Special Blackjack Payouts and Their Impact on a Player’s Edge

I am in a positive mood today. Last time I wrote I discussed the differences in the two types of surrenders that can be found in a game of blackjack. Both can do good things to a player’s edge in blackjack. Remember edge pertains to potential gain or loss of money for the player. As a player you want to keep your eyes open for the little extra house rules that will do positive things for your edge in blackjack. But first you need to know what some of the extra house rules are. So today I am going to share with you some of the special wins.

The best house rule that favors players for natural blackjack wins is when natural blackjacks pay out 2-1 instead of 3-2. Rather than making a $1.50 per $1 wager, players receive $2 to every $1 wagered. A $0.50 difference may not sound like a lot, but a $10 wager wins $20 with this house rule. As for the boost to your player’s edge, it is a nice 2.27% boost, which is one of the highest boosts a player can find.

Now if your natural blackjack is made up of two cards from the same suite some games of blackjack will payout 2-1. Logically you will not find this rule being applied in the same game as the one that offers a 2-1 payout for any natural blackjack. But if you cannot find the 2-1 payout on any natural, then 2-1 on a suited natural is still nice. This rule gives players a 0.57% boost to their edge.

What about push rules? It is not often that we find rules that make pushes in blackjack anything other than what they are. And when your natural blackjack comes up against a dealer blackjack it is such a letdown. Here you are thinking you are about to win a nice payout and then the dealer reveals he has a natural too. However there is one rule that can be found in some blackjack games that will remove that feeling of letdown: a tied blackjack still receives its 3-2 payout. Now there is a boost here of 0.32% in the player’s favor. This is because normally the player would only get to keep their wager rather than lose it but they also lose the 3-2 that they should have gotten, but the rule not only lets them keep their wager—it also still pays them 3-2.

These rules in blackjack cannot always be found. These are rules for blackjack payouts that players are meant to learn, tuck back into their minds and keep on the lookout for. Once spotted players remember and then join the game recognizing a good blackjack opportunity when they find one.

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.

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?

Online Blackjack Tournaments at Silver Dollar

Silver Dollar is an Old West themed online casino with some rather fun graphics and animations. It is a Vegas Technology powered online casino as well, so the Vegas Tech favorites that we have all come to love can be found here as well. But one of the things that Silver Dollar offers that, as an online blackjack fan, I like are the online blackjack tournaments.

I’ve seen a lot of online blackjack tournaments around the online casino circuit, and I have to say that blackjack tournament offerings at Silver Dollar are not that bad, despite the slim pickings. Silver Dollar only offers two types of online blackjack tournaments:

The weekday tournament begins every Monday and ends on Thursday of the same week. Players can buy into the tournament for $5 and rebuy, if necessary, for another $5. Players in the Head2Head blackjack tournament play for the pot, which is split between the top placing players. The player at the top of the leader board receives 40%. After the top placing player receives his or her 40%, the remainder of the pot is then split between the next top nine placing players. The next ranking ten players receive a $10 prize. So the top twenty players receive prizes in this tournament.

The other type of online blackjack tournament offered at Silver Dollar is called the Weekend Blackjack Classic. This tournament picks up where the Head2Head leaves off, starting on a Friday and ending on Sunday of the same week. As you can see, the Head2Head then picks up on the day after the Weekend Blackjack Classic; so there is always some online blackjack tournament action happening at Silver Dollar.

The Weekend Blackjack Classic differs from the Head2Head in that the buy in is $10 with rebuys available. In this tournament there is a guaranteed prize pool of $5,000, with the top placing player receiving $2,500 of it, and the remaining $2,500 being split up between the next 219 ranking players.

There are two blackjack variations that are used in the tournaments at Silver Dollar: Vegas Strip Blackjack and Perfect Pairs. The two are alternated, so that if the Head2Head is being played out with Perfect Pairs, the Weekend Blackjack Classic is played out on Vegas Strip. The next week the variations are switched so that the Head2Head is on Vegas Strip and the Classic is on Perfect Pairs.

Of the two variations, Vegas Strip is the better blackjack game to play as it offers better odds, no side bets to lose extra money on and the dealer checks for blackjack before players make any plays which improves odds for the player—Perfect Pairs does not offer any of that.

If you are looking for some online blackjack tournament action, there is always something happening at Silver Dollar Casino. Just make sure to play in the tournaments that are being played out with Vegas Strip Blackjack.

Where Blackjack Apps Come From

Back on Monday I began my discussion of mobile blackjack apps. Our mobile devices are a big part of our life; they go with us just about everywhere with us, although some people even take their mobile devices into the bathroom with them. And I was going to discuss the story of the mobile blackjack app, but then New Jersey did its thing and the Assembly voted ‘yes’ to regulating online gambling in their state, and I could not pass that up.

Anyway. With mobile devices advancing in technology to give us the smartphones, such as the iPhone and Blackberry, it is only natural that explosion of mobile apps would happen. And among those mobile apps are those made for blackjack. Mobile blackjack apps allow those who have to take their blackjack on the go in a new way that does not require them to be a part of an online casino.

The most basic in mobile blackjack apps was the beginning. Such apps simply allowed the user to play with play money. This kind of free play app allowed those who were new to the game to become familiar with it without risking money.

Such an app also allows fans of blackjack who are already in the know about the game to enjoy it wherever they—and their mobile device—may be. This can be good just for entertainment but also for trying out new blackjack strategies and practice old ones.

But this first generation of blackjack mobile apps only allowed for one-on-one play. Granted that is how blackjack is played, you versus the dealer and the other players at the table do not have an impact on your hand. But there just seemed like there was something so lonely about a blackjack app. Maybe it is the notion that mobile devices are supposed to connect us more, but regardless of the reason, the first round of blackjack apps were lonely. At least I thought so.

