The Lowdown on Double Exposure Blackjack

December 9th, 2009  |  Published in Inrodution

On the surface, double exposure blackjack seems just like the traditional version played in casinos around the world.  However, this is not the case.  The unique aspect of this variant is that both of the dealer’s cards are dealt face up, hence the name “double exposure.”

Double exposure gives the players instant access to twice as much information as the original variation, and this information that can be used to compose a winning strategy.  By having the luxury to see exactly what the dealer is working with, the player can make better decisions on whether they should stand, hit, double down, split, or surrender their bet.

While the structure of double exposure blackjack gives the player an obvious advantage over the house, other rules have been implemented to make sure that this advantage is tempered.

The Rules of Double Exposure Blackjack

Double exposure is played with eight standard decks of playing cards.  The player is allowed to double down on hands of 9, 10, and 11, while the dealer is required to hit on a soft 17.  As the player, you can also split up to three times and double down afterwards.  Split aces, however, can only receive one additional card.

Of course, the most noteworthy change to the traditional rules is that the both of the dealer’s cards are exposed.  Therefore, it is only practical that the house shift the balance so neither side has too much of an advantage over the other.

One of the rules in double exposure blackjack that benefits the house the most is that the dealer automatically wins on all ties.  The one exception is a tied blackjack, which would be won by the player.  The other is the rule stating that a player pays out at even money, rather than the standard 3 to 2.

From the player’s perspective, these are major disadvantages that could make double exposure blackjack very undesirable.  Be that is it may, these are rules you simply have to live with if you want the benefit of being able to see the dealer’s cards.

Double Exposure Strategy

The object of double exposure is the same as all blackjack variants – beat the dealer by assembling a hand as close to 21 as possible without going over.  However, the strategy the player must employ to accomplish this is quite different than other versions.  Applying a sound strategy does not have to be a difficult thing.  In fact, the dealer’s exposed second card will often reveal exactly what the player needs to do to secure a victory.

For example, let’s say the total value of your hand is 18.  In this scenario, traditional strategy would call for you to play it safe and automatically stand.   On the other hand, in double exposure, if you have 18 and see that the dealer has you beat with 19, then the most logical strategy would be to take a hit.  At this point, you have nothing to lose, and there is always the possibility of drawing the cards you need to hit 21 and win.

Here is another good strategy you may want to employ.  Let’s assume your hand value is 12 and you see that the dealer initially draws a 9 on their first card.  In this scenario, traditional strategy would encourage you to hit.  However, if you notice that dealer’s next card is 4, which would give them a total of 13, you know that the dealer must take more hits and increase their risk of going over.  This would be a good time to stand your ground and play it safe.

Strategy Tables

Because they only reveal the dealer’s face up card across the top of the chart, strategy tables designed for traditional blackjack are essentially useless when it comes to double exposure.   Fortunately, strategy charts specifically made for this unique variation of the game are widely available online.  If you want to try your hand at double exposure, finding these charts and making use of them would be worth your while.  A good strategy table could be the difference maker you need to come out a winner.

Conclusion

Double Exposure blackjack is a major hit in online casinos.  However, it is still frequently played offline, especially in Las Vegas casinos, where the variant first appeared.  If you have been seeking a game that offers something far beyond traditional blackjack, double exposure could be the thrill ride you’re after.

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Introduction to Red Dog

December 5th, 2009  |  Published in Inrodution

Sometimes called Red Dog Poker, Red Dog is a fun card game that is becoming increasingly popular in online casinos.  This is true despite the fact that its popularity in land-based casinos has declined over the years.

Red Dog Poker is played on a blackjack-sized table with a standard 52-deck of playing cards.  It can actually be played with up to eight decks of cards and the house edge decreases with each deck.  For example, the house edge with one deck is 3.155%, but drops to 2.751% when playing with the full eight.  This is unlike blackjack and other card games in which the higher the deck, the greater the house edge.

If Red Dog is foreign to you, do not worry because the game is very simple to play and can be learned fairly quickly.  In fact, if you can remember the number “seven” and know simple subtraction, you can play this game just about as well as anyone else.

