Posts Tagged ‘blackjack’

Play Blackjack Online at

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

If you are looking for advice and want to venture away from this website, you can learn to play blackjack online at The website is dedicated to more than blackjack, with a tips and guides for other casino games, a blog, and reviews of online casinos. Still, the blackjack section is thorough and well worth a look.’s blackjack page starts out with a brief history of the game and a description of the basic rules. It lists the different blackjack games that you can find as well as how the house edge changes in the different games and by variations in the rules.

One of the most important parts of the website is the breakdown of blackjack rules and strategy. It’s not as in-depth as you will find here, but well worth a look if you want the basics. describes the difference between the blackjack variations, how the rules affect your play, and how they change the house edge.

For players new to blackjack, has a tutorial on how to setup an online blackjack game and how to play. This simple tutorial takes you through a process that is usually skipped but is beneficial to new blackjack players who have limited computer gaming experience. The tutorial takes you through how to execute the blackjack moves on the online version of the games, using Realtime Gaming software as an example.

Once you have learned the objective and rules of online blackjack, also offers tips and strategy for how to lower the house edge and have the best odds of winning. Combine that with a guide of the best online casinos to visit for blackjack games and you have a quality guide for newcomers.

Blackjack Tips: Tipping

Monday, August 15th, 2011

Today’s blackjack tip should go without saying, but sometimes these things need to be said anyway. If you are playing online blackjack at home, the only money you need to spend is on your wager. You deposit money in your account, wager with that money, and then make a withdrawal after you win all kinds of money (hopefully). That is all you need to worry about when it comes to money. Not so for playing blackjack at a brick and mortar casino.

If you visit a brick and mortar casino to play blackjack, remember that you will need to do some tipping. So who should you tip? Well, almost everyone. If you use valet parking, you need to tip the valet attendant. If you’re staying at the casino resort and a bellhop carries your bags to your hotel room, leave that person a tip. On the casino floor tips are also expected.

While you’re at the blackjack table, cocktail waitresses will come around and give you free drinks. Many people don’t tip for those free cocktails, but it is polite to do so. Leaving a small tip for the complementary drink will get the cocktail waitress on your good side, which could lead to better service. Even if it doesn’t, though, it’s polite. And that brings us to the blackjack dealer.

When you play blackjack at a casino, you should tip the dealer if you are winning money. If you lose your shirt, no one expects you to hand more money over. However, if you have a good run and make some money playing blackjack at the table, you should leave a tip with the dealer when you leave. Some players tip as they go.

Players who tip as they go can just place on the table and tell the dealer it’s for them. Another way to tip is to place a bet for the dealer. Even if the hand loses, in which case the dealer gets nothing, they usually appreciate the gesture. Tipping the dealer is not only polite, but it leads to a more friendly and helpful dealer, which make the blackjack experience more enjoyable.

Don Johnson to Compete in Blackjack Tournament

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

In an odd sort of way, Don Johnson has become a sort of celebrity in blackjack circles and outside of that. I’m not talking about the former Miami Vice actor. I mean the guy who won $15 million in one month of playing blackjack in Atlantic City. Now he is back and ready to win some more.

When a player wins as much money as Johnson has lately, they often find themselves banned from the casino. In fact, Johnson recently joked that he is probably no longer welcome in Atlantic City and will have to start playing elsewhere. However, it has been reported that he will take part in a blackjack tournament on September 2nd and 3rd at the Tropicana Casino.

The Tropicana is hoping to cash in on Johnson’s sudden celebrity. The tournament he will enter is a winner-take-all tournament with $100,000 up for grabs. The Tropicana is publicizing his presence, saying that everyone wants to meet Johnson. Tony Rodio, the president and CEO of the Tropicana Casino, said that “a lot of people will want to talk to him about his winning secrets.”

At Johnson’s request, the casino will donate $10,000 to the JBJ Soul Doundation, a charity for poor families started by Jon Bon Jovi. Johnson, who has become known as much for his partying and his spending (like buying a $25,000 bottle of champagne), is okay with his new celebrity status. Though he would rather stay under the radar, he says that “as long as I can do something good with it, I’m comfortable with” the fame.

This is a case where everyone will win. The charity will make money. Don Johnson has a chance to win more money from the casino. Other blackjack players will get to meet Johnson and pick his brain. The casino will profit off of all the players who want to meet Johnson and try to emulate his success.

Make Sure You Want the Casino Bonus

Monday, June 20th, 2011

We all love free stuff. Something is automatically good if it’s free, right? I mean, why would you ever turn down something free? The truth is, at an online casino, depending on the situation, that might be the wise move.

Online casinos use bonuses to draw in business. If you’re looking around at online casinos and you see that you can get up to $5,000 free, that entices you to join. In many cases, the bonuses are a great deal. However, that’s not always the case. Sometimes it is best to say no.

