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

Which Denomination to Play

Here’s the casinos’ Modus operandi: Move ‘em in, move ‘em out, move in more. In other words, what’s the fastest way possible to bring them in and take their money in order to bring in more?

I’m sure in wandering through a casino or while trolling online casinos for a blackjack game, you’ve seen that the minimum bet varies from table to table, virtual or not. Which is the best one to play at?

I know that a higher stakes table has the potential to give you a better payout. Let’s look at the payouts between a $100 table a $10 table. If you win with a blackjack at the first table, you’re payout is $300; at the latter table, the same win would give you a payout of $30. So those blackjack players who are looking to make money would think that the table to play is the $100 table.

No.

And no especially if you’re just beginning to play.

The reasoning behind this is simple: You don’t win every time. Seems obvious, but once you’re caught up in the razzle dazzle of a casino—traditional or online—you will think that nothing can stop you from winning. You’re going make it big. You’re going to walk out with a ton of money. And that’s exactly how a casino wants you to think. Because when you’re thinking that and you walk up to that $100 or $200 table, you just made your first mistake.

Casinos, online or land-based, make their money when players lose. If you’re a novice at playing blackjack you will want to start out small. Since you’re just getting used to the game and are still learning, you’re more likely to lose simply by making beginner mistakes. Casinos will bank on you and you will lose a good chunk, if not all, of your money by sitting down at a higher stakes table. By starting out at a smaller table, like the $10 tables, you stand a better chance of hanging on to your money. Sure, you won’t have as much of a gain in the beginning, but you won’t lose your money as fast.

Move up to higher stakes tables once you know your basic strategy and you’re winning on a fairly consistent basis. In other words when you feel confident, not because of bright lights and sounds, but because you know you’re a good blackjack player. Start small. It’s real easy to gamble away the $700 you brought with you at higher stakes tables than at small stakes tables.

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

Good Blackjack Strategy

What makes for a good Blackjack strategy?

Basic strategy is a good place to start, but is it enough to win?

Realistically, you’re going to need a combination of basic strategy and card counting. Initially you need to be comfortable enough with basic strategy so as not to need to constantly reference a chart—that’s that first thing for an effective blackjack game. Once you’ve got that down, throw a little card counting into your blackjack strategy.

No, that doesn’t mean memorizing the whole deck and the odds of a single deck versus multiple decks. Although you certainly can learn and employ a card counting strategy and, with enough practice, increase the power of your overall Blackjack strategy. Honestly, when you’re first beginning to play, that’s a lot of math and numbers to keep straight on top of remembering which basic strategy option to use for which card combinations. Keep the card counting portion of your strategy simple when first beginning to play Balckjack . This plays into your betting strategy as well

You know you want ten cards and aces. Think of how many tens and aces are in play based on how many decks your playing with. How many have already played? And how many are left? If there’s not a lot of tens and aces left keep your bets down. If you there’s still a decent amount left then your chances of receiving one is better, so raise your bet. That’s how to use simplistic card counting to guide your Blackjack betting strategy.

So at this point your Blackjack strategy is comprised of having the basic strategy charts memorized and using simple card counting to influence your betting strategy. This makes for a good Blackjack strategy for the average player. Keeping those in mind should help decrease the house’s favor, which should increase your chances of winning.