing online blackjack.

Silver Dollar Blackjack Tournament

There is nothing that boosts the excitement of online blackjack more than playing in a blackjack tournament. Well, winning with a natural off of a good sized wager is great high too. But it is not the same as the unknown thrill of tournament play—will you win or lose?

Thankfully there are some fun online blackjack tournaments to play in. And while I do enjoy the little $0.99 tournaments that Go Casino hosts, it is not the same as a full-fledged big money blackjack tournament. The $0.99 tournaments are good as practice for the experienced player, and good for the novice tournament player to begin getting their feet wet with.

But sometimes experienced online blackjack players want more.

And Silver Dollar is certainly offering more.

Every Friday Silver Dollar hosts their Weekend Blackjack Classic. As you can well guess, this online blackjack tournament spans the course of a whole weekend, starting on a Friday and ending on a Sunday.

Now when I was talking about a full-fledged big money online blackjack tournament I was referring to tournaments that do not offer the winning player a portion of the pot, but a cash prize instead. And that is exactly what Silver Dollar is offering their players.

The Weekend Blackjack Classic has a prize pool of $5,000. Yes, the winning player will get the biggest chunk of that $5,000 cash prize. And that is a lot more than what a player could win from a low-key Play for the Pot type of online blackjack tournament.

Silver Dollar is using the US Blackjack created by Vegas Technology variation of the game for these tournaments. This means that there are no side bets—other than insurance—and that the dealer does not check for blackjack at the beginning of the round.

For players who are interested the entry fee for the Weekend Blackjack Classic tournament at Silver Dollar is only $10. Think about it–$10 for a chance to win a piece of that $5,000 prize pool.

Blackjack and Online Gambling Could be Effected by Florida Elections

Yesterday Florida hosted their primary elections for the upcoming November general election. Up for grabs in the general election will be a seat in the Senate and the governor’s chair. And the winners of both could have a big impact on the future of blackjack in the state of Florida and on online gambling for the nation.

Naturally the Republican and Democrat split can be also put like this: anti-gambling and pro-gambling.

The Republican candidate for governor is Rick Scott, who is not in favor of expanding the casino offerings in Florida. This could mean that when the five year blackjack exclusivity in the Seminole compact expires, Scott might not allow for further negotiations, possibly pulling blackjack out from under the Seminoles. He could also pull back the extended hours and higher limit on poker that pari-mutuels now have.

On the other side is Alex Sink, the Democrat candidate. Overall, the Democrats have a more liberal view of gambling within Florida, seeing it as a source of income and an addition to the tourist industry, which has been down—it seems that Disney is monetarily out of reach for some families and that Harry Potter is not drawing as much tourism as expected.

And there is a third governor candidate—Charlie Crist is running in the Independent party. And after his battle with state lawmakers over the Seminole compact we all know what his stance on blackjack and casinos in that state is. Maybe next time he will be able to definitely send the money to Education.

Let’s not forget the Senate race. This comes down to Marco Rubio, Republican, and Kendrick Meek, Democrat. And this race could have an impact on the future of legalizing online gambling and regulating it.

Rubio is strongly against online gambling. However, Meek, being a Democrat could vote in favor of Rep. Barney Frank’s bill to repeal UIGEA and set up a structure of regulating online gambling in the U.S. If Frank has to table his bill until next year, the Florida Senate seat will have an impact on what is looking like a close race to approve Frank’s bill.

Those in favor of online gambling and Floridian blackjack players will be keeping an eye on the upcoming November Florida general election.

Blackjack and Casinos Meet Online in Facebook

Ever heard of Casinoville? Sounds a lot like that Farmville that is so popular on Facebook. If you like your blackjack and ever wondered what it would be like to own your own casino then this Facebook game is right up your alley.

Okay, I was half joking. There is no Facebook online game called Casinoville…although with all of the Ville online games on Facebook I am surprise there is not a Casinoville yet.

However if you want to get your blackjack and casino owning fun on there is a Facebook online game for you.

Last Legion has created and released a Facebook game called Golden Nugget Vegas Casino. In this Facebook game players can build their very own casino to manage. Online. Yes, I know, you would be online building a brick and mortar casino to play in online. This is kind of like one of those mirror in a mirror things.

