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Subject: User Review: For gamblers only rss

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Donald Wilbur III
United States
Sacramento
California
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Blackjack is a simple gambling card game where one or more players play against the dealer. It is perhaps the only game played in Casinos where the player can actually get an edge over the house by using deeper strategies (counting cards). This sort of behavior can get you thrown out or worse in the wrong places so be careful!

It basically works like this:
0) All player place their bets.
1) Dealer deals two cards face down to each player and one card face up and one card face down for the house (in some Casinos the house doesn't get it's last card until the players have played their hands). If the dealer's face up card is an ace they players may, in most houses buy insurance (this is usually not worth it).
2) If the dealers cards add up to 21, the dealer wins and everybody else loses their bet. (If a player has a natural 21 they tie and their bet stays on the table for the next round).
(Aces count 1 or 11, face cards count 10, and pip cards count their face value)
3) If the dealer doesn't win immediately than the player have their turns.
4) Otherwise the player has the choice of asking for additional cards one at a time. If they go over 21 they lose their bet automatically. If not they may keep their hand with any total from 4 to 21 in hopes of beating the house.
4a) If the player has a pair in their first two cards they may split these two cards into two hands by making an additional bet. This is generally only a good idea for aces or eights.
4b) Doubling down: if this rule is allowed, a player may double their bet before taking exactly one extra card.
5) The dealer must take additional cards if the house hand shows 16 or less the dealer must take another card. If the dealer has 17 or more the dealer must not take any cards. (In some Casinos the dealer must take a card on a hand that could be counted as either 7 or 17 - called a "soft 17".
6) If the dealer goes over 21 ("busts") then all the player that did not also bust win their bets. If the dealer did not get a natural 21 (in their first 2 cards) than any player that did get a natural 21 collects 3 to 2 ($3 for a $2 bet, $15 for a $10 bet, etc.)
Otherwise each player compares their hand with the dealer. If they have a higher total than the dealer they win their bet. If they have a lower total, they lose. If they have the same (eg. both have 17) then they leave their bet on the table for the next round (push).

That's it in a nutshell. There are some other rules (surrender, etc.) that are allowed in some Casinos and not others.

If you play this game without counting cards you are giving the house a small percentage edge. If you count cards you can give yourself a very small edge. In either case it takes hundreds or even thousands of hands for the difference to really show. So you might win or lose big on any given night due to the pure luck of the cards.

If you do count cards, remember that the Casinos don't like this. If they think you're doing it they will often ask you to play another game or leave. At some Casinos you take your life into your hands if you ignore this "advice". Another thing they will do to reduce the value of counting is play with many decks and shuffle frequently. Sticking to smaller Casinos (outside Vegas and Atlantic City) probably improves your chances to count successfully.

If you like to gamble this might be a good choice for you. There are dozen's of sites on line and lots of books with more detailed strategy advice both for counters and non-counters.

If you don't like to gamble you will find this game pretty boring. There's not much strategy involved and the replay value is practically nil.

Ah Blackjack, 5 minutes to learn, a life's savings to master.
 
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shumyum
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I agree the game has low replay value, but it's still the most interesting game you can find at a casino except poker or possibly sports betting. Craps has slightly better odds (assuming you aren't counting cards), but it isn't nearly as interesting (although it has plenty of tension) and you can lose your money a lot faster on dice. My point is that if a gamer finds himself in a casino and poker isn't an option, blackjack is his best bet.
 
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Scott Clinton
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I just taught my 8-year old to play this last weekend. I had forgotten how cool "21" was when I was a kid (that is what we called it). I think as an "intro to card games" or "intro to gambling card games" you can't do any better than Blackjack.

GG
 
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J Knoerzer
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Using basic hit/stand/double down strategy you can find anywhere on the web your chances of winning any one balckjack hand against standard casino rules is just above 50%. No card counting is needed to employee this strategy. It was created by a math professor in the late 70s early 80s. I sorry I couldn't find his name. Blackjack if played by this strategy is by far the best odds in vegas.
 
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フィル
Australia
Ashfield
NSW
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Basic strategy shown below (click to expand):

 
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John Foley
United States
Salem
Oregon
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hobbes_inc wrote:
Using basic hit/stand/double down strategy you can find anywhere on the web your chances of winning any one balckjack hand against standard casino rules is just above 50%. No card counting is needed to employee this strategy. It was created by a math professor in the late 70s early 80s. I sorry I couldn't find his name. Blackjack if played by this strategy is by far the best odds in vegas.