But then came the next round of mobile blackjack apps, and these tried to make these blackjack apps more like online blackjack and less lonely. Did they succeed? Find out my thoughts tomorrow on the next round of mobile blackjack apps.

New Blackjack Game for Nintendo DSi

I was not a big video game kid when I was young. I did not play a lot of video games but I do remember playing Super Mario Brothers on my Super Nintendo—even a little Mortal Kombat. But Nintendo has come a long way since I was young. Now Nintendo’s big gaming devices are the Wii console and the portable DSi. And it is for the DSi that a new blackjack game has been released, making yet another way for blackjack players to play on the go.

The Nintendo DSi is a small gaming device that is highly portable. Similar to an iPhone, owners of the DSi can download games to their DSi using DSi Points. Naturally DSi points are acquired with real money.

Digital Leisure Inc. has created a game for the DSi called 21: Blackjack, available for 200 DSi Points.

I have to say that I am rather pleased with this game, and I do wish that iPhone app developers would create a blackjack app with the features that this little blackjack game gem has.

This is not only a good electronic blackjack game to play, it is also an incredible strategy learning tool. Unlike most other blackjack games, 21: Blackjack will allow players to change the number of decks they are playing with; change the payouts; splitting options; and even some of the house rules like whether or not the dealer can hit on a soft 17.

Having the ability to change the rules can allow the player to see what it is like to play in, say, a single deck game with a 6-5 payout. Sure, you can always read about why 6-5 games are bad for your odds, but with 21: Blackjack players can actually experience it without losing real money.

This little DSi game not only allows players to play in different blackjack scenarios, but it also tracks players’ stats as well. Players can see their win to loss ratio, and how many blackjacks they have been dealt, and more.

This electronic blackjack game would be perfect if it were available as a mobile app. While DSis are popular, they are not as numerous as mobile devices like iPhones, meaning this blackjack game will have limited exposure. And DSis are not as easy to tote around. If only such a blackjack game could be a mobile app.

Even Money Payouts in Blackjack

It does not matter if you play blackjack online or in a brick and mortar casino, you will come face to face with blackjack variations in either one. Variations are presented as a fun alternative to standard blackjack: Why play boring old blackjack when you could play something like Perfect Pairs or Super Fun 21?

Variations such as Perfect Pairs and Super Fun 21 have special rules and side bets worked into them. Perfect Pairs for example features a side bet for wagering on whether your first two cards will be a pair or not.

Along with additional features, better known as money sucking side bets, blackjack variations will also have some differences in their basic house rules. Super Fun 21 will allow players to double down on any number of cards, not the first two like in a standard game of blackjack. Such changes in rules are there to increase the player’s blackjack odds and to make them feel more enticed and secure about playing the variation.

But you do not want to get lulled in by that false sense of security. What online casino or brick and mortar casino will actually allow players to get the edge? None.

Not all of the rule variations in these variations of online blackjack and casino blackjack are good for a player. One of the most common differences to be found in blackjack variations are changes in the payout for a natural blackjack.

Many blackjack variations will only pay a 1-1, or even money, payout for a natural blackjack instead of the 3-2 payout. So if you were wagering $10 on a round, not including a side bet, and were dealt a natural blackjack, you would be paid $15. But in a blackjack variation you would only be paid $10.

Ultimately it comes down to odds. An even money payout for a natural blackjack lowers your blackjack odds by 2.27%. That is an incredibly big hit. But then you are losing out on the biggest opportunity to make money from blackjack, hence the really big hit to your odds. Your best bet is to stay away from blackjack variations be they in online blackjack or in a brick and mortar casino.

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.

Blackjack Games: Blackjack Switch

Oh goody! It is time for more talk about blackjack games and blackjack variations. This morning I have chosen Blackjack Switch as my variation to compare to good ol’ blackjack.

This blackjack variation can be found scattered throughout brick and mortar casinos, and it is beginning to show its face in some online casinos.

Switch works a little bit differently from other blackjack games. For one thing you are not playing one hand per round, you are playing two. There is no way out of this. If you want to play Switch then you have to play with two hands per round.

The reason players have two hands to play is because they can switch the top two cards.

In fact that is the first playing decision a player makes—to switch or not to switch. When it is time to play out his hand he can switch the top two cards of his hands. This has the benefit of giving players the opportunity to improve their hands.

Let’s say that you are playing Switch and you are dealt a 4/10 on one hand and a 10/6 on the second. When your turn to play comes you can switch the 10 from the first hand with the 6 from the second because they are the top two cards. Once the switch is made you then have a 4/6 and a 10/10, both of which are good hands as you can double down on the 4/6, and the 10/10 is a strong hand to stand on.

While that example is the ideal for what you want to happen in a round of Switch, it does not always happen that way. Sometimes switching the top two cards only improves one hand. Or maybe you only switch them for a shot at minimizing your losses.

But while switching your top two cards seems like an advantage—and it is—there are, like in any blackjack variation, some major down sides.

The most obvious is that if you are playing with two hands per round, you are wagering twice as much per round. On top of the extra wagering, blackjacks on pay even money in this game, which is a 2.27% hit to your blackjack odds.

And for extra fun the dealer does not bust at 22 like he would in any other blackjack game. Instead it becomes a push. So you are not losing money, but you certainly are not winning anything extra.

So once again we have another blackjack game—yet another variation—that on the surface seems like it could be advantageous but really is not. Like with Face Up 21, Switch should be played for very low stakes or just for fun if you are playing online.