10 Surprising Facts about Blackjack

While you’ve likely tried your hand at blackjack, how much do you really know about this incredibly popular casino table game? Here are 10 surprising facts about blackjack!

1. Blackjack is Highly Rewarding

Most casino games have a house edge which cannot be easily overcome, but this is where blackjack differs. Card counting, while tricky to master, is just one of the ways to beat the house edge of the casino when playing blackjack.

2. The House Edge of Blackjack is Below 1%

The house edge is defined as the average amount you’re expected to lose per bet, but in blackjack the house edge is less than 1% provided you’re playing in a game with a few decks and the standard 3 to 2 payout for blackjack.

3. Card Counting Works

Card counting is a proven system of beating the house edge in blackjack and while it is frowned upon at land based casinos, it’s not actually illegal. Owing to the effectiveness of this system, there is plenty of information on learning the method.

4. Your Decisions Matter in Blackjack

While the majority of casino games are based on chance, blackjack (and poker of course) is one of the few casino games where the decisions you make affect the outcome and your chances of winning.

5. Blackjack is One of the Oldest Casino Games

The first known mention of blackjack is in Miguel de Cervantes’ novel Don Quixote which dates back to the 17th century – much older than online pokies Australia! The decks of cards used aren’t like we know them today, but the goal of the game is to get to 21 without going over.

6. Aim to Beat the Dealer

While the goal is 21 without going bust, the truth is that you should focus more of your attention on beating the dealer. As long as you have a higher number than the dealer, without going over 21, you’ll be successful.

7. Blackjack is the Most Popular Casino Table Game

Blackjack, craps, and roulette are 3 of the most popular casino table games worldwide, but blackjack is arguably the most popular of all owing to the necessary use of strategy which is an attractive aspect to players.

8. Video Blackjack Offers Less Desirable Odds

While video poker is a great alternative to slots, video blackjack is not a great alternative to table blackjack as it offers far less desirable odds than the original.

9. Side Bets in Blackjack Offer Less Desirable Odds

While the insurance side bet in blackjack may seem like an attractive prospect, the house edge on this bet is close to 7%! Considering that your standard house edge is closer to 1%, side bets quickly become less attractive.

10. Other Players Can’t Affect Your Chances

The fact of the matter is that other players cannot affect your chances of winning when playing blackjack. You’re playing the dealer, not the other players and their mistakes cannot affect you, so there is no need to alter your blackjack strategy.

4 Celebrity Blackjack Players

Blackjack is one of the most popular card games, played online and in land-based casinos throughout the world. While some tout it as the card game for mathematicians, intellectuals and those who are drawn to the allure of beating the house, blackjack is really a card game that anyone can play!

It’s not just card savants, maths geniuses and mere mortals that enjoy playing Bingo for money and other such games that are attracted to the adrenalin-pumping action of blackjack. Celebrities who have cash to burn are well known for seeking out different avenues to turn their money into thrill-inducing experiences.

So it comes as little surprise that there are a host of famous celebrities who seek out the exhilaration that one can only find at the blackjack table. Listed below are four celebrities from the world of film and sports that can’t resist the appeal of blackjack:

1. Matt Damon

It was during his time doing research for the film Rounders that Matt Damon first became interested in the fast-paced and high stakes world of blackjack. His best friend Ben Affleck (featured next on the list) may have had something to do with his fascination with the game and he has since become a notable player around the blackjack table.

These bosom buddies are regular fixtures at high stakes blackjack tables in Las Vegas and Atlantic City casinos. One of their more infamous gambling escapades occurred at a Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Florida where the duo raked in close to a million dollars in a single night.

While there’s no denying that Matt Damon has picked up some tips from Ben Affleck, the Good Will Hunting star has continued to up his game and is rumoured to have gambled using Bitcoin which is said to have made him a fair bit of profit.

2. Ben Affleck

Ben Affleck’s love for high stakes casino card games is no secret. The Academy Award-winning actor is known for his poker prowess, showing his skill in 2004 when he won the California Poker Championship. However, it is Affleck’s love for blackjack that has drawn the most attention from the public, especially when he’s teamed up with close friend, Matt Damon.

