September 22nd, 2010 |
A surrender is an advanced Blackjack technique that allows the player to cut their losses during a losing hand. When used in the proper manner, this tactic can work to the players advantage and increase their average return on investment thus decreasing the overall house edge. The move is simple: after all cards are distributed and the dealer has checked for a natural Blackjack, the player can “surrender” their hand and fold there cards immediately which results in a loss of only half their wager.
There are specific instances where it is better for the player to discard their hand and take a loss of only half their wager upfront rather than losing it all by playing through. There are four specific situations that warrant a surrender by the player. These include:
- Single deck with the dealer staying on a soft 17
- Single deck with the dealer hitting on a soft 17
- Multiple decks with the dealer staying on a soft 17
- Multiple decks with the dealer hitting on a soft 17
The first situation is when the player has been dealt 16 and the dealer has a ten value card or an ace, it is in the player’s best interest to surrender. With 15 or less, it is more beneficial to attempt to improve the hand. With a hand of 17 or more, the player should stay with the hopes of the dealer busting.
With the second instance, this situation is a stronger position for the dealer so the player should surrender more frequently. With hand values of 15, 16 or 17 the player should surrender when the dealer also has an ace. Also, it is proper to fold with a 16 and the dealer has a ten value card. Additionally, the player is to surrender with a pair of sevens when the dealer has a ten value card or an ace.
The third situation occurs when the player has a hand that equates to 15 and the dealer has a hand of 16 containing a ten value card, 9 or an ace. The player should also fold if the dealer has a hand with a ten value card. It is improper for the player to fold with a pair of sevens.
The final instance is the most common reason for surrender. This is when the player has a hand equaling 15 with the dealer showing a ten value card or ace; when the player has 16 and the dealer has 9, ten value or an ace or when player has 17 and the dealer’s cards contain an ace. Additionally, it is correct to surrender with a pair of eights against an ace.
This strategy has been adopted due to the results of millions of simulated hands and is successful more often than not. If you want to elevate your game to increase your maximum return, then it is imperative to learn this strategy.
September 14th, 2010 |
Microgaming Software offers a unique variant of Blackjack called Double Exposure Blackjack at their online casinos. The primary difference from standard Blackjack is the dealer’s pocket cards are dealt face up, hence the name Double Exposure. This gives the player a huge advantage.
Changes in the Rules
As a result of this advantage, the casino has changed a few of the rules to level the playing field. First, natural Blackjack pays even money. Second, the dealer wins all ties except for tied Blackjack hands which the player wins. This is another fantastic advantage for the player. Third, the dealer must hit on all soft 17’s.
The first cards are dealt to the player then one face up to the dealer. The second cards are distributed to the players then another face up to the dealer. Players can then take action by hitting or staying. Some casinos allow the player to split or double up, others do not.
The Best Strategy
The optimal strategy for Double Exposure Blackjack has been formulated from millions of computer simulated hands. Unfortunately, this strategy is difficult to learn and extremely complication. Therefore, it is imperative to use the strategy card provided by Microgaming which can be accessed in expert mode. Simply click the Expert button at the bottom of the toolbar.
Using the Strategy Card
Each time the player needs to make a move, they should note their hand total as well as the dealer’s hand total and click the Strategy button. The card is extremely large being two pages of information. One column identifies the dealer’s hand totals from 4 to 20 and 12 to 17. Rows display the player’s hand totals from 5 to 20 and 13 to 20 with the last row identifying pairs dealt to the player.
Based on the cards dealt, the player must choose the appropriate row and column then use the strategy associated to that particular hand. The instruction are color-coded with yellow indicating STAND, red means HIT, green is SPLIT and blue is DOUBLE-DOWN.
This is a time consuming process so Microgaming has implemented an auto-play feature which plays the hand for the user based on the strategy card. Since the computer will move much faster than the player can process the action at the table, there is a timer setting to slow down the speed of the decisions. Microgaming has created yet another fun and exciting game in which the house edge is extremely low.
August 26th, 2010 |
There are 16 cards in a standard 52-card deck including tens, jacks, queens and kings. As a result, any player has a 31 percent chance of being dealt one of these cards. On the other hand, all other cards only have less than an 8 percent chance of being dealt. Therefore, this emphasizes the significance of hand value 10 in the game of Blackjack.
Due to this high chance of receiving one of these 16 cards, a strategy can be formulated. The following simple strategy is not as good as analyzing and utilizing data from computer simulations to formulate strategies. However, this helps the player understand the significance of value 10 cards in Blackjack and can assist with creating a solid strategy for when the value 10 card is not present.
There are only two options for this simple strategy. These include:
All other situations can be added later to create a much more complicated strategy but we will focus on the simple approach for the time being. This strategy is based on the postulation that the next card distributed to either the player or dealer will be of 10 value. Since almost one-third of all cards hold a value of 10 in the game of Blackjack, this is a reasonable hypothesis. If your total hand value equals 11 or less, then you must hit as exceeding 21 is impossible, even with a 10.
