Player Favorable Blackjack Rules—Part III

Ready for some more player favorable blackjack rules to look for? Well, who wouldn’t be?

Now, the likelihood of finding every single player favorable rule at one single game isn’t that great. You need to look for the best combination of these rules. You may only find a game with only one of these rules, but it will still be better to play at than a game with no player favorable rules—or worse, casino favorable rules like the 6-5 payout. But if you happen to find a blackjack game with all the player favorable rules, let me know!

But for right now we’ll look at resplitting Aces.

We all know to split Aces. We split them for their flexibility of being used as a 1 or as an 11. Each time you split up a pair of Aces you are potentially starting each hand with 11 and are half way to blackjack. At the worst you can reduce the Ace down to 1 if necessary and play out your hand as if you had been dealt a soft hand.

But look for a moment at being dealt a pair of Aces that you split. Let’s say that one of your original Aces received another Ace. Some casinos won’t allow you to resplit, which leaves you with a hand total of 12. A stiff hand that you can try to hit, and might win. But we all know how stiff hands turn out.

By not letting you resplit Aces, casinos are increasing your chances of losing, which of course increases their chances of making money.

And this is why you want to look for blackjack games that will allow you to resplit Aces. Allowing resplits lowers the casino’s edge by about 0.06%. It’s not a huge amount but the point of having a blackjack strategy is to chip away at the casino’s edge. And resplitting Aces is one more way of doing so.

Keep an eye open for Player Favorable Blackjack Rules—Part IV

Player Favorable Blackjack Rules—Part II

In addition to single deck games, you blackjack players also want to keep an eye out for blackjack games that allow you to double down after splitting a pair.

You have a pair when the first two cards you are dealt are worth the same amount. This would be being dealt two 6s. It is also a pair when you are dealt a 10 and, say, a Queen. These cards make a pair because they’re both worth ten, but no real blackjack player would split a pair of 10s when it could be played as a hard 20—nice strong hand there.

Doubling down is when you double your original bet and receive only one more card before standing.

Not all casinos will allow you to double down after you split a pair. But when you can it lowers the house edge by about 0.14%. And it also the payout potential is pretty outstanding.

Let’s say that you are playing at a $10 minimum table. You place a $10 bet and are dealt a pair of nines against a dealer up card of three. Basic strategy for this situation is to split. So you put out another $10 and split your cards.

But let’s say that you want to double down on one of your newly split pairs. You put forth another $10—your total bet that’s on the line is now$30—and receive a 10. One of your hands is now worth 19, which is pretty strong. Let’s keep going and say that the dealer busts and you win. You just won $60!

You can see how some casinos might frown on doubling down after splitting pairs—it might cost them too much when they add up the lowered house edge and the payouts they would have to make.

But if you can find a blackjack game that will allow to double down after splitting play there. If you play there and use perfect basic strategy, you can look at a house edge that is a little lower than the 0.5% you would have at a regular blackjack game.

Keep an eye open for Player Favorable Blackjack Rules—Part III

Player Favorable Blackjack Rules—Part I

Blackjack rules aren’t the same from casino to casino. I’m sure most casinos are happy if you believe this, but it’s not the truth.

The rules of the game can sometimes vary from casino to casino. Some rules will be casino favorable while others are favorable to the players. Some casinos try to give themselves an edge business-wise by offering players blackjack games with rules that favor the players.

Over the next few blogs posts I’ll cover what some of these player favorable rules are and why you want to play in games with these rules.

Single Deck Games
The first type of game for you to look for is a single deck game. When blackjack was first played in casinos it was played with only one deck. Over time the casinos figured out that they could increase their edge if they had each game played with more decks of cards. And that’s how we got to the six and eight deck games we have today. These multi-deck games give the house an increased edge by 0.5%.

But the single deck game has never died out. Over the last few years, casinos have begun offering single deck games to compete with their neighbors. But you would have to know that a single deck offers better player odds than a multi-deck game. The casinos that are not offering single deck games are hoping that players will remain ignorant and assume the there’s no difference between the two types of games.