It was reported that Ben Affleck was kicked off the blackjack tables at The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino when he started winning too much (a reported $95,000 in a single sitting). The star later admitted that he had dedicated a massive amount of time learning card counting and expert blackjack strategy.

3. Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods was the most prolific professional golfer of his generation before a very public fall from grace due to his personal affairs. His prowess extends off the golf course and he is known to enjoy high stakes blackjack games at the Bellagio and MGM Grand Resort where he enjoys VIP treatment and credit rumoured to hover around the $4 million mark.

4. Dana White

UFC president, Dana White has been quite vocal about his love for high stakes blackjack.

He has been reported bragging to the media to have won as much as $5 million playing blackjack, an amount which he says requires him to bring his own trash bags to carry his winnings out the door.

The Best Blackjack Players of All Time

Blackjack certainly isn’t the most difficult casino game to learn and you’ll likely find success by just following the rules, but these legendary blackjack players weren’t satisfied with the idea of a ‘likely win’ and aimed to master the game instead. These players honed their skills to such a degree that they became professional blackjack players and have gone down in history as runaway successes. Here’s how they did it.

Bryce Carlson

Bryce Carlson started playing blackjack in the 1970s and became a professional player by exchanging tips with other legendary players. Not only was he a professional player, but he also authored a book entitled Blackjack for Blood in order to help others master the game and developed the Omega II Blackjack Machine and later the Omega II Blackjack Casino in order to help him analyse the game to improve his play.

Edward O. Thorp

Edward O. Thorp isn’t only a legendary blackjack player, but also a professor of mathematics and a hedge fund manager. In his constant pursuit of mastering blackjack, Thorp developed his own card counting technique which allowed him to keep track of the cards played in order to determine the cards remaining.

Thorp then took his knowledge to the masses by authoring a book entitled Beat the Dealer.

Arnold Snyder

In a classic rags-to-riches tale, Arnold Snyder so longed to become a professional blackjack player that he studied an incredible variety of publications on mastering the game.

Snyder trained by playing low stakes blackjack – though not through online betting – and developed a technique which combined card counting and shuffling style in order to gain an advantage over the house. His first book, The Blackjack Formula, set his career as a casino game author and he has written several books since.

Russ Hamilton

Russ Hamilton’s initial interest in casino games began with poker, but he switched his focus to blackjack upon moving to Las Vegas. It’s here that he teamed up with other professional blackjack players in order to play in tournaments.

After introducing a tournament called ‘Elimination Blackjack’, Hamilton’s popularity grew and the tournament transitioned to become the ‘Ultimate Blackjack Tour’ which was televised on national television for 2 seasons.

Don Johnson

Most well-known for winning $15 million at 3 Atlantic City casinos over 6 months, Don Johnson had a legendary hand which started off the winning streak. On a $100,000 bet, Johnson received two 8s which he split and then received a further set of 8s which he split once again.

The dealer then dealt 3 twice and 2 twice and Johnson doubled down on each hand. The dealer held 2 cards totalling 15 and finally drew a 10 setting Johnson on a 6 month winning streak.

Ken Uston

Ken Uston was introduced to card counting by Al Francesco after a chance meeting at a party and he became an incredibly successful professional blackjack player.

Using his skills as a mathematic strategist, Uston was a notorious card counter and author of several books on card counting and beating the house edge.

Mobile Blackjack Guide

Blackjack, the famous card game that has been a staple of just about every casino to have ever existed, has changed the gambling world in more ways than we can imagine.

It proved that slots doesn’t need to be the top of the pile of gamers, and that a card game can become an international phenomenon.

Today, blackjack is available in just about every format imaginable, from a small table game at the local casino, to an online tournament with thousands of other participants.One of the forms of blackjack that has really been blowing up in recent years is mobile blackjack. Being able to play your favourite game from the convenience of your smart device is popular, and it’s not difficult to see why.

Today’s smart phones and tablets can do just about anything we need them to. From chatting with friends, managing emails, even checking what’s going on in Australian sports betting, the latest flagship Samsung or iPhone can do it all a hundred times over.

