Strategy for Online Blackjack: Rate of Play

When it comes to playing online blackjack, there are some differences between blackjack that is played online and blackjack that is played in a brick and mortar casino. Those differences can have an impact on your blackjack strategy.

One of the biggest differences comes down to players. When you are playing blackjack in a brick and mortar casino, you could be playing with up to six other players. But when you are playing blackjack online it is a one on one game between you and the dealer. While this does not seem like a big deal, it actually is.

The more players there are in a round of blackjack the longer it takes to play out. If you are playing at a full table, the average number of hands per hour is around 55. But if you are playing one on one with the dealer you will go through about 220 hands in a single hour.

Granted, that is a big difference, but what does that have to do with strategy for online blackjack?

Well, blackjack strategy is about making the most of advantageous situations and minimizing your losses in disadvantageous ones. Since the house will almost always have an edge, you will lose money over the course of that hour.

We are going to say that you are a basic strategy player who plays $25 per hand. With basic strategy you have lowered the house edge to 0.5%, meaning that you will lose around $0.12 per hand.

If you were playing at a full table you would only lose on average $7 per hour. But if you were playing one on one, like you would be playing in online blackjack, you would lose around $28 per hour. That is quite the difference.

Unfortunately there is no way to add more players to your game when playing online blackjack. So you need to find something to your strategy to slow your rate of play, or how many hands you play per hour.

There is no magic strategy tool for this. This is a player controlled strategy, meaning you are in control of how many rounds are played per hour. Give yourself a time limit—play for 15 minutes and then take a break for a set number of minutes. Or give yourself a set number of rounds to play in an hour; when you have played that many, stop until the next hour arrives.

Or you could be like me and donate blood. It takes a few days to recover, for your body to restore the missing blood, so you run a little bit slower. Donating blood has the benefit of saving someone’s life and helping your online blackjack strategy at little bit.

But I would still play for a set number of rounds, or for a set amount of time before taking a break. After all you can only donate so much blood so often.

Insurance and Blackjack Strategy—Some Things Do Not Mix

Have you ever tried to combine oil and water in the same container? It does not work so well does it? Sure, you can shake the container up again and again, but the oil and water will always separate. This is nature’s way of telling you that those two do not go together.

The same can be said about mixing insurance with blackjack strategy.

You might try mixing your blackjack strategy up a bit to take insurance, but the two will always separate. Insurance just does not feel right when playing blackjack. And so the two should always be separate.

The reason for this is you know that insurance is not your friend. It does not help your blackjack odds. For one thing you are putting out money to guard your money. Just say that out loud: Insurance is putting out money to guard your money. Does not sound right does it? That is because it is not right.

More often than not casinos and online casinos will collect either your original wager or your insurance wager. So you are losing money no matter what. If you won the round but lost your insurance wager, you lost money you did not have to.

Oh, and insurance and a natural blackjack—that is a big mistake. See, when you have a natural blackjack and the dealer has an Ace showing he will not offer you insurance. Instead he will offer you even money—which is just another way of losing money. Only this time you are losing it in your payout.

Insurance even money payouts are 1-1 payouts rather than the standard 3-2 payouts. And that hits your blackjack odds for 2.27%.

The point here is that if insurance is so bad for your blackjack odds, why mix it in to your blackjack strategy—which is supposed to increase your odds. Why do something to decrease your odds when you are trying to increase them? Insurance just seems so counterproductive to a strong blackjack strategy.

Natural Ways in Blackjack Strategy to Reduce the House Edge

When playing blackjack, players who desire to be savvy blackjack players will work and work to build a blackjack strategy that they can use to reduce the house edge and increase their own blackjack odds. This is true across the board of blackjack players. Those who play in brick and mortar casinos seek to beat the house, just like online blackjack players. It is one of the similarities between the two formats.

The desire to be a savvy blackjack player will take players on a quest from one of the internet to the other. They will closely examine strategy methods of others and tear about blackjack betting strategies. For players who play in brick and mortar casinos, they will practice and practice at card counting.

But for all of this work and studying, many blackjack players overlook a very effective way of reducing the house edge that is built in to the very basics of the game: double down.

Doubling down hits the house edge for 1.6%. When you consider that other plays only knock off fractions of a single percent, a hit of 1.6% is quite large.