But the one thing you want to watch out for when looking at single deck games are the ones that offer a 6-5 payout. The 6-5 payout actually cancels out the player favorable odds from the single deck game; in fact, the 6-5 payout actually increases the house edge.

When looking for a blackjack game, keep an eye open for single deck games, just not those with 6-5 payouts.

Keep an eye open for Player Favorable Blackjack Rules—Part II

How to Play a Hard 12 in Blackjack

When playing blackjack, you are bound to be dealt a stiff hand. These are the hardest hands to play in blackjack. They are difficult to win with.

You’ll be dealt a stiff hand around 43% of the time you play. This is because there are more stiff hands (12-16) than there are strong hands (18-20); and when you’re dealt a hand with a low total, you have a decent chance of hitting yourself into a stiff hand.

But off the stiff hands, according to basic strategy, hard 12 gives you the most room to work with…for a stiff hand.

With hard 13 through hard 16, you will need to stand against half of the dealer’s up cards. But with a hard 12 you’re hitting against seven of the ten cards a dealer could have.

We all know that all stiff hands will hit when facing a dealer’s 7 and higher. And you stand on a dealer 2 through 6. Except for the hard 12.

When you have a hard 12 against a dealer 2 or 3 it’s best to hit. You can actually win 37% of the time when hitting a hard 12 against the dealer’s 2 or 3. Yes, you can lose 63% of the time. But if you were to stand against the dealer’s 2 or 3 you will only win 35% of the time.

Now I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be making the play where I stand a 37% of winning than 35%.

While 37% isn’t that much higher than 35% it is still higher. And in this game you want to make the play that gives you the best chance of winning and minimizes your losses. And that is the case with a hard 12 against a dealer 2 or 3. By hitting you are increasing you chances of winning and minimizing you losses as best you can with the cards you’ve been dealt.

Casinos Taking 6-5 Games Too Far

I’ve said it before. Any blackjack game that pays a 6-5 payout should be avoided.

Now I’m going to say it absolutely must be avoided.

Casinos are getting greedy and desperate it seems down in Vegas. Overall, the gaming revenue at Vegas casinos is declining. And like any smart business, owners and managers are looking for ways to try to boost revenue. And while I can understand this and condone the need to do something to increase a business’s revenue, I do not condone players being taken advantage of.

Several years ago the 6-5 payout blackjack game was introduced. Yes, the payout is terrible. It still is. And the same applies to the house edge. But the carrot that casinos dangled in front of us was that these 6-5 payout games were single deck games.

Now with the need for revenue, casinos are seeing how much more they can squeeze out of players. What have they done? They are now ‘offering’ 6-5 payouts on multi-deck games.

Why is this worse than a single deck 6-5 payout blackjack game?

For one thing the payout is still terrible, and you won’t make the money you could playing in a 3-2 payout game. For every $10 bet you would only win $12 instead of $15.

But the biggie is what changing the payout on a multi-deck game from 3-2 to 6-5 does to the house edge. Just by changing the payout to 6-5, the house edge just jumped by around 2%. Now, before basic strategy and card counting, most 3-2 blackjack games carry a house edge of 2% to 5%. A 6-5 blackjack game will carry a house edge ranging from 4% to 7%, making it worse than some slots games. This throws of the skill play for blackjack. Basic strategy will not be as effective here and it will take longer to play for the house edge to be lowered because you’re starting with a higher house edge.

Casinos will be watching to see if players take to these 6-5 multi-deck games. And if they see that players are still playing them, then we can expect that the 6-5 games will be sticking around, if not growing in number. Do yourself and all your fellow blackjack players a favor and avoid these games.

Casinos Pouting About Card Counting Players

If you follow gambling news then you’ve probably already heard of this Thomas P. Donovan and the Grand Victoria Casino. If you haven’t, let me give you a quick recap:

In 2006 the Grand Victoria threw Donovan out of their casino in Rising Sun, Indiana for card counting. He sued and lost. So he went to the Indiana Court of Appeals where he won, the appeals court saying that it wasn’t a good enough reason to kick Donovan out.