How to Play Red Dog Poker

The game of Red Dog is played with three cards, and a player’s hand is ranked as it would be in traditional poker.  Aces are high and suits are irrelevant.  Bets are made and then two cards are dealt face up.  When the game begins, there are essentially three possible outcomes:

If the cards are in sequential order, such as a two and three, or a queen and king, the hand is considered a push and no winner is produced.  When this is the case, the player gets their original wager back.

If the two cards have an equal value, the players receive a third card.  If the third card is of equal value, the player is paid out at 11 to 1.  If not, the hand results in a push.

For example, should the cards be a value of two and seven, then a spread is announced to determine the payout, and a third card is dealt.  A player can choose to double their wager before receiving a third card.  If the value of the third card falls somewhere between the first two, the player is then paid out according to the spread.  If not, their wager is lost.

Red Dog Payout

Opening bets in winning Red Dog hands are always paid out at even money.  Raise bets are paid according to the spread, which is structured as follows:

Spread    Payout

1-card     5 to 1

2-card     4 to 1

3-card     2 to 1

4-11-card  1 to 1

The odds are set by house and based on the simple principle of the narrower the spread, the higher the potential payout.

Object of the Game

In the game of Red Dog, players make an opening bet and receive two cards from the dealer.  The object of the game is wagering on the probability that the rank of a third card will fall between the first two.  If the third card falls between them, the player wins.  If not, they lose.

Of course the players have the option to raise the bet, and this is where the spread factors in.  The spread is simply the number of card values between the first two cards.   Cards from 2 to 10 have face value, while a jack as valued at 11, a queen at 12, king at 13, and aces at 14.  The spread is the most intriguing aspect of Red Dog.  It is essentially an optional bonus wager that allows the player to go after an additional payout.

Red Dog Strategy

Even when eight decks of cards are used, Red Dog does not offer the favorable odds in comparison to other casino games.  In fact, this is purely a game of chance that requires little strategy to be employed.  Perhaps the most important factor to keep in mind is that a player should only raise when the spread is statistically in their favor, which is seven or more cards regardless of the number of decks.

With a “spread 7,” seven cards will give the player a winning hand.  Because there are a total of 13 cards from the two to ace, only six cards would cause the players to lose.  This is about the only edge a player has to work with.

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Progressive Jackpots: The More You Pay, the More They Play

December 3rd, 2009  |  Published in Inrodution

Progressive jackpot games have become extremely popular in recent times.  You may wonder; what are they?  In simple terms, a progressive jackpot is a jackpot for a game such as slots, whereby the value of the payout increases by a certain amount each time the game is played.

Networks of casinos are often involved in progressive jackpots, with each of their players contributing to the jackpot.  So, while they are all competing from the same jackpot, different players from different casinos increase the value of the jackpot each time they play.

Progressive Jackpot System

In most cases, progressive jackpots for online casino games have a certain value that can only be won with a combination of the highest payout.  This could be getting a payline of four cherries in a row with a slots game, or a Royal Flush on a video poker machine.

Once somebody hits, the progressive game is reset to a predetermined minimum and builds back up all over again.  The major difference with these jackpots is that each time a game is played in a participating casino, the final payout increases by a certain amount.  Therefore, rather than playing to win a $1,000 or even $5,000 at a regular game, you play to win a considerably larger sum that gets bigger with each bet.

The house determines the amount the progressive jackpot reaches and will often contribute to it because these games attract such a large number of players.  In other words, some casinos are willing to limit their potential profits initially since they could end up making more by attracting so many players.

While these games are appealing for obvious reasons, there are strict qualifications for securing the jackpot.  The most common is being required to play the highest amount in order to be eligible for the big payout.

Qualifying for a Progressive Jackpot

In most instances, a progressive jackpot can only be won by playing the maximum credit, which means all players are making the maximum contribution to the game.  Therefore, a game that requires more credits to be played will usually progress faster than one that calls for less.

