One of my favorite casinos online is Lucky Red. I love playing blackjack at this casino; I have for many years now. I have wanted to write a review about it for a while now, because I feel so strongly about how great it is. This site is great for a number of different reasons, but the most important one is the high payout percentage as well as the attractive hit frequency. There are over 95 different slot games and 60 specialty games.
The fact that Lucky Red uses RealTime Gaming software makes it that much more superior than the rest of the online casinos. Download takes under two minutes, and the flash version is available immediately. One of the best things about RTG is it is embedded with Random Number Generation.
There are around 5 different blackjack games to choose from including: BJ and Perfect Pairs, Face Up21, Match Play21, Pontoon and Super21. Their welcome bonus is currently fixed at 400% with no limit. What this means is your first deposit will be matched 400x with absolutely no limit to how much you can deposit. This is very unique for online casinos to do, there is almost always a limit to this bonus.
With the great payout percentage, hit frequency, welcome bonus, and fantastic games it is no surprise that [insert_php]echo $casino4name;[/insert_php] ranks among the best online casinos on the internet. Give their blackjack tables a try, you will not be disappointed. I hope you have enjoyed my review. I will be back to review some more of my favorite places to play blackjack online.
About five months ago, back in March, I brought to your attention the story of Jerome Powers. Powers racked up a $1.2 million blackjack debt playing at the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut in May of 2009.
The story goes that Powers was extended a casino credit line worth $1.2 million. He lost it all at the blackjack tables. Before leaving the casino, Powers tried to pay off his credit line by writing six checks. All six checks were returned with the reason for the return being that Powers’ account was closed and no longer valid.
The last two years has been spent arguing in and out of courts with the Mohegan Sun. Powers and his attorney said that the credit line was illegal since the Mohegan is on tribal land where the state does not have any jurisdiction. But the court took the Mohegan’s side, said the gambling was legal so the credit line was legal and that Powers had to pay the Mohegan back. Rather than pay Powers and his attorney filed for an appeal as well as a court order that would stop the Mohegan Sun from seizing his assets to help cover the $1.2 million debt.
But within the last couple of weeks, Powers and the Mohegan have settled outside of court in which details were not disclosed. But it sounds like everyone is glad the ordeal is done and over with. Andrew Houlding, the lawyer for the Mohegan Sun, said, “We are just pleased that it is resolved.” Powers himself is quoted as saying, “It was a chapter. It was closed. Everybody is paid, and I am really happy about it.”
Let this be a lesson to all blackjack players not to overextend themselves when it comes to playing blackjack. And when playing online blackjack, do not overload your bankroll with money that you do not have. Gambling debt is not fun.
A lot of blackjack players wonder about splitting a pair of 10’s, is it really worth it? To give credence to their question, a pair of 9’s is split in most cases. So why split a pair of 9’s and not a pair of 10’s? After all, a pair of 9’s unsplit is a hard 18, and that is more than 17, which is the hand that everyone begins to stand on.
But here is the thing with a hard 18 when compared to a hard 20: there are three hands that the dealer could either hold or hit to that would flat out beat a hard 18 while there is only one hand that the dealer can hold or hit to which would beat a hard 20. Looking at it that way, there is no way to doubt that a hard 20 is stronger than a hard 18.
That is only looking at the strength of a hard 20. To further back up the idea that it is better stand on a pair of 10’s rather than splitting them, let’s take a look at what you can win or loss when splitting or standing on a pair of 10’s.
The two best upcards to come up against with a pair of 10’s is a 7 or an 8. This is the best case scenario. Standing on that pair of 10’s will on average make you $0.77 or $0.79 per $1 wagered. Splitting that pair of 10’s against that 7 will only make you $0.25 per $1; and the 8 will cost you $0.01 per $1.
Worst case scenario your pair of 10’s comes up against a dealer’s 10 or Ace. The player will lose $0.44 or $0.34 per $1 respectively if they split the pair of 10’s. However, standing on that pair of 10’s against that dealer 10 or Ace can make the player $0.56 or $0.65 per $1 respectively.
This is why your blackjack strategy should include standing on a pair of 10’s all the time. So not only is there logic to back up standing on a pair of 10’s, there is also the amount of money you can win when standing on a pair of 10’s as opposed to either less money made or money lost when splitting. So trust me when I say you are far better off standing on a pair of 10’s.