This comes down to casinos not liking card counters. Online casino operators are thankful that they don’t have to deal with this issue since you can’t count card online. But for land based casinos this, according to them, is a major thorn in their sides. Why? Because they might lose.

Oh my, oh my, a casino might lose a fraction of their money to a player.

And that, blackjack fans, is the problem. Casinos basically expect players to walk in the door and give over their money; they also expect that they shouldn’t have to pay them back…except for the occasional big win that looks good for business and will draw players.

If we wanted to give our money away without the chance of any monetary return, we could just as easily donate our money to the church. The reason this is gambling is because we are putting our money out there on the chance that we can win money back. It’s a chance. A gamble.

And casinos need to except that their business is a gamble. If you’re going to go into business where players are putting their money on the line, then they need to except that they will have to pay players who win.

While most of the games in casinos are games of chance, blackjack is a game of skill. Like with any game, players are going to try to find a strategy, try to win. This is the case with card counting. All card counting is is a strategy that blackjack players use to try to even up the odds.

Casinos start with the edge already. And they think that it’s unfair for players to use mental processes, such as remembering what cards have been played out of the decks and calculating an approximate chance that they’ll hit for a high card—card counting. They feel that it’s unfair for players to try to do something to win.

If that’s how they feel, they should be lobbying for a ban on mental processes or, if they’re that afraid of losing to players, then they should stick to slots, roulette and keno, and stop fussing about card counting blackjack players.

Super Fun 21 Isn’t That Fun for Blackjack Players

Attention blackjack players: avoid Super Fun 21, also known as just Super21.

There, now that my warning is out there, I’ll share with you why it’s in your best interest—and your bankroll’s interest—to stay away from this game. And this applies to all blackjack players, online and regular casino players.

Let’s take a look at what they’re offering.

Casinos will try to lure you in to play this blackjack variation by telling you it’s a single deck game. That should have great odds. But, wait it gets better.

Super 21 rules allow you to double down on any number of cards. Great, blackjack player odds just got better. I know you just can’t believe that. But, wait, there’s more.

Yes, more. You can surrender after doubling down if you like. I know, the odds just keep getting better and better.

Have you ever heard that phrase, ‘If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is?’

Guess what? That applies to Super Fun 21, or Super 21 if you’d rather call it that.

Traditional blackjack, online or not, pays out 3-2 for a natural blackjack. In Super Fun 21, the payout for a natural blackjack is even money. Yes, even money. There is one natural blackjack that pays more but it must be made up of diamonds. All other natural blackjacks receive even money.

This even money payout not only wipes out the advantages from this variation’s player-favorable rules, it actually increases the house edge…an 85% increase actually. That translates in a raise of 0.95% on top of their 2% to 5%.

Does sound like much fun anymore does it, blackjack players?

No, I didn’t think so. Super Fun 21, masquerading as Super 21 at times, should be avoided by all blackjack players, online and in casinos, for its even money payouts and increased house edge.

Blackjack Strategy–Splitting Aces

As any good player with a good blackjack strategy knows, you always split Aces.

And you resplit too.

Every time that you split and resplit Aces you are increasing your odds by about 0.06%. Yes, I know it doesn’t sound like a lot, but take what you can get. Every little bit helps right? Yes, it does. It’s these little tricks that increase your odds that you have a blackjack strategy.

Let’s say that you are dealt a pair of Aces. Don’t be hesitant to split them.

It used to be another blackjack house rule that you could only receive only one more draw card—similar to when you double down: you increase your bet, and receive only one more card. In most cases that has changed so that you can play out a split Ace as you would any other hand.

But what if you draw another Ace? Good blackjack strategy says to resplit.

Yes, you are making a third wager, but that is another hand that you have the possibility of winning. Don’t look at plays like double downs and splitting as instant losses. Look at them as a possibility.