But not only do players of Golden Nugget get to build and manage their own casinos—like those Ville Facebook games—they can play in them too. You can play blackjack, video poker and roulette. To win chips to do more things to your casino.

It seems the chips are the key to the game. Players can play in their own casino for chips, or they can visit their friends’ casinos and play there for chips.

Part of managing your own casino in this game is to draw in non-player patrons and win their money off of them. Talk about the shoe being on the other foot. But if you get bored of playing the house you can always roam the floor of your own casino and play blackjack all you want.

And unlike all of those Ville games, Golden Nugget is played entirely with fake money—those chips I spoke of. The chips are in game money that do not cost a single penny of your real money. So Last Legion and Golden Nugget are not angling for your cash…for now.

CEO of Last Legion, Seth Gearson, says, “It’s pretty satisfying to actually generate in-game money in a way other than the classic social game format.” Translation: You do not have to harvest crops to earn money—you merely win it off of your friends…which is in the true spirit of gambling.

I suppose you could think of it as a garage game of blackjack in which you take your friends chips. Only this is all on Facebook where you can make a cute little casino avatar of yourself.

Oh, and since this is your own casino you can have all of the blackjack tables you want.

Barney Frank, a Step Closer to Legalizing Online Gambling

Barney Frank’s bill, HR2267, which would legalize and regulate online gambling in the United States, is taking a step forward. And hopefully this means that we are one step closer to being able to play online blackjack in the States.

Tomorrow, July 27th, HR2267 moves into markup. When a bill is in markup it is discussed, amended and rewritten if necessary. In the case of HR2267 it is intended to find ways to appease those who are opposed to it. But the point of the bill is still to regulate online gambling.

If Frank can get HR2267 to pass in the House and Senate, and get it signed into law, every state would be able to choose if they would like to regulate online gambling in their state. Having regulated online gambling not only would legalize it for US citizens, and bring in much need revenue on both the state and federal levels.

How much money?

Well the Joint Committee on Taxation has figured that by legalizing online gambling and regulating it that could make about $42 billion for the government over the course of ten years. As for the states, they would be looking at about $30 billion going into their coffers.

And I do not know of a state that does not need the revenue.

But first HR2267 must overcome its opposition. It seems that the most opposition comes from religious conservatives who feel that online gambling would corrupt Americans. In response Republican Congressman John Campbell had this to say:

“I don’t gamble. I don’t partake in it, but freedom is not about legislating what I like to do. Freedom is about allowing Americans to do what they want to do.”

And in that statement, Campbell hits it on the head. Professional poker player Annie Duke was right behind Campbell, saying, “HR2267 provides this freedom in a safe and regulated environment and I urge everyone on this Committee to support this common sense policy. However, you feel about gambling on the internet, I would suggest that gambling with freedom is far more risky.”

Hopefully HR2267 on legalizing online gambling and regulating it can be moved through markup by Frank and on to the House. Americans want to play their blackjack, poker, slots and more online, and with this country being founded on freedom, why should Americans be told how to spend their entertainment money.

Online Blackjack Tournaments

Recently I wrote a short series about blackjack tournament strategy. This can be owed to my rediscovering the fun of playing in an online blackjack tournament.

Blackjack is a player versus dealer kind of game. You might have other players at the table but their hand does not affect yours. You could win and they could lose and that is just the way blackjack goes.

But on occasion blackjack players want a little more from their favorite online casino game. And this comes in the form of a blackjack tournament. In a blackjack tournament suddenly those other layers matter. It matters what they are wagering and how they are playing.

In a typical brick and mortar blackjack tournament there will be several rounds of play. The rounds will either be timed or have a certain number of hands to play per round. The player with the highest chip count will advance to the next round. This keeps going until there is only one table, and the player with the highest chip count wins.

Online blackjack tournaments will typically work a little bit differently. Players sign up and then sign on at the start of the tournament. Since online tournaments have a set time limit, players will usually play until the time limit runs out. Whoever has the highest tournament balance is the winner.