When a player doubles down, he has the chance of winning twice the amount off of the house that he normally would on that particular hand. Because blackjack odds are about money, the opportunities that give the player a chance to take more money from the house are the ones that increase blackjack odds the most.

So why are blackjack players hesitant to double down and why do others disregard it entirely?

The answer is simple. They are afraid to put more money on the line. And with an attitude like that, a blackjack player might as well be handing over a portion of their bankroll.

And it is not like players are left with no way of knowing when the best chances to double down are. Basic strategy tells players when the most opportune times to double down are, which further decreases chances of loss and increases chances of winning.

With that knowledge in hand and knowing just how much damage doubling down can do to the house’s edge, it is most unwise to ignore doubling down. And that is exactly why any savvy blackjack player will not ignore the ‘natural’ means of increasing their blackjack odds, and will not forget doubling down in their blackjack strategy.

One More Time with Feeling: Online Blackjack and Card Counting

We have been down this road before. However, blackjack is one of the most popular casino games out there; and when it comes to card games, its popularity is second only to poker. But let’s face it—blackjack is easier to a play than poker. And the same applies to online blackjack.

And being one of the most popular online casino games for obvious reasons, it is no surprise that new players find their way to online blackjack.

What they might not know is that, while being highly similar, there are some difference between online blackjack and blackjack in a brick and mortar casino. The general house rules are the same, and most part of blackjack strategy will cross over. But there is a big one that does not cross over. And players who are new to online blackjack should be aware of it.

Card counting does not work in online blackjack.

Yes, there is a reason. There are no discarded cards in online blackjack. This is because of the Random Number Generator that runs the game.

When a game of online blackjack is first created by the developers, every possible two player cards and dealer up card combination is programmed into the game’s RNG. This means that it is pulling from all of the cards so to speak. As soon as a player clicks Deal, the RNG will select a two card and dealer up card combination.

Because the RNG pulls from all possibilities it means that no cards are ever discarded. This can be compare to playing blackjack in a brick and mortar casino at a table with a Continuous Shuffle Machine (CSM). And blackjack players know that card counting is impossible with a CSM.

So when players come to play blackjack online they should know not to try to count cards.

Blackjack Myths Special

In honor of today being Friday the 13th, I am going to talk about blackjack myths today.

First I am going to start with the most basic and most common blackjack myth: the objective of blackjack is to get a hand total of 21. It does not matter whether we are talking about online blackjack or blackjack in a brick and mortar casino, players (novices for sure) of both types seem to think that this is the objective.

However, they would be slightly mistaken. And when it comes to casino games it does not do to be mistaken in what their objectives are.

To set us on the right track, the true objective of blackjack is to beat the dealer without getting a hand total that goes over 21.

The reason you want to know the true objective of blackjack is that it can have an impact on your blackjack strategy. If you operate under the idea that all you have to do is get 21 and that the dealer’s hand is of no concern, you will probably hit a lot more and see no purpose to double down or split pairs.

Now if you were playing with the goal of beating the dealer you would be taking his cards and his playing choices into mind. Let’s compare!

If you had a hard 14 and the dealer had a 6 and were only trying to play to 21 you would probably hit. But since you are really trying to beat the dealer you would stand and give the dealer a chance at busting himself. If he busts himself then you win.

You see the difference between the two objectives, yes? Good. It is important to pay with correct blackjack objective in mind as it can have an impact on your blackjack strategy.

Happy Friday the 13th! Good luck when playing today!

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.

Golden Nugget’s New Online Blackjack

Seems that everyone is hoping on the social media band wagon.

Yesterday I talked about how Golden Nugget launched their very own Facebook game called Golden Nugget Vegas Casino with the help of Last Legion.

In this Facebook game players manage their own casino. They can install blackjack tables, slot machines and more. The y work to expand their casino offerings and their casinos themselves by ‘harvesting’ the profits of their chosen casino games.

But this is not just a ‘farming’ Facebook game. Golden Nugget has not gone to the trouble of creating a Facebook game simply for the enjoyment of Facebook members. Golden Nugget is trying to expand their brand name and increase awareness of their casino—both the brick and mortar casino and the online casino.

“The goal is to reach new eyeballs and get the brand in front of more people,” said Amy Chasey who is the Vice President of Marketing at Golden Nugget.