If you are a card counter and the deck is counting positive, it is defiantly in your best interest to split and resplit—there are nines, tens and face cards in what remains of the deck. This makes your chance of making a hand total of 21 even better.

Imagine that you have a pair of Aces and you split. You are then dealt another Ace and resplit. That’s three hands that will be receiving cards from a deck that is rich in high cards. So make the extra bet and go with it.

Even if you aren’t a card counter, that 0.06% increase each time is worth the extra bet. So make sure that splitting Aces is a part of your blackjack strategy. It’s one more opportunity for you.

Blackjack Strategy—Splitting 8s

Why do you split 8s? Why is it a standard in blackjack strategy to do so?

Look at what blackjack strategy is first. In the first place you have a strategy so that you can improve your odds of winning. But what do you do when you find yourself in a situation that you know you are most likely going to lose?

This is the other part of your blackjack strategy: finding the least costly way out of a non-winning situation.

Now let’s look at being dealt a pair of 8s and the dealer has an upcard that is a 9, 10, or Ace.

If you were to stand on a hard 16, you are then playing with a stiff hand and will most likely lose. Interesting side note: you will be dealt a stiff hand about 43% of the time; and we all know that it’s easiest to lose with those hands.

Thankfully you can split those 8s. A pessimistic person might say that this is unwise blackjack strategy because you’re probably going to lose anyway. And this is why we don’t listen to pessimistic people.

Think of splitting those 8s as a second chance for you on this round. You can build two new hands, each starting with an 8 card. Yes, you do have to double your bet.

And, yes, you could lose all of that, but this is blackjack, this is gambling—you are going to lose sometimes. The trick here is to try to lose the least amount of money to get out of this round and on to the next.

By splitting your 8s and creating two new hands, you have the possibility of turning what could have been a pretty good shot at losing into one in which you have the possibility of winning with one hand, maybe even both.

The point to remember about pair splitting strategy is that this move is in place, for those who know how to use it, to lose less and win more in the long run. By only hitting or standing you are limiting your strategy and your odds at blackjack.

You can use this strategy for online blackjack or when playing at a casino.

Adding More to Your Blackjack Strategy—Betting On Another Player’s Hand

Imagine making money off of another player’s hand. Can you do that? Yes, you can, it’s perfectly legal to do. And well worth adding to your blackjack strategy.

So why would you do this? Another player might have an advantage but not the nerve to up the wager to take full advantage of their hand. The good blackjack player that you are, remember your blackjack vows, you can’t let someone lose money to the house just because they’re a little nervous of putting out a few more chips. So you help them out.

Imagine that everyone’s betting the minimum of $20. The guy sitting next to you was just dealt a 7-4 against the dealer’s 10. Basic strategy for this set up is to double down. And the guy sitting next to you knows this, but you see him hesitating on putting out another $20. So instead of another $20, he put out only $10 and tries doubling for less.

This is where you become a blackjack hero. Step in, toss him $10 of your chips and tell him that you’ll go in with him on this hand. So now you’ve got money riding on your own hand that you can win from, and now you can win money off of your neighbor’s. For less than a full bet you can now win money from two hands.

The point of blackjack strategy is to take full advantage of the cards. And if you see another player who isn’t taking full advantage, get in on the action and take the part of the advantage that they aren’t willing to take. Make sure they’re okay with you betting on their hand first. The added benefit to betting on another player’s hand is that such strategy can also help lower the house edge by around 0.15%.

Another time to go in on another player’s hand is when another player has two 7s versus a dealer’s 6. He splits and gets another 7. He needs to split again, but he’s already put out an extra $20 already. Offer to cover the amount of the second split. This gets you in on the action, lowers the house edge and allows you both to take advantage of a money-making situation since 7s against a dealer’s 6 is a moneymaker.

So why add this to your blackjack strategy?

When you’re playing blackjack, it’s you versus the dealer, but there are other players against the dealer. And the dealer represents the casino. So why let the casino take more blackjack player money when they should be paying out to us. So help your fellow players out so that they can take full advantage of their hands, and let’s make those casinos payout some more.