What is Real and Imaginary in Blackjack? Part V

Hello again. Are there more blackjack “rules?” Yes, there are more blackjack rules! But you wanted to know, yes? Yes. Then we’ll continue.

  • You’re a cheater if you see the dealer’s hole card and don’t say a word.

– No, you aren’t a cheater so rest easy. You did nothing wrong. The dealer did. Seriously. This isn’t writing off a heck of a tip-off on how to play. If a dealer is sloppy it’s the casino’s fault for hiring a sloppy dealer, or the dealer’s fault for not being more cautious. You have no effect on the dealer at all (this includes the magical third base chair too). Remember, no effect.

If you want to think that real luck is involved with blackjack, then this is it. Seeing the dealer’s hole card because of their mistake is a lucky break for you. Otherwise there is no luck in blackjack. There’s chance in how the cards are dealt, but not luck. The only luck is when the dealer messes up. And it’s the casino’s responsibility to run herd on their dealers, not yours.

  • You are a cheater if you accept a winning blackjack bet that you actually lost.

– Again, no, you’re not a cheater. This one also falls under “Dealer Sloppiness.” It’s the dealer’s responsibility to pay attention to whether you won or he won. If you didn’t and he gives you the payout anyway, you again, have done nothing wrong. You didn’t tell the dealer to pay you when you didn’t win. For whatever reason, the dealer is paying you anyway despite losing that round of blackjack. You do not run herd on the dealers, the casino does. And  a dealer who can’t pay attention enough to payout only when he is supposed to won’t be a dealer for long.

Now. Whether you accept the payout or not is up to you. This one isn’t like seeing the dealer’s hole card; once you see it, you can’t un-see it. A payout you didn’t win may be accidentally awarded to you, but you don’t have to take it. This one depends on your ethics. If you’re are comfortable in your heart by taking it, then take it—it was the dealer and casino’s mistake. If you aren’t comfortable with taking the payout, speak up, tell the dealer that, hey, he made a mistake. There is nothing that says you have to take the wrongly given payout. Accepting it is up to you and your ethics and your conscience.

  • Progressive betting systems will overcome the house edge.

– No. No, no, no. This one has nothing to do with the dealer or casino either. This one is all you. No, there isn’t a progressive betting system that will overcome the house edge in blackjack. It’s true that you might win more, but you can also lose more too.

Other than basic strategy and card counting, there isn’t a system that will change the odds. Progressive betting can cause small fluctuations in your bankroll but that’s about it. With an unlimited bankroll on their side, casinos don’t think twice about system players—other than card counters, they really don’t like them. The problem with a progressive betting system is that once you think you’ve found one that works, greed will rear it’s ugly head. You will think your system is unbeatable. Math will catch up with you and you will lose and lose big. And that’s how casinos have an unlimited bankroll.

You can’t overcome the house edge in blackjack. The best you can do is whittle it away to give you the best odds. Do so with basic strategy and card counting—but don’t get caught counting cards!

What is Real and Imaginary in Blackjack? Part III

And welcome back for Round 3. I’m going to hope that you are still adding to your blackjack knowledge. Like I said last time, you can never know too much when it comes to a mental game. You want to build your strategy, add to it, as it can help you as a player. You want to beat the dealer, yes? Then let’s continue, shall we?

  • If you have blackjack and are faced with a dealer who is showing an ace, take even money.

-Don’t take even money. Even if you push you will still end up with more money over the long haul than if you were to take even money. This is yet another way for the casinos to, at the last moment, try to raise their edge just a bit. They do this because if you take even money, in the long run they won’t have to pay you as much. If you are holding a blackjack do not fear a dealer with an ace. A dealer with an ace is the casino’s buffer against you earning the money that you should in blackjack. Remember—do not give in to even money if you have a blackjack.

  • A dealer has a 10 and you have a 16: to hit or not to hit?

– Not to hit. Actually what you should do here, if the option is available to you, is surrender. I know no one likes to surrender in blackjack. It feels like you failed somehow. Not so. Think of it as saving yourself. True you aren’t going to be winning any money, but you aren’t losing all of it. If you didn’t surrender and lost, there went all of your bet. But if you surrender, you can at least recover half of your bet, which is better than losing it all in my opinion. If surrender isn’t available, look at what your 16 is made of. If it’s three or more cards or is the result of splitting a pair, then stand. Otherwise hit.

  • It matters what seat you are sitting in at a blackjack table.