Before you accept any bonus money or opt into any promotion, you need to carefully read the terms and conditions. One caveat is that bonuses always have wagering requirements. A while ago, casinos added those to stop people from taking advantage of the bonuses by taking the money without playing at the casino. Now you have to wager all bonus and deposit money a specified number of times before you can make a withdrawal. If you play there a lot, it might not matter what the wagering requirement is. However, if you don’t play often, you might be better off opting out of a bonus that you have to wager a large number of times. Otherwise, it could take a long time before you can cash out your winnings.

Another common stipulation is for a bonus to only count toward certain games. If you are a blackjack player, you don’t want to accept a bonus for slots. Unless you’re going to play some online slots, it’s a waste of money.

The important thing to remember is that while the bonuses are there for your benefit, they aren’t necessarily good for everyone in every situation. Read all of the terms and conditions before taking money from any website, including an online casino.

On Those Casino Pit Bosses

Friday, June 17th, 2011

If you have spent much time in a casino, you’ve seen the pit bosses walking around, keeping an eye on things. Even if you’re doing nothing wrong, you might find them intimidating. The truth is, though, those pit bosses and other personnel are there to help you as much as help the casino.

Casino management is very concerned with protecting the integrity of the casino. They want every game to be on the up and up so customers can have a good time and no one gets ripped off. For that reason, everyone is monitored. I do mean everyone. All of the players are being watched by someone, even if it’s just the “eye in the sky.” Most people already knew that. What they might not know is that each employee is being watched as well.

If you’re playing blackjack, that blackjack dealer is being monitored. The pit boss or other personnel are looking for a number of things. They are checking to make sure the dealer isn’t sloppy with the cards, which could expose their hole card or result in them dealing the wrong card. They are also making sure the dealer doesn’t cheat to help certain players.

The casino doesn’t want you to cheat the dealer, for obvious reasons, but they also don’t want the dealer to cheat you, whether intentionally or unintentionally. After all, if a casino develops a reputation for cheating players, it won’t last long. Of course, if you’re counting cards, the dealer, pit boss and everyone else is also looking out for that.

Is the blackjack dealer on your side?

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

People have different opinions about casinos. Some people think they are an opponent who is greedy and just wants to take their money. Some people think they are a benevolent company that wants to cater to you and keep you happy. The truth is, a casino is a little bit of both. Knowing that can help you play blackjack.

There are not very many business models where the customer is also a competitor. You can say that carnival games are kind of the same. You can even make the same case for insurance companies, who sell you risk, hoping that you don’t cash in. For the most part, though, it’s a unique type of business.

The casino wants to keep you happy, so they will show you around, give you comps, and treat you like an important guest. They also want you to lose when playing on the casino floor, but not lose so much money that you get discouraged and don’t return. It’s a fine line that they tread.

All of that comes into play when it comes to how you view the blackjack dealer. Is he your friend who is on your side or is he an enemy combatant? In blackjack, you are directly competing against the dealer, but does that mean you can’t trust him? Well, sort of.

The blackjack dealer isn’t going to lie to you. A lying dealer will develop a bad reputation with players, which will hurt the casino’s reputation. Therefore, if you ask them a question, they’ll give you the truth. A lot of newer players will ask them for advice. “Hmm, I don’t know. Do you think I should hit?” If you aren’t sure, you can ask and the dealer will give you an honest answer based on basic strategy. Again, there’s too much risk in the dealer being caught lying.

However, that does not mean that any move the dealer offers is a good one. If the dealer’s upcard is an ace, he will ask if you want insurance. That does not mean he is recommending it as good strategy. It is usually bad strategy to take insurance, because the house edge is higher than in the regular game. The same goes for any other blackjack side bet. Just because the dealer offers it doesn’t mean it is good strategy. For that reason, it is very important to know basic strategy so you can tell good advice from a suggestion aimed at helping the casino.

Blackjack Spending Limits

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

Right now, the United States Congress is involved in a bitter debate over raising the debt ceiling. Generally speaking, Democrats want the limit raised and Republicans say “what’s the point of a debt limit if you raise the limit every time you approach it?” Since this isn’t a political blog, I won’t go into American fiscal policy, but it is important to have a good grasp of your own fiscal policies.

When you play blackjack or any casino game, it is important to have a spending limit. Before you ever begin playing, you need to create a budget. Know how much money you can afford to lose. Then take that number or a lower number and make that your ceiling. You hope to not lose that much money (you hope to not lose money at all), but at the very least you have set a limit to where you won’t spend more money than that.

It is important to set a firm limit, a concrete number, instead of having a general idea because in the heat of the moment, it’s easy to disregard finances if you don’t have a concrete limit. If you’re having fun and just know that you’re about to go on a roll and win your money back, it can be hard to walk away from the tables. If you established a spending limit ahead of time, though, it’s much easier to quit when you should.

Make no mistake. Wagering on blackjack is spending. Unlike other spending, you have a chance to earn your money back, and then some. Still, it is spending because there is no guarantee that you will recoup the money you wagered. In fact, the odds say you will lose more money than you win over time. For that reason, budgeting a limit ahead of time is a must.