Everything I've ever read says that the house has the advantage in Blackjack - unless you can sucessfully count cards.

I think the odds-bets in craps (which pay true odds) are the only even bet in a casino, and you have to make a line bet (which favors the house) before you can place an odds-bet.

Common sense says that there is no game in a casino that does not favor the house. Casinos make money by playing the averages, and if they allowed a game where the player has the advantage, they would lose money at it over the long haul. That's why they frown on card counting so much - it can take away the house edge.

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Thanks for the review Donald. Just a couple of nitpicky little issues...

* The notion that casinos don't like card counters is from the 70's and 80's. Most major casinos now have classes to teach you not only betting and playing strategy but a 5-count or even 10-count strategy. This is pure marketing and it works. Why? Because using any strategy in a casino, particularly one requiring a high degree of discipline and keen attention to detail (such as a 10-count) is beyond 99.9% of the visitors. People gamble for fun and drinks and the action.

* As as been observed, you actually have a fraction of a percentage edge IF you employ the basic strategy over a large number of hands.

I spent 14 months doing nothing but playing 21 when I lived in Vegas and won a fair amount of money during that time. It was gruelling, dry, boring, grinding work and it cured me of ever wanting to be a professional gambler. But, what I did discover was that a combination of basic strategy, card counting (usually a full + - system) and a severe money management/betting system allowed me to win more money than I imagined possible from the casinos. And yes, in those days (the 70's) I did get escorted out of several casinos.

Nowadays, I play a little 21 for fun when I'm in a casino and walk away when I sense I've won all I will or will continue to lose more than I'm willing to.
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Bill Gallagher
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Torrance
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Basic strategy cuts the house advantage over you to about 0.5% given the rules most common nowadays (six decks, dealer hits soft 17, no surrender or double down after splitting). With optimal rules (dealer stays on all 17s, double down after splitting, and surrender), you're about even in a single-deck game.

Remember that the dealer's big advantage is that if you go over 21, you lose, even if the dealer subsequently busts.

Yeah, you can find a few single deck or double deck games. However, many of those offer only 6:5 for a player blackjack (instead of the standard 3:2).

One little-known change to basic strategy that applies only to the single deck game: STAY on 7-7 against a 10 (hit other 14s).

Card counting can give you an advantage if you vary your bet based on the cards remaining in the deck (using a simple analogy, bet more when the deck has more 10s and aces, and less when it has more small cards than expected). The advantage card counting gives without varying the bet isn't enough to give you an advantage over the house, especially with a six-deck shoe that gets shuffled when there's less than about 70 cards left. I've seen casinos that reshuffle cards continously (to "speed up the game" by eliminating interruptions to shuffle new shoes). I suspect this causes fits among card counters.

Spanish 21 is a variant found in a few casinos. It's slightly worse for the player than standard blackjack (automatic player win on 21 and double after splits/hits is more than offset by having 25% fewer blackjacks thanks to there being no 10-spots in the deck).
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JayMF wrote:
hobbes_inc wrote:
Using basic hit/stand/double down strategy you can find anywhere on the web your chances of winning any one balckjack hand against standard casino rules is just above 50%. No card counting is needed to employee this strategy. It was created by a math professor in the late 70s early 80s. I sorry I couldn't find his name. Blackjack if played by this strategy is by far the best odds in vegas.


Everything I've ever read says that the house has the advantage in Blackjack - unless you can sucessfully count cards.

I think the odds-bets in craps (which pay true odds) are the only even bet in a casino, and you have to make a line bet (which favors the house) before you can place an odds-bet.

Common sense says that there is no game in a casino that does not favor the house. Casinos make money by playing the averages, and if they allowed a game where the player has the advantage, they would lose money at it over the long haul. That's why they frown on card counting so much - it can take away the house edge.


I agree with John Foley's views on the casino will not lose money. However, many ordinary people are playing blackjack. They can use knacks to enjoy the game such as basic hit/stand/double down strategy .
 
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ye jianfei
China
Guam
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I think blackjack is very exciting. Many yang people must like it for its speedly gambling. You'd better not paly it for money but is good for fun.
 
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