If one game requires 10 credits and another only requires five, most players tend go for the latter, believing that is presents less risks.  Some players would prefer to play with only three credits, but feel that an additional five isn’t a significant increase in risk.

Taking the low road is definitely worth it when considering that there is a real possibility of winning a tremendous jackpot.  It is important to know what it takes to qualify because if the game requires 10 credits and you are playing five, then you are really doing nothing but contributing to the jackpot despite the fact that you will never be eligible to actually win it.

The Progressive Advantage

The advantage of progressive jackpot games is pretty obvious.  By participating, you have the opportunity to win a huge sum of money, should you qualify and strike the winning combination.  While you have to bet more money than is required in typical casino games, the more players who join in, the greater the reward for one lucky person.

Should the lucky player be you, the extra money you wagered to play will be more than worth it.  In addition, different casinos have different payout procedures, and thus different credit requirements.  Therefore, it is advisable to look into different casinos to learn more about what each progressive jackpot has to offer.  You just may find one with credit requirements that fall in line with your bankroll.

Conclusion

When it comes down to it, choosing to play progressive jackpot games over their normal counterparts is ultimately a matter of preference.  The truth is that the odds are pretty much the same and you could end up a loser in either scenario.  And while there are rules that can improve your chances of winning, most of these are actually prohibited and shady at best.

Any casino offering a progressive jackpot that allows team-play or other unbelievable advantages is one you should probably stay away from.  In the end, progressive games carry the same, and sometimes even more risks than others.  It is simply a more exciting form of gambling with a greater reward should lady luck be riding on your side.

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Introduction to Pai Gow Poker

November 27th, 2009  |  Published in Inrodution

The traditional game of Pai Gow that originated in Asia was played with tile pieces now referred to as Chinese dominoes.  Pai Gow poker is an American version played with a standard 52 -deck of playing cards in which the rankings of the hands are based on traditional poker.

Today, Pai Gow Poker is one of the many variations of poker widely played online and in live rooms around the world.

Pai Gow Poker Rules

As we mentioned, Pai Gow poker is played with a standard 52-deck of cards.  What we did not mention is that there is one joker added to the deck.  The joker can either be used as an ace or a wild card.  The wild can be used to make up a straight, flush, or straight flush.

Pai Gow can be played with up to six players and the banker, who the players are competing against.  While the casino typically acts as the banker, players have the opportunity to bank if they choose to.  This would require that there be enough money to cover all player bets at the table.

If the casino is acting as the banker, the dealer must abide by the “House Way,” which essentially means that the dealer must set their hand according to house rules.  If you are confused or unsure of how to play, you can ask the dealer.  They will use the House Way to show you how the house would play your hand.

Playing Pai Gow Poker

The players make their bet and receive seven cards each.  The goal of the game to assemble two hands: a standard five-card poker hand and a two-card hand.  The five-card hand is often referred to as the high, big or behind hand, while the two-card hand is called the small, big, or in front hand.

When a player forms a hand from the seven cards, the five-card hand must be higher than its two-card counterpart.  For example, if you receive two aces, a three, five, seven a ten and Jack and cannot assemble a flush out of it, you must use the pair of aces with your five-card hand.  Should the player make a mistake, and their two-card hand happens to be higher, a “foul” is called and the player automatically loses.  If both of the player’s hand beat the banker’s two hands, they win.  However, if only one hand beats the banker and the other loses, then a push results and no winner is produced.

If a player’s hand, however, has the exact same value as the banker’s then a copy results, which is simply a tie in which the banker wins.  Obviously, if the banker has two hands that beat of the player’s hands, then the player loses.

Pai Gow Poker Fees

All casinos have fees for playing Pai Gow Poker.  This could either be a fee that must actually be paid to play each hand, or a giving the house 5% of your earnings with each win.  In either scenario, these fees allow the casino to earn money on each hand played as the time required to play each round of Pai Gow Poker can take away from their profit margin.