Streaky Blackjack

Friday, May 20th, 2011

There is a fallacy out there that casino games of chance are streaky and games of skill are not. Because you can use skill to affect the outcome, they reason, hot and cold streaks don’t come into play. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Let me put it this way: streaks actually play more of a part in blackjack than in slots.

There, I said it. In slots, people will sometimes get on a hot or cold streak, but their odds stay exactly the same. The random number generator determines what happens on each spin and each spin is independent of the next. Because of that, your odds are exactly the same if you have won the last 5 spins or lost the last 5. Even with the odds not changing, though, there are streaks.

Now let’s look at blackjack. The odds aren’t the same each time a card is dealt. That’s because you’re dealing with a finite deck. No matter how many decks are used, unless it is shuffled after each card is drawn (as is sometimes the case online), the deck is finite. That means if you draw a card, there is zero chance that card is still in the deck. Therefore, every time someone at the table, including the dealer, draws a card, it alters the odds. In the long run, your odds are the same, but in the short run they vary drastically.

Because of that, streaks happen in blackjack and the game is more prone to them than slots are. If you are counting cards, that’s especially true. When that deck is rich in tens, you could very well get hot. That’s how people walk away from blackjack tables with big wins, such as the guy who took the Tropicana Casino for almost $6 million.

Blackjack is a game with a low house edge. If you stick to basic strategy, you can reduce the house advantage to only 0.5%. Even so, hot and cold streaks will happen. Knowing that will help you deal with them.

Should I play single deck blackjack games?

Friday, May 6th, 2011

If you’re relatively new to blackjack, you might be overwhelmed by the different options that are available in casinos. There are different rule variations, different payouts and a different number of decks. Most Vegas casinos use six or eight decks, but you will sometimes find blackjack tables with a single deck. So should you play at those tables?

Probably not. You see, fewer decks tilts the odds slightly toward the player. The tilt is greater if you are counting cards, because it makes it easier to keep track of the cards that have been played. If a casino offers a rule variation, it’s usually not out of the kindness of their heart so they can give you more money. It’s simply a way to get more people playing. Therefore, if they have a variation that lowers their house edge, they usually change some other rule to compensate for that.

When it comes to single-deck games, the casino usually changes the payout for a natural blackjack. In normal games, a natural blackjack – an ace and ten in your first two cards – pays out 3:2. For single-deck games, the payout for a natural blackjack is usually 6:5. That’s a big difference.

To show how much of a change it is, let’s use an example of betting $10 per hand for an hour. On average, if you played blackjack continuously for one hour, you would play 100 hands. Statistically speaking, if you play a single-deck game that pays 3:2 for a blackjack, you will lose $1.80 in one hour of play. Not bad. However, if the single-deck game pays 6:5 for a blackjack, you will lose $14 in an hour. Big difference, right?

That is why it’s so important to know the odds of the different blackjack games and know how the number of decks and the payouts affect the odds. Playing at a casino has bad enough odds as it is; don’t help the casino out by playing games that don’t have the best odds for you.

IN Supreme Court rules against card counters

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

You probably remember the case from 2006 when the Grand Victoria Casino banned Thomas Donovan because he was caught counting cards. Donovan took the case to court, suing over what he said was discrimination against players practicing a legal strategy. Eventually the case made its way to the Indiana state Supreme Court. Last week, that court made a ruling in the case that favors the state’s casinos.

Last week, in a 3-1 ruling with one justice abstaining from the case, the Indiana Supreme Court upheld a casino’s right to ban card counters from its blackjack tables. As the casino’s supporters – and even me – pointed out, businesses have a common-law right to exclude customers who they feel are detrimental to their business. The Court agreed with that assessment, stating that as long as civil rights are not violated, business (including casinos) have the right to refuse service whenever they deem it necessary.

Justice Frank Sullivan, Jr. wrote that the right of exclusion for “private property owners” includes any casino “that wishes to exclude a patron for employing strategies designed to give the patron a statistical advantage over the casino.”

Not everyone agreed, though. The lone dissenting vote was by Justice Brent Dickson. He feels that casinos, because they’re so highly regulated by the government, do not have the same rights and privileges as other private businesses. In essence, he argues that casinos should have to follow the rules of government or government-sponsored enterprises, which requires them to serve the “general public.”

In Dickson’s dissenting vote, he wrote that allowing a casino to “restrict its patrons only to those customers who lack the skill and ability to play such games well intrudes upon the principles of fair and equal competition and provides unfair financial advantages” to the casinos.

Though the ruling has no direct impact on anyone outside of Indiana, it carries a message that I have been preaching to all blackjack players for some time: If you’re going to count cards, don’t get caught! The casinos frown upon it and will likely ban you. In the state of Indiana, that practice of banning has been upheld as constitutional. Meanwhile, adhering to blackjack basic strategy does not have to be a secret. You can even hold a strategy card while you play if you want.