Blackjack players in the international community have something to celebrate today: the release from Chinese police custody of Ai Weiwei. Weiwei was arrest back on April 3rd and he has been held on what blackjack players and activist and politician view as suspicious circumstances.
Once arrested he was held on economic crimes. What created all the outrage among blackjack players who knew Weiwei as a brilliant yet kind player and among the international community was that he was an artist and activist in a country that has come under fire for extreme censorship. Weiwei spoke out often against such censorship and voiced his opinions about the Chinese government, which is why many feel he was arrested.
But his detention is over and Weiwei has been released under the agreement that he pay taxes he evaded paying, not speak about his internment and to not leave Beijing for a full year unless the Chinese government gives him permission to do so.
Blackjack players who knew Weiwei or have heard of his skill at the tables in Atlantic City are just happy to have him back on the outside. Back in April the blackjack community had organized several blackjack and poker tournaments to raise money. That money was used to lobby for the release of Weiwei, to impart trade restrictions against China, the most populated country in the world.
That is how much Weiwei meant to the blackjack community, who knew him as a quiet well-mannered player who willingly gave out tips and pointers on how to improve other players’ game and blackjack strategies.
Have you ever stopped to consider how online blackjack, or just blackjack in general, got to be so popular?
The game of blackjack goes as far back as the 1700’s when it was called Vingt et Un in France. This is why it should come as no surprise that Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte played blackjack; in fact, it is has been reported that it was his favorite card game and the one he played most often. So think of it this way when you are playing out your hands of blackjack online: you and your blackjack mind are in the company of Napoleon.
So you picked up that blackjack was not always called blackjack. Vingt et Un is French for 21. This is why the game is commonly called 21, which makes sense considering that the point of the game is to beat the dealer without going over 21; 21 is the star hand in the game—it is the hand players cannot go beyond and it is the hand that awards the highest payout.
So if the name of the game is supposed to be 21, where did the name blackjack come from? The game was so popular in the 1920’s American casino scene that it was nicknamed blackjack as slang for 21. This is derived from having a hand made up of the Ace of Spades and the Jack of Spades; it was the most popular hand, and even today there are some blackjack variations that payout even more if the blackjack is made up of the Ace and Jack of Spades.
When playing blackjack, be it blackjack online or in a casino, you now have a sense of history. This is not just a casino game with really good odds and house edge; it is a casino game with a strong history and popularity.
I am sure you all recall last month when the Tropicana in Atlantic City had to pay out $5.8 million to Don Johnson. It was only one of a handful of huge blackjack wins he had that amounted to $15 million winning streak around the Atlantic City casinos.
Now another blackjack player has made it big at the Tropicana. I do not have the winner’s name as it is not the Tropicana’s policy to name who their big winners are; it is their way of protecting the winner’s privacy. However, if the winner reveals their own identity, well that is their own prerogative, like how Don Johnson revealed himself to be the winner of the $5.8 million from playing blackjack back in May.
The latest winner at the Tropicana blackjack tables won $5.3 million. Not quite a Don Johnson, but pretty close. That makes for $11 million in just around a month that the Tropicana has had to pay out to blackjack players as a result of their high stakes blackjack tables. And despite the need to hang on to and make money, the Tropicana does not look to stop offering high stakes blackjack:
“That is just how it goes sometimes; if you get more, you can win more. We have a strategy of offering the most aggressive and highest table games limits in the Atlantic City market, and we are not going to change that. If someone wants to take the shot, we will take the action,” said the Tropicana’s President and CEO, Tony Rodio.
Card counting, while not illegal, can get your thrown out of a casino. But it is quite useful when it comes to blackjack strategy. But to pull it off well you have to practice it, and even then you have to be careful when counting cards at the blackjack table so that the dealer or pit personnel are not tipped off as to what you are doing.
Typically this means keeping the spread of your wagering small, and perhaps now and then throwing in a variance in your wagering, such as betting less when you should bet more or vice versa. The point is that you would be using it as a distraction. But I heard of another distraction that was used to cover up card counting.
I heard the story of man who was playing blackjack in Vegas and counting cards. So was the other guy who was at the table with him. Naturally since they were both counting and they were the only ones at the table, they were keeping their spreads small. But then a pretty woman stumbled up to the table who appeared to know the other guy. What then ensued was the other player giving her some of his chips and inviting her to play with them. But she was a terrible and sloppy player; even if she had not been drinking it was doubtful that she would have done well.