Co-Banker

The co-banker is essentially the same as the banker.  The exception is that the casino pays 50% of the winnings and the player acting as the banker must arrange their hand according to the House Way.

Pai Gow

In Pai Gow poker, “Pai Gow” is a hand that consists of no pairs.  An example would be a two-hand consisting of a queen and nine, or a five-card hand consisting of a king, seven, eight, six and four.  If a player gets a Pai Gow, the results are often bad.  On the other hand, when the dealer gets Pai Gow, the table is often cheerful as most players will have winning hands.

Conclusion

Pai Gow poker is simple to learn and can provide hours of exciting play on a fairly small bankroll.  It makes an ideal poker variant for laid back players and even the thrifty gambler.  If you have wore out the No Limit tables and Draw Poker has become stale, give Pai Gow a try.  We think you will agree that it is a nice change of pace.

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Discover the Types of Online Poker Tournaments

November 26th, 2009  |  Published in Inrodution

Poker has emerged to become one of the most popular casino games in the world.  While there are several variants available, many agree that the most exciting atmosphere is experienced in the intense tournament environment.

When it comes to online poker tournaments, interested players have a vast selection to choose from.  These versions offer numerous advantages over their live counterparts.  For one, they can be played in the comfort of your own home, sparing you the expense of driving to a crowded casino.  Tournaments online also draw considerably more players, which means there are bigger prize pools up for grabs.

Perhaps the best thing about poker tournaments is that they are running every single minute in popular poker rooms all throughout the web.  There are many types of online poker tournaments, and we have listed just a few of the many options available to you.

Multi-Table Tournaments

Most online poker tournaments are of the multi-table variety.  With these variations, all players begin the game with a predetermined amount of chips.  Players are eliminated from the table as winning hands progress.  While the number of players at each table is reduced, the remaining players are rotated to keep the tables active.  This keeps up until the last few players find themselves battling it out at the final poker table.

There are also multi-table tournaments constructed in a shootout format where players remain at their tables until only one as left.  The winners at their respective tables then battle it out amongst themselves.

Satellite Tournaments

Satellite tournaments are very popular because they give you the opportunity to win your way into a bigger online tournament without paying the full entry fee.  Thus, instead of receiving cash, your prize is entry into another tournament, one where an even bigger purse is on the line.  Satellites are not only good for buying your way into online poker tournaments, but also winning seats for poplar live tournaments such as those hosted by the WPT or WSOP.

Most of these tournaments conclude after a certain number of players are left, and the remaining players gain entry to whatever event is on the line.  Therefore, the goal isn’t always to stack up the most chips, but to outlast the number of players determined by the tournament rules.

Rebuy Tournaments

Rebuy tournaments are very much like multi-table online poker tournaments.  There is however, one major difference.  These tournaments give you the opportunity to rebuy more chips at the table before the hand begins, which could give you a tremendous advantage over players who do not take up on this option.

Furthermore, any time you fall below a certain number of chips, you have the option to rebuy up to your initial starting stack.  You often see a lot of loose and sloppy play in the early stages of rebuy tournaments.  This is attributed to the fact that because players know they can rebuy, they are often a lot more daring.

Free-Roll Tournaments

These online tournaments make a great way for the novice player to gain experience without risking any real money.  Hence the name, they are free to enter but often pay the winners and top finishers in cash.  Because they are free, these tournaments are commonly compromised of thousands of inexperienced and bad players.  For this reason, free to roll tournaments usually are not attractive to experienced players.  However, they could be worth trying simply because there is the possibility of winning a cash price without having to pay anything to enter.

Tips for Online Tournament Play

When playing any online poker tournament, it is important to keep in mind that you must truly be on top of your game if you expect to come out a winner.  You have to remember that many of your opponents will be seasoned professional players who enter these tournaments to earn a living.  Therefore, you need to be very cautious of type of tournament you decide to enter.

If you are a beginner, you may want to consider participating in smaller tournament and then working your way up as you gain experience.  Once you get the hang of things, it could be you who wins a big online poker tournament and takes home an even bigger prize.

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