Bye Bye Visa and Mastercard

It finally seems that the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UICEA) is upon U.S. players. In light of the upcoming implementation, Mastercard and Visa have both stop processing payments to and from online gambling sites.

So it seems that they are trying to stop us from playing blackjack online. But where there is a will to play there is a way to play. U.S. players will now have to turn to other payments options. And, yes, they do exist.

Other payment options include eChecks, eWalletexpress and Usemywallet. Electronic checks are also an option. They can be deposited directly with the online casino. Then you’ll be off to play blackjack online. And once you have your winnings, you can have the online casino issue you an electronic check. It’s kind of like having a bank account on the internet without it actually being a real U.S. bank that will try to block your financial interactions with an online casino. These electronic checks are usually free of charges,

But maybe U.S. blackjack players can hope. Online casinos got around this sort of thing once in the past. The last time Mastercard tried this, within two months online casinos had removed code that identified payments from them as being from an online gambling site.

But it seems that this time around online casinos are just going to turn their backs on Mastercard and Visa and not even bother. Rather they’ll just rely on other electronic forms of payment and keep on providing games.

But a certain amount of pity should be directed at Mastercard and Visa, blackjack fans. While we don’t like paying fees to them, they are missing out on a lot of money in fees. And well, that is how they make their money so that they can go on giving us credit. But then it’s one more aspect that UIGEA hurts.

Really I must say that U.S. citizens are actually pretty lucky. UIGEA was supposed to take effect in December of 2009. So we should really feel lucky that we have until June now.

Where to Find Free Blackjack

We’ve heard it everywhere we go: the economy certainly isn’t what it used to be. So since we’ve all heard it I’m not going to go on about it. But I will say that a very large number of people in America are looking for ways to cut costs and save some money. Usually it’s the extras that go first. And gambling games, such as our blackjack, are probably on that list.

But for blackjack players who play because they love the game, they don’t have to actually give it up. You can always play for free.

Granted, you won’t make any money playing for free, but you can still enjoy the game. And it also can serve as practice if you’re trying to bone up on your skills—after all, if you’re playing for free you don’t have to worry about losing money to practice.

And even though you don’t have any money at stake when playing blackjack online for free, you still want to play a reputable online casino just in case you run into some technical issue or need some help from customer support. You want to know that there are people that are there to help you.

Some of the best places to play free blackjack online are at the same online casinos you play at for money.

Online casinos also have the gaming software that is specifically designed for casino favorites. These aren’t little flash jobs. These have all the lights and sound of a real casino. And when you’re playing blackjack online you’ll get the view that you’re playing at a blackjack table.

The majority of online casinos offer free-play modes. Usually they use these to allow potential players to try out their interfaces and games in hopes that these new players will create a real money account. And they have the customer support staff to handle any concerns that you might have.

But established players can log in to their favorite online casinos to play blackjack and still play for free. Just make sure that you click on the Play for Fun option—you don’t want to accidently play with your money when you‘re wanting to play blackjack for free.

Blackjack doesn’t have to be out of your reach just because you might not have extra money floating around. The point is to enjoy this game. And playing for free online can give you that.

It’s Playtech Again: Launches Mobile Gaming Application

Playtech is working its way to the front of the pack when it comes to online gaming industry software providers. Recently they signed to work with the Sega to create and release a Sega brand of online slots. Now Playtech is venturing into the world of mobile devices.

Mobile Web Application is to be the newest in cross-platform software. Playtech says that this mobile gaming application won’t have to be downloaded, and will feature our favorite game: blackjack.

So if you’re stuck waiting for a layover in an airport or on a road trip or even on your lunch break, you’ll be able to enjoy your blackjack.

Playtech is hoping to bring players on the go, including all of us blackjack players, an easily managed online gaming experience while on the go. They are trying to bring the experience of playing on your computer at home to your phone so that you don’t miss a moment of enjoying a favorite game.

The Mobile Web Application will allow blackjack players to sign into their account with an online casino that is carrying the application from anywhere—as long as they have signal, of course. The mobile platforms that will be supporting this latest release from Playtech are the iPhone, the iPod Touch and the Android phones.

Playtech, which was founded in 1999, is becoming known for a well branded and smooth online gambling platform. There is also their cutting edge graphics to be found in their gambling software. Playtech is a software provider to keep an eye on; seventy-five percent of their employees are employed in their research and development areas. This is one software provider to keep an eye on!