The other player helper the woman with her blackjack playing as best he could. Then the dealer, taking pity, started to give her tips and try to help. Finally pit personnel wound up trying to give her pointers to help her. While all of this was going on the other guy and the guy who told this story had increased the spread of their wagering. As a result the other man wound up cashing out for $30,000.
This is a case of distraction at the blackjack table. The dealer and pit personnel were too focused on helping the tipsy woman with her poor blackjack playing that they did not notice the two men increasing their spreads and making more off of their card counting.
While many blackjack players will resort to some sort of distraction to keep casino staff from picking up that they are counting cards, I had not heard of such an elaborate distraction. And while some distractions work at the blackjack table, they are not meant to replace skill and practice in card counting.
Okay, I admit it, I hate when people give advice at the blackjack table. Most of the time. But most of the time when another player is giving advice to a less knowledgeable player it is usually done in a condescending or overly arrogant manner:
“You want to double down on that? Really? Well, you should not. Come on and just hit already.”
Now it could be that the aforementioned fiction less knowledgeable blackjack player is thinking to double down on a hand that he probably should not or that has better odds when refraining from doubling down and only hitting. But there is a heck of a lot nicer way to say it:
“You might not want to double down on that hand. I would not. The odds are better if you stick to hitting because that total on those two cards does not give you a good starting point for only receiving one more card. It is up to you, it is your hand, but I would not double down there.”
Sure, it takes longer to be polite and to actually explain why the less knowledgeable player why the blackjack play they are considering is not the best when it comes to odds or house edge; they might learn something about playing blackjack. But the result is that the player might actually take your advice as opposed to thinking you a rude pig.
Also rude people are thought to not actually know what they are talking about. Fewer people listen to a rude person as a result. That first player might have really been trying to help the less knowledgeable player make the right play and learn something about blackjack strategy, but being nasty does not get anyone anywhere. Especially at the blackjack table.
Dealers in blackjack have a built in advantage. There is no way around it either; it is just how the game is structured. In other words, no blackjack strategy can overcome this. And a lot of blackjack players do not always see how this built-in aspect gives the dealer a bit of an edge over the player in blackjack.
I am talking about how a dealer plays last in a round of blackjack. Do you see the advantage the dealer has? No? Well, here it is:
Players still lose even when the dealer busts.
In a round of blackjack, each player takes their turn. And if a player busts then he busts and he is out of the round. Then after everyone has played it is the dealer’s turn. We are going to say he busts in this particular round. So he loses and players who did not bust receive their payouts for beating the dealer. But the players who did bust do not get anything.
On the surface that is just how the game goes. But here is how the house benefits. When a player busts, the house gets the money regardless of whether the dealer busts or not. So no matter if the dealer wins or loses, if the player busts the money is the house’s. In other words, the house collects money for losing when the player does not collect so much as a single $1 chip if the dealer loses.
That is the long and the short of it. And it sucks to be the player because this is rule of blackjack—the dealer plays last, which allows players to bust ahead of him and the player forfeits their money if they lose. End of story. There is no strategy around this, except to not lose.
There is one aspect of the house edge that players have direct control over. I know you are thinking, what could that possibly be? After all the house has a built in advantage from playing last, which the player cannot control. And even though a player can control how they play out their hand—something the majority of casino games lack—players in blackjack cannot control what cards they are dealt. So what is left that is in the player’s hands in blackjack that they can control?
Their rate of play. Quite simply put, the rate at which plays through rounds of blackjack. If you play at a fast rate, making quick decisions and hurrying through the execution of your plays, you are playing more hands compared to someone who slows down their play, playing at a relaxing pace without all the haste.
At first you might think, ‘So what? What is the big deal? So what if I play faster than someone else?’ but think about this: the more hands you play in an hour the more money you stand to lose. Check it out.
Let’s say you are playing in a game of blackjack with a flat 2% house edge. Based on the meaning of house edge, you will lose $2 out of every $10 you play. Let’s now say you play sixty hands in an hour; you have an expected loss of $120 in an hour. You may lose it, you may not. But based on house edge, that is your expected loss.
Now let’s say you only play forty hands of blackjack in an hour. Your expected loss based on the house edge in blackjack is only $80. That is a $40 difference for slowing down each hand from one minute to one and a half minutes. A thirty second increase per hand and you will have cut your expected loss by 33%.
Slowing down you rate of play lessens your expected losses in blackjack, which does not leave as many opportunities for the house to win and take your money. Blackjack strategy tidbit for today is to slow your rate of play down.