– Really? And I’m going to put a rabbit’s foot in my pocket, wear my lucky socks and turn around in a clockwise circle three times. I understand that each of us have our own little superstitions, but really, now. No, it does not matter what seat you are sitting in. There isn’t one chair that’s better than the others, or luckier or unluckier. All chairs have the same odds. It’s the player who is sitting in the chair that makes it lucky or unlucky. If you’re sitting next to a guy who keeps saying that his place at the table is unlucky and causing him to lose, watch him. Chances are he’s just not a skilled player. Blackjack is a mental game, a game of skill. Practice your blackjack strategy. The more you practice the better of a player you will become. Leave the seats for someone else to worry about.

Keep an eye out for: What is Real and Imaginary in Blackjack? Part IV

What is Real and Imaginary in Blackjack? Part II

Welcome back for Round 2. I hope you’ve given my last post’s “rules” some thoughts and started incorporating that information into your playing Blackjack strategies. And if not that, then at least tucked it back in your mind for later use. You never know when you’ll be at a table or online and something in the back of your mind will help you beat the dealer. I’m still looking for ways to expand my blackjack knowledge—you can never have too much knowledge, especially in a game where you can change the odds, bring the house’s edge down. It’s a mental game, use your knowledge. That being said, let’s move on.

  • The only way to be a good card counter is to be a genius.

– Nope. Nowhere near true. You do not need to be a genius to count cards in blackjack. That’s what the casinos want you to believe though. Yes, I know I made that sound something like a conspiracy. What it comes down to is the casinos know that any blackjack player who counts cards will have a better chance at winning. And casinos lose money when players win. So they would have you believe that you must posses Einstein-ian intellect in order to count cards. All you really need, at least to start out, is a basic system, such as a Hi-Lo counting system, and the patience to learn it and practice it.

  • Checking your basic strategy card is legal when playing blackjack.

– Now this is true. And not only is it true, but I recommend it. If you are new to blackjack then I highly highly advise it. A casino will not stop you from playing if you choose to have a basic strategy chart with you. It takes awhile have memorized with confidence the entire chart. Do yourself a favor and take a chart with you. If you want to try to play without it, keep it handy in a pocket or a handbag.

  • Losing five hands mine you will win the sixth.

– I’m laughing. Yes, I am. This is most defiantly not true. There is nothing in the blackjack universe that dictates that if you lose five hands, or any number of hands for that matter, you will win the next. Never has a mathematical study shown any such evidence. But I do wonder, why six hands? I’ve heard of lucky seven, and that for some thirteen is lucky rather than unlucky. But six? Never heard of six being associated with luck.

Keep an eye out for: What is Real and Imaginary in Blackjack? Part III

What is Real and Imaginary in Blackjack? Part I

Everyone comes across “rules” when learning to play blackjack. And if not when learning, then certainly when you get to a table. These aren’t rules you’ll find in a blackjack how-to. These are the “rules” that everyone knows and abides by. …Interesting enough that thought. But, really, what is real and what is imaginary when it comes to these “rules?” It’s important to learn what should be taken into consideration in one’s total blackjack strategy, and what should just be ignored.

Let’s look at the following “rules” shall we?

  • If one player misplays his or her hand, then he or she will cause everyone at the table to lose.

-Really. Honestly. Are we really that superstitious? This “rule” is not only very not true, it is also funny to me that someone would believe this. Firstly, we’re all human and we all make mistakes. It does not matter how the people around you are playing. If the guy next to you hits when he should have said stand, well that’s his mistake and it does not effect you. Just make sure you follow basic strategy, and not make the same mistakes.

  • Only idiots will split a pair of 8s when the dealer has a 10 and an Ace.

-No. And if you do split a pair 8s in that instance then pat yourself on the back, okay, maybe not right there at the table where everyone can see you, do it in your head though. Think about it. To not split is to not try. If you stand with a pair of 8s your total is set at 16. If you split and take more cards you have two hands to play and the possibility of getting cards that will a least tie you with the dealer rather than sealing your fate at 16.

  • In a casino with a 6:5 payout, the house edge can be offset by playing at a table with only a single deck used.

-Nope, not true. A 6:5 payout is bad news no matter how many decks are being used or not used. A 6:5 payout puts the house edge at 1.4%. A single deck doesn’t even come close to offsetting this. This is just a sneaky way for a casino to rope in unwise players and take their money. True, we will all lose money when playing, but why throw it away? If you wish to play at a 6:5 table then you might as well offer your money up to the alter of stupid gambling—which is decorated with fritzy neon lights, by the way.

Keep an eye out for: What is Real and Imaginary in Blackjack? Part II

House Rules to Avoid Part IV: The Payout That Really Isn’t Much of a Payout

If there is one thing that will make me turn my back on blackjack game, it’s a bad payout. This goes back to the idea of playing blackjack for money. Of course I want to win. But since you can’t win every single blackjack game, I don’t want to lose any more money than I have to. And you don’t either. That’s why regardless of rules, there are some tables or online blackjack games I will not play. A table or online blackjack game could have they best combination or rules possible and I will still walk away. The reason behind this? The pay out.