Playing in an online blackjack tournament does not offer the same pressure as a blackjack tournament in a brick and mortar casino because you are not actually face to face with the other players. This makes online blackjack tournaments a good way for novice blackjack players to get into tournaments and become comfortable with competing with other players.

If you are looking for an inexpensive blackjack tournament at an online casino to try I recommend the tournaments offered at Go Casino. They fun for twenty-four hour periods every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The entry fee is only $0.99 and it gives you 50 tournament credits; rebuys are allowed for $2.49 for another 50 tournament credits.

UIGEA Implemented Today

Well, it is the beginning of June. And that means that the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) is now in effect.

But really do not expect things to change for those who play in online casinos and gamble online. The actual implementation and action of UIGEA does not rest on the shoulders of those of us who play blackjack online, or slots online, or poker or any other online casino game. That is correct. The UIGEA does not actually focus enforcement on the players.

Rather the enforcement and implementation rests in the hands of financial institutions, such as banks and credit card companies. Under UIGEA banks and credit card companies are the ones responsible for stopping all transactions to and from online casinos.

And that is why those who play online casino games will probably not be as affected by the UIGEA as they might think. See, online casinos are on the clever side. They use coding so that banks and credit card companies will not recognize that the funds to or from an online casino will not be recognized.

The UIGEA says, in short, that banks, credit card companies and other financial institutions cannot knowingly process transactions to or from online casinos. But if, thanks to the coding used by online casinos, banks and credit card companies do not recognize that the transactions are going to and from online casinos then they will not be able to stop them. And because they are not knowingly processing the transactions, it makes them ‘not guilty.’

Take MasterCard for instance. A few months ago MasterCard quit processing transactions in which players were trying use their cards to make deposits to an online casino. However, players are still able to make deposits to their playing accounts. This is because MasterCard does not know that these transactions are to an online casino because of the coding online casinos are using.

So I am not saying that the UIGEA does not change anything, we will certainly see its impact, the UIGEA will probably not have the effect that lawmakers had intended.

So we can all hope that Rep. Barney Frank will succeed in passing his bill on regulating online gambling. If his bill passes then the UIGEA will be over turned. But we will have to wait as he is waiting. And analysts believe that Frank will now hold off on trying to overturn the UIGEA in hopes that voters will become upset with the UIGEA and vote in against the Republicans in November. Until then it seems that we will have to watch ourselves with our online gambling.

Low Entry Online Blackjack Tournament

Many online blackjack players enjoy taking a break from regular game playing and take some time to play in an online blackjack tournament or two. Some of these players are serious high rolling players and they will seek out online blackjack tournaments with higher limits.

But not everyone wants to play in such a tournament; they would rather play in an online blackjack tournament with less pressure—especially if they are just breaking into online tournament play.

For online blackjack players who are new to tournaments or who are just new to playing their favorite casino game online, low entry tournaments are a nice alternative.

And thankfully there are a couple of online casinos that offer low entry tournaments. How low is low? Try a $0.99 entry fee. Now, that is low. In fact, it does not get lower than that unless you are playing in some low entry online slots tournaments. But you are a blackjack player, and $0.99 is as low as blackjack tournaments online get.

These online blackjack tournaments happen every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8pm on the starting day to 8pm on the next day. In other words, these are 24 hour tournaments. Players are given 50 tournament credits to play with; rebuys are $2.49. Players are playing for a percentage of the Pot. As for the variation of online blackjack being used, it is Vegas Strip.

This type of online blackjack tournament is great for those that are novices at online tournaments and for those who like the thrill of a tournament but do not want to drop a large entry fee or “invest” a large entry fee.

Now the names of the two online casinos that were nice enough to offer novice tournament players and for-fun tournament players to play for such a low cost: Online Vegas and Go Casino.

Online Vegas is a Vegas technology powered online casino and licensed out of Cyprus; it has a payout percentage of 97.8%.

Go Casino is newer online casino licensed out of Curacao with a payout percentage of 97.1%, it also is powered by Vegas Technology.

To get in on this $0.99 online blackjack tournament action every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, click over to Online Vegas or Go Casino.