If your hand value from the first two cards equals 12 or more, the best action to take is stay. Since 31 percent of all cards are valued at 10, it is likely you may bust. However, this is based on the dealer’s face-up card. If between 2 and 6, it is likely they will have to draw another card. Chances are the hand is a 12 or 16 which means the dealer must draw. If the card is a 10, the dealer will bust and you win.
If the dealer’s card is between 7 and 11, with a 10 face-down they could have 17 to 21. Therefore, it is pointless to stay on a 12 to 16. It is best to take the chance and hit for one additional card. If the hand is 17 or higher, it is competitive and best to stay.
For committed Blackjack players, using this strategy can be an improvement in edge for the player by up to 1 percent. This may seem little, but in the long-run it is quite a significant advantage.
July 29th, 2010 |
It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact time and location a card game was invented. Although there are varying theories, some general ideas are commonly agreed upon based on written accounts in various texts. Blackjack is one of many games with a murky past.
In the Beginning…
It’s commonly agreed upon that Blackjack was invented sometime in 17th century France under the name Vingt et Un or 21. The name Blackjack originated from the black suit of spades of ace and jack. The game has evolved since Vingt et Un as there are some minor differences. In Vingt et Un, the player bets after each round and the dealer is permitted to double down. The objective of both games is to have a total equaling 21.
Migration to North America
Following the French Revolution, Blackjack migrated to the United States due to the lack of gambling laws. France had many gaming laws during that time period. This made it easy for players to hop on a ship and gamble. During the 19th century, betting games like Blackjack were completely outlawed in the United States as a method of decreasing crime.
During this time, Blackjack was played in secret underground clubs away from the watchful eye of the law. Throughout the 1920’s, the punishment and enforcement of the gaming laws become more stringent. In 1931 Las Vegas opened its legal casinos with droves of gamblers flocking to the city.
Development of Strategy
As this game progressed, numerous individuals studied the game to further develop strategies and tips. In 1953 Roger Baldwin and several associates began to test different theories and tactics. Three years later they published a strategy manual based on their findings to help limit the house edge.
Although this manual helped many players, they lacked the technology to further investigate. Building on these strategies, Edward Thorp developed an improved statistical model (now known as the card counting theory) which was published in 1962. This proved to be the most defining moment in Blackjack history and made the New York Times best seller list.
Casinos dispelled players from their property if found to be utilizing this theory. It also resulted in many changes including the method of shuffling. Luckily for the casino operators, the book was difficult to read due to the mathematics and statistical theories that the common player isn’t aware of.
The most profitable strategy gurus were Ken Ulston and the MIT Blackjack Group. Ulston took over $300,000 from Nevada casinos by placing a mini-computer in his shoe to calculate various odds. The MIT Blackjack Group won several million dollars in the 1990’s and were later banned from Las Vegas in 1997. Blackjack has a long and rocky history with players using questionable strategies like card counting.
February 3rd, 2010 |
Slots and roulette are games of chance. Blackjack is a game of math. In the long run, playing blackjack solely on hunches and gut feelings will not help you win. If you’re superstitious and like to make your bets based on superstitions, then blackjack is not the game for you.
Find the Right Table
The first thing you want to do is find the right table. Scout out several tables before you choose one. Watch a few hands at each table and pay close attention to the rapport of the dealer and the players. If there are heavily intoxicated players at a particular table, then move on. Intoxicated players can be both distracting and annoying and will, undoubtedly, take away from your enjoyment of the game. You want to have fun, but your ultimate goal is to win some money. If you are surrounded by drunk players it will most certainly lead to a lack of concentration on your part.
Crowded tables can make for an exciting atmosphere, but they can also be uncomfortable. Of course, you don’t want to sit at a table with no players, but you don’t want to be elbow-to-elbow with a throng of other players either. Again, an overly-crowded table can easily break your concentration.
If a table has a lot of slow/novice players it will limit the amount of money you can win per hour. Conversely, if players are slow it can also limit the amount of money you can lose in an hour because you’ll be placing wagers at a slower pace. Lastly, hostile dealers should be avoided. Much like the intoxicated players, an unfriendly dealer can break your concentration in addition to creating an unpleasant atmosphere.
Manage Your Money Wisely
The strategy of playing blackjack differs greatly from that of slots or roulette, but the principles of managing your bankroll do not. Don’t bet over your head, bet with it. Some experts recommend using the 1/20 rule. This simply means to never go to a table with a bet size that’s more than 1/20 of your bankroll. Obviously, if you don’t have a large bankroll or are playing to kill a couple of hours, you’ll want to find the tables with the lowest minimum bet. On the other hand, if you have a sizable bankroll and are looking to win some money and move on to the next game, you’ll want to go to a high-limits table. Many low-to-mid sized casinos will offer lower minimum bets that the higher-end casinos do not. Just about every casino will offer free drinks to blackjack players, just be sure to tip your waitresses.