Most blackjack games have a payout of 3-2, which is fine. I’ll take that if I’m dealt a natural. I’ll even take double my bet if I win. But that’s with a 3-2 payout. The payout I’ll walk away from is the 6-5 payout. That alone costs a player 1.4%. And I’m not willing to pay that.

Unfortunately for all of us blackjack players, it’s becoming more popular in Las Vegas for casinos to have single deck games…but they come with a 6-5 payout. You might find it here and there online, but if you are a land-based casino player, beware.

Here’s what the breakdown is;

Let’s say you’re at a $20 table with 3-2 payout. If you win with a blackjack you’ll be paid $30. That’s fine. That’s a $10 gain every time you win with a blackjack.

Now let’s say you’re at one of these new games. It’s another $20 table but the payout is 6-5 this time. If you win with a blackjack you’re only going to be paid $24 instead of $30. And that’s only a gain of $4.

Perhaps that doesn’t seem like a lot. Let’s do some more math. Let’s say you play sixty hands in an hour. This particular night you are exceedingly lucky and are dealt blackjack every single hand. Yes, I know, that will never happen. You’ll get kicked out of the casino before the hour half way over. But for this scenario, you’ve just won sixty hands of blackjack in an hour. If you were playing at a $20 table with a 3-2 payout, you’ve been paid $1800 over the course of the hour; that’s a gain of $600. If you made the mistake of playing at 6-5 table, you will have received $1440 in payouts, which is a gain of $240. Which is the better payout?

House Rules to Look Out for Part III: Restrictions on Splitting

Splitting is fantastic. We like splitting pairs. And we love resplitting. For one thing is increases our chance at winning. But it also reduces the house’s edge, and who doesn’t love that? Unfortunately for us not all casinos, both land-based and online, don’t feel the same way that we do about splitting pairs in blackjack.

Whenever you aren’t allowed to double down on a split a pair it hurts you by a tenth of a percent. It also hurts you when you can’t resplit by another tenth of a percent. Add that to the normal half of a percent house edge in blackjack. Not a good number is it?

If you draw a pair you want to be able to split it and increase your chances of winning. And if you can find a blackjack game that will let you resplit pairs, pull up a seat, especially if they will let you double down when splitting. I’d sit at that table or play that table online. If you’re a game that will allow you to resplit aces, you just gained 0.08 on the house. So if you find a game of blackjack that allows for resplitting aces, that’s a game you want.

Don’t allow the house to prevent you from increasing your chance to win at blackjack. Avoid games that won’t let you resplit or double down after splitting. You want to look at for blackjack games that will give you a chance at increasing your odds if you’re a skilled enough player to do so.

Keep an Eye Out For: House Rules to Avoid Part IV: The Payout That Really Isn’t Much of a Payout

Blackjack Strategy They Don’t Tell You in Books

Chances are, when you were learning to play Blackjack, you read about it in a book or two, and probably online as well. What did you read about? You were given the rules, how the table is set up, the progression of play, and strategies. Focus on that one for a moment. What Blackjack strategies were you given? Basic strategy and card counting; in most places it was also explained to you how those two effected your betting strategy. And then you’re ready to play yes?

Maybe.

Mostly yes, but there might be one more thing to consider.

What about your opponents? True, you’ve read that in Blackjack it’s you versus the dealer, and it’s also the other players against the dealer. But they aren’t against you are they? They can’t be, I mean why would someone play the dealer one on one if the other players were necessary? And everything you’ve read about Blackjack says that it’s player versus the dealer. Not quite.

Let’s go back to the beginning, to what playing Blackjack is about. It’s not only about enjoying yourself and having fun. It’s about winning, about making money. And every single person who is sitting at that table with you or who is playing Blackjack online with you is intent on winning too. So, yes, Blackjack is player versus player.

Your Blackjack strategy for this is to watch your opponents. Look to see if someone is showing signs of excitement, giving away that they have a good hand, maybe even Blackjack. I can here you saying that this is beginning to sound more like Poker. Don’t worry, it’s not, it’s still Blackjack.

Blackjack isn’t anymore complicated than before. The point of watching your opponents is to try to gauge whether they have a good hand or a not so good hand. Say you see that guy who’s cheek just twitched with a bit of a smile, and you caught it. Chances are he’s got a good hand. And maybe your hand is so-so. Don’t bet as much.

As for your Blackjack strategy think of it in this order. Count the cards, remember what’s out on the table, what’s in your hand, and what has yet to be played. Hit or stand based on what basic strategy dictates. Watch your opponents to see if they give away any clues as to the type of hands they have. Taking all of those Blackjack strategies into mind, make your bets accordingly.