But building and managing your own casino is not where the real brand awareness is being plastered. Players can visit the casinos of their friends and play their favorite casino games with play money. In a way this is another form of playing blackjack online.

After clicking on a game, say the blackjack table, that you want to play online in your friend’s casino, the screen changes to a format similar to that of a regular online blackjack game. With the words ‘Golden Nugget’ splashed across the table of course.

In short, it is just another way of playing online blackjack. For free.

You can then wager $5, $25 or $100 per hand. The blackjack online in this casino Facebook game has standard house rules. But I am willing to wager that despite the fact that you are playing with fake money, the payout percentage is not all that great. Even playing with basic strategy you will find that you lose more often than you win. There is almost a feeling that the hands you normally win in ordinary online blackjack, you lose in this game.

Thankfully you are only playing with play money in this game. Golden Nugget has not created a real money option for their new game…yet.

Lastly, the avatars are a bit scary as they have big heads and kind of resemble those Bratz Dolls. But you do not see them while you are playing blackjack as the table fills the window.

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.

Blackjack Strategy: Playing to 21

When new players think of blackjack, they think the objective of the game is to get their hand total up to 21. To play to 21 in other words. However this is a bit of a misconception. Sure, 21 is the magic number in blackjack but it is not the objective.

The true objective of blackjack—any blackjack game, be it blackjack online or black in a brick and mortar casino—is to beat the dealer without getting a hand total that goes over 21.

The difference between playing to 21 and beating the dealer is a little bit different. If you were playing to 21 there would be no need for a dealer’s hand. There would then be no dealer up cards, and blackjack would not be the dealer versus player game that we know it to be. If playing to 21 were the sole objective and we did not have a dealer we would be playing against other players, and then we would descend into poker. And if I wanted to play poker I would go play poker and not blackjack.

But this is blackjack and we have a dealer and we play to beat that dealer.

This means that your blackjack strategy is based on getting the best odds. The best odds in the long run mean that you will win more from the house. That means paying attention to the game and making the play that brings you the best blackjack odds. Sometimes that means doubling down or splitting pairs, or maybe not splitting pairs, or maybe standing here and there.

The whole point of a blackjack strategy is to know how to make the best play and take the most advantage of the current hand in your attempt to beat the dealer.

The best tool for this blackjack strategy is a basic strategy chart. This is why new blackjack players are first pointed in the direction of basic strategy once they learn the basic playing rules of the game.

Paying attention to your blackjack strategy and why you make a certain play using basic strategy helps to teach new players the whys of the game, and why blackjack’s objective is not playing to 21.

Economy Hits Blackjack

No surprise, the economy has hit blackjack.

It seems that seems that blackjack revenue has fallen 20% since last year. And it had already fallen 12% in 2008.

Normally blackjack brings in around $1 billion in Nevada. But last year it fell to the income level it had in the late 1990’s: around $996 million.

So why is that?

This should be a very popular casino game. After all it is one of two games of skill offered in casinos, meaning that, through strategy use, players can impact their odds. A blackjack player that uses basic strategy can lower the house edge to 0.5%

So if players can impact this casino game so much, why is blackjack revenue on a downward swing?

It’s simple. The casinos got greedy. Knowing that blackjack is one of their most popular games and that players can impact the odds (read: win more from the casino) they started changing the rules.

They began implementing 6:5 payout games. They tried to lure in blackjack players by making these single deck games. But the smaller payout increases the house edge. Blackjack players are not stupid. Once they figured out what the casinos were up to, they quit playing those games.

Another attempt on the casinos’ parts to squeeze more money out of players was to offer more blackjack variations with side bets. And side bets we all know cause the casino to take your money faster. Again, blackjack players have figured this one out, and have begun avoiding those tables.

There is also the increase in playing blackjack online. Those who play online don’t have to worry about travel and accommodation expenses. They can sit in the PJs at home and play.

Payouts in online blackjack tend to be higher since online casinos don’t have the overhead to worry about paying. Online casinos don’t require as great of a profit to keep themselves running. With smaller expenses they can payout more and more often. Blackjack players have figured this out too. And many are now playing blackjack online it has hit land-based casinos even harder.

But blackjack players aren’t stupid. We want to win. And when we know that The Man is trying to pull more of our money out of our pockets (money that’s already more dear to us), we will take our money and patronage elsewhere.