Training Yourself in the Ways of Blackjack—Making and Breaking

There are several myths and philosophies in blackjack that revolve around the idea that there is an order to the cards, and that the order must be preserved. But in truth there is no order to the cards. They are shuffled and then dealt.

It seems that blackjack players who play online don’t seem to have that worry that there’s some order that must be preserved.

Why is that?

It probably has something to do with the fact that in online blackjack there are no cards visible other than the ones that have been dealt. And perhaps, because the remaining deck isn’t visible, players focus more on the cards on the screen in front of them rather than worrying about those that have yet to be dealt.

Another reason that perhaps online blackjack players don’t worry about the order of the cards is because they know that there can’t be any order. In online blackjack any card, it is assumed that players are playing with multiple decks.

And there are no discards. The cards in online blackjack can be thought as playing at a table with a continuous shuffle machine. And while the CSMs in land-based casinos are considered a low blow to blackjack players, there is no other way to play online blackjack. Online blackjack can’t have real cards with discards. And the similarity to a CSM is from the Random Number Generator that keeps the results of each card dealt random and fair to the players.

What land-based blackjack players can learn from online blackjack players is to let go of the idea that there is an order to the cards. Land-based blackjack players can utilize the play-for-fun option that online casinos offer to play blackjack and try playing without the idea that there is an order to the cards.

Letting go of this order-to-the-cards idea can free players from making mistakes in their plays that cost them money. Give it a shot.

Blackjack Philosophy No-No’s—Part V

Sorry that I got side tracked with betting strategies. Couldn’t help it. But betting is just as much a part of blackjack as knowing what to do with your cards is.

But we’ll go back to player contrived blackjack philosophies now.

This one is one of my favorites: Try to avoid bad blackjack players.

Seriously, this is one of those so-called blackjack philosophies.

The reason that I love it is that it gives me such a funny visual. Imagine being in a casino. You’re sitting at a blackjack table, and the guy next to you can’t play a hand worth anything. He’s too proud to use a basic strategy chart and is talking like he knows blackjack in and out. However his playing style betrays his lack of knowledge of the game. He is—cue scary music—a bad blackjack player!

You leave you table, and sneak off to another one. But he follows you. You leave to go to another one, and he follows you again. And again and again. You can see why this is funny to me.

The truth is that there’s very little sense in trying to avoid bad players. For one thing they don’t have an impact on how you play your cards—unless you’re making the mistake of taking his advice on how to play your hand. Like how third base doesn’t make or break the dealer. A bad player doesn’t affect your hand.

But what if he takes the card that would give you 21? The truth is that you don’t know if the card he hit for or the one after is better for your hand. But a bad player isn’t going to make or break your hand.

And you really can’t avoid a bad player. Truthfully, it would be disruptive for you to be changing tables to try to get away from them. It would also mean less time for you to play as well.

Keep an eye out for Blackjack Philosophy No-No’s—Part VI

Blackjack Philosophy No-No’s—Part I

Blackjack is a game of skill, yes? Yes. So why is it that casinos, both online and land-based can rake in tens of thousands of dollars from blackjack games a month? It can be owed to player contrived blackjack philosophies. And these, quite plainly, don’t work. Some of these philosophies can be applied to both online blackjack and land-based. But keep them all in the back of your mind.

And while these blackjack philosophies might make sense in someone’s head, they generally don’t stand up to logic. So I will bring you the logic.

Changing Tables When the Dealer is “Hot”
No, that doesn’t mean that the dealer is good looking.

Players will term a dealer as being “hot” when the dealer makes several four or five card hands in a row. Or they’ll simply term a dealer “hot” when they keep losing to the dealer.

And that right there is where the first hole is punched in this philosophy. The player keeps losing. So in a quiet, passive-aggressive response, the player will change tables. To me this is sulking that the cards were running in the dealer’s favor.

But in blackjack, the cards don’t favor one or the other forever. If a dealer is “hot” by winning with several hands made up of small cards, what does that mean? It means that the high cards—the 10s, face cards and Aces—haven’t been played yet. So you don’t want to leave the table. Bet small and wait it out until the high cards begin to come out. You’ll be glad you didn’t give into your sulk and leave.

Keep an eye out for Blackjack Philosophy No-No’s—Part II

Attn: New Jersey Blackjack Fans!

Recently Pennsylvania’s State Government approved table games for their casinos and resorts. This happened mostly because of a large hole in the State’s budget that needed to be filled badly. Very badly. But not only would allowing table games, such as blackjack, to be allowed in casinos and resorts provide income for Pennsylvania through taxes, it will also be a boost for the State’s economy.

