Posts Tagged ‘random number generator’

Shuffle Tracking Online

Monday, April 26th, 2010

A lot of blackjack players use shuffle tracking in addition to card counting in order to gain an advantage when playing at a brick and mortar casino. Shuffle trackers look for slugs, which are an unshuffled group of cards, tack them throughout the deck, and alter their bets when the dealer gets to those slugs, since they will know what cards are coming.

However, neither card counting nor shuffle tracking works when playing online blackjack. The reason for that is simple: There is no real deck. Sometimes the online blackjack games will show a deck on screen and other times they won’t and you will only see the cards in play. Even if you see a deck on screen, though, it’s impossible to track cards in the deck because the deck you see is only a representation and not a real deck. Also, the cards that are dealt are randomized by a computer program called a random number generator rather than an actual shuffle.

The random number generator can be set different ways. Sometimes it has the effect of shuffling a deck every few hands and sometimes after every hand. Sometimes the online casinos tell you when the deck is being shuffled while other times they don’t. Whatever the case, counting cards and shuffle tracking are impossible when playing online blackjack.

In fact, no strategy that players have devised to gain an advantage at blackjack will work at an online casino. All of the techniques are thwarted by the technology. Instead, the best you can do is play with perfect basic strategy and lower the house edge to 0.5%.

Random Number Generators

Friday, February 12th, 2010

One of the ways in which online blackjack is different from playing at a brick and mortar casino is how the cards are dealt. In a brick and mortar casino, there is a croupier at the table who deals the cards to each player and shuffles the cards by hand, or using a shoe or other shuffling device. That shuffling ensures the randomness of the cards so everyone has an equal chance of winning.

With online casinos, there is no dealer and, technically speaking, there are no cards. There are only digital representations of cards that are given to you and the dealer. Instead of the decks being shuffled, the randomness is guaranteed by a computer program called a random number generator, sometimes called RNG for short.

A random number generator uses a complex algorithm to determine the outcome of which cards you are dealt. Simply put, the RNG produces a set of numbers hundreds of times every second, including when the game isn’t being played. Each set of numbers corresponds to a certain card. When you press the button to take a card determines what card you are dealt. Whatever number is selected by the RNG at that exact microsecond determines your card. The same goes for the dealer. Therefore, you can never accuse someone else of taking your card, because it would not have been your card.

The random number generator makes the card you are dealt impossible to predict, including by counting cards. When blackjack is played using a deck or multiple decks of cards, card counters can determine how likely they are to receive a 10-value card based on how many of those cards have been dealt already. With online blackjack, however, predicting your cards by counting them is impossible, because the RNG essentially acts as if the deck is being shuffled before every card is dealt.

So if you’re trying to count cards online, stop. It does no good. Instead, accept the fact that you can’t predict what card you or the dealer will be dealt (including the dealer’s hole card) and stick to blackjack basic strategy, which can reduce the house edge to 0.5%.

How Cards Are Dealt in Blackjack

Friday, February 12th, 2010

Blackjack is a game of minor variations. Sometimes the dealer hits a soft 17 while other times they stand. Some tables let you double again after splitting while others don’t. Some allow you to resplit while others don’t. There are variations in just about every phase of the game, just to make sure you never think you know everything about blackjack.

One of the variations that is most noticeable is how the cards are dealt. Sometimes, the dealer holds the decks in his hands and shuffles by hand, while at other times a shoe is used. Virtual blackjack and online blackjack games use a random number generator to determine what cards you receive instead of having a dealer.

In hand-held blackjack, the dealer holds and shuffles the cards by hand. These games usually only use one or two decks. The fewer decks there are, the more it favors the players, especially any players who count cards. Therefore, Las Vegas casinos usually don’t have hand-held games.

In shoe games, the dealer uses a rectangular holder called a shoe. The shoe sits on the table and automatically gives the next card to the dealer when the dealer presses a button. Some shoes automatically shuffle the cards, while at other times the dealer uses a separate shuffling machine and then places the pre-shuffled cards in the shoe. Shoe games use 4 to 8 decks, usually an even number. Because of the larger number of decks, shoe games are more difficult for card counting.

Some casinos and pari-mutuels offer virtual blackjack, which is a game where the players sit in front of a video screen and are “dealt” cards electronically by a dealer. Instead of being shuffled, these cards are selected by a computer program called a random number generator. The same process is used for online blackjack. With both virtual blackjack and online blackjack, it is impossible for you to count cards, because the random  number generator has the same effect as shuffling the deck after each card is dealt.

Online Blackjack vs. Casino Blackjack

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

Blackjack fans didn’t use to have a lot of choices. If you didn’t live close to a casino and didn’t have the means to travel to a casino often, then most of the time you played blackjack with your friends at home, with one of you serving as the dealer. The problem is, friendly games of blackjack has never been as fun as poker. Add to that the complications of wagering (wouldn’t everyone want to be the dealer?) and it is just too problematic. Luckily, these days we have online blackjack. To people new to online gambling, though, they may not know how the online version of the game differs from playing it in a casino.

The main difference comes from the fact that you’re playing against a computer instead of a croupier. This means several things. First of all, it means you can take your time. Though I’ve never witnessed a dealer being rude in any way, some people feel rushed when the dealer turns to them and asks them to make a decision. It can be stressful for some. Should I hit or stand? Stop rushing me! Let me think! When playing online, there is no croupier and there is no one else standing at the table next to you, so you can take all the time in the world to make a decision and no one will care. If you want to, you can even look at a basic strategy chart while you play and consult it before every decision. Since there’s no time limit and no one will look at you funny for needing a chart, there’s nothing to stop you.

The other major difference is how the cards are dealt. In a casino, the croupier shuffles the decks and gives out the cards to each person. A card counter can gain an advantage by counting the number of high and low cards. This is more difficult the more decks there are in play, which the player can determine by looking at the shoe, asking the dealer or by looking on the table. However, though card counting with multiple decks in a casino may be difficult, it is impossible online.

Let me say it again so I’m clear: Card counting online does not work. That is because online, the cards you’re dealt aren’t confided to a certain number of decks. The decks don’t really exist, but if they did, they would be unlimited. You see, with online blackjack, the cards that you are dealt are determined by a computer program called a random number generator.

The random number generator uses a complex algorithm to select a series of numbers hundreds of times every second. Each set of numbers corresponds to a certain outcome, such as which card your are dealt. Because a new sequence of numbers is chosen hundreds of times per second, what card you receive is determined by when you lick the “hit” button. Clicking a microsecond earlier or later changes what card you receive. With casino play, the next card is the next card; it is sitting there in the shoe waiting to be dealt. Because card counting doesn’t work with online blackjack, basic strategy is the best you can do. For that reason, the odds are a little worse online, at least for those people who count cards.

Aside from that, the game is basically the same online. That atmosphere is different than actually being on a casino floor and the graphics may be different, but the gameplay is still the same. So if you don’t live near a casino and still want to play blackjack, visit an online casino. Just don’t try counting cards.