Next door neighbor New Jersey, known for its famed gambling center Atlantic City, seems to pull those interested in gambling out of Pennsylvania. Now by having table games of their own, Pennsylvania hopes to keep their citizens gambling in-state. They also hope to pull citizens of New Jersey and New York over the state line with games like blackjack and poker. Pennsylvania is hoping that residents of New Jersey and New York will see a place to play their favorite table games and not have to make the drive to Atlantic City. In other words, Pennsylvania is trying to offer convenience in hopes of boosting their income.

But with a reputation of not being one to mess with, New Jersey isn’t going into the night quietly. Queue that “Anything you can do, I can do better” song please. New Jersey is now looking at legalizing online sports betting using an account system to take wagers over the phone or internet. But it doesn’t look like this will be limited to sports betting.

New Jersey Senator Raymond Lesniak is working with the Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association on a bill to make most forms of online gambling legal for citizens of New Jersey. That would include blackjack. Lesniak is looking to go for all of it to compete with Pennsylvania.

Get ready for some serious online gambling competition from these two in the months to come.

That Third Base Chair at the Blackjack Table

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard people at a blackjack table getting up in arms about how the person at third base plays their hand. They somehow always ruin the play for the rest of the table. If they hit they’re accused of taking the dealer’s bust card. If they stand then they’re accused of not taking the card that would have allowed the dealer to get a card that would make him bust.

It seems that no one thinks that third base plays blackjack right. …Unless of course other players win their hands. Then they seem to find no fault with how third base played.

In blackjack, there is no way to tell whether that card that third base has a chance of taking or passing on will help or hurt the dealer.

The truth is that we all like to blame others when things don’t go the way we want them to. We’re late for work—it’s the fault of the guy who drove too slowly in front of you. And really? It’s no one’s fault that you lost your blackjack hand. It’s just chance. So if you want to be mad, be mad at Lady Chance. Or Lady Luck if you like.

The other truth about third base in blackjack, in addition to the fact that we like to place blame, is that there is no way to tell if that card will bust the dealer or not. And there’re two reasons for that.

One, you have no idea what that card is. Let’s pretend that I’m going to bet $100 you that the next card is not going to bust the dealer. And if it didn’t you would pay me $100. Would you actually take that bet? No, I didn’t think so. When put that way you begin to realize that you have no idea what that card is and whether it would hurt the dealer or not.

Two, the dealer has this thing called a hole card. So even if you did know what the next card in the deck was, you still wouldn’t know whether it would hurt the dealer because you don’t know what his hole card is. And without knowing what his hand total is, you have no way of knowing whether the next card in the deck could bust the dealer.

The best thing that you can do in blackjack is to not blame or put pressure on whoever is sitting at third base. They don’t have the power to affect the dealer. If you lose your hand blame it on the cards you were dealt. In this way you won’t be putting negative feelings out on the top. Just remember that in blackjack third base can’t make or break the dealer.

What Hand Stands to Win After a Natural Blackjack?

Every time we sit down at a blackjack table or in front of our computers, we always hope that we will be dealt a natural. We hope for it whether we’re really aware of it or not. And most of the time this is an unfulfilled hope.

So what should we hope to be dealt if we aren’t dealt 21?

That should be an easy answer you either want an Ace-9 or a 10-10.

And would you believe that many, many blackjack players mis-play these two hands?

First, the Ace-9. Because it could be called a soft 20 (and who really calls it a soft 20? It’s a 20!), a good many blackjack players will either hit on this hand or double down. It’s the Ace that throws them. They see that Ace and think that they can play this hand as hard 10. Which is why so many players will also try to double down on it.

Never hit or double down on an Ace-9. Forget the soft part of this hand, and look at the fact that you have 20 in your hand! The only thing that can beat you is if the dealer has a natural blackjack. And if the dealer has 20 also, it’s only a push and you haven’t money.

Now the other hand: 10-10. Because this is a pair, many less-knowledgeable blackjack players will split this. And, again, they are failing to see what is in their hand. They see the opportunity to split and play with two hands. But in the long run they will lose more money by splitting.

Instead look at a 10-10 for what it is: a 20. Never ever split it.

It’s best to just leave these two blackjack hands be and play with them as they are. So incorporate into your blackjack strategy to play with Ace-9 and 10-10 as they are.

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.