It makes sense, then, that one of the largest gaming industries in the world would make one of their most versatile games available for players on the go, in the form of mobile blackjack.

The Benefits of Mobile Blackjack

One of the biggest advantages of having a mobile version of something is that it’s available to us no matter where we are.

As long as we have battery life and an Internet connection, we can enjoy our favourite pastimes, often without even getting out of bed. This is one of the greatest benefits of having blackjack on your smart device.

Mobile blackjack is also often the most advanced version, even if it’s found on other platforms.

Having been designed for the touch screen, and having all the benefits of the desktop version plus a few extras, it makes sense to have at least one mobile version on your phone.

Mobile blackjack also often allows for in game pausing, live text chat among other competitors, and the ability to deposit and withdraw money on the fly.

Playing Mobile Blackjack

There are two main versions of mobile blackjack. The first is a dedicated application that is downloaded on to your device of choice.

This is a custom-build platform and is designed to work on a touch screen, meaning that everything is laid out for a touch environment, making it much easier to work.

These kinds of versions will also often come with direct links to the main casino, and will include access to your account, as well as various banking methods.

The second comes in the form of simply loading up the blackjack site on your phone. The size of the site will automatically adjust to the size of your screen, allowing you full use of the game no matter what device you use.

While apps are becoming more popular each year, size-adjusting games still carry their weight in the industry, and can be easily loaded on both smart phones and desktops.

The Future of Blackjack

Blackjack is one of the world’s most popular casino card games, and it’s also one of the world’s oldest.

Historians believe that the modern version of 21 that we know and love today originated some time around the 1600s, and while it has undergone many changes over the years; the game is virtually the same as what our ancestors enjoyed.

Online blackjack was the next step in evolution for the game, and it’s inclusion into most online casinos saw it skyrocket in popularity, and become the most played card game in the world, and the second most played casino game behind slots.

With its growth in the online market, we can expect blackjack to be around for a long time yet, just like we can expect AFL premiership betting to be around too.

But what exactly does the future hold for our favourite card game, and how will it change in the coming years?

These are some of the trends that may affect blackjack in the coming future.

1. New Game Modes

Online blackjack is already dominating the market, but it’s biggest growth lies in the mobile industry.

New online casino platforms that can be played directly off of a smart phone or tablet means that people can now play the game from wherever they are. Like with all modern technology, change is inevitable, and we’re starting to see that in more traditional industries.

Many predict that blackjack will begin to spread out into new formats within the next few years. The traditional 21 version that we know might begin to fall away, but it’s difficult to predict whether it will actually occur.

2. Virtual Blackjack

Virtual reality is the hottest tech on the market right now, and while it’s biggest application is in the video game world, it won’t take long before it reaches the online casino sector.

There are some casinos that already have plans in place to begin developing popular games for VR. Many of these, such as blackjack, will allow the player to feel like they’re sitting in a real casino, and playing a round against other players in real time.

The possibilities are virtually endless when it comes to the future of VR and online casino games. Right now, the closest thing we have to real virtual blackjack is some of the Android casino games that can be downloaded and then paired with Google Cardboard.

It isn’t as elegant as a proper VR headset, but it can give players an idea of what they can expect in the future.

3. Online Multiplayer Blackjack

When blackjack first hit the online market, it was very much a single-player game. But over recent years we’ve seen more and more people become interested in multiplayer blackjack.

This is essentially a group of people that can play against each other in real time, often with a live dealer managing the games.

It’s becoming more popular by the day, and is set to become the dominant form of blackjack for online players.

Playing in Blackjack Tournaments

Playing in a blackjack tournament means that you are playing against other blackjack players and not against the dealer like in a casino.  Everyone at the table begins with the same amount of money and all play the same amount of hands.  At the end of the round the player that has the most chips will win and go on to the next round and plays with the other winners.  In some instances the top two players at a table will go through.

Blackjack tournaments usually start off with many players which usually ends with around six or seven players who will compete for the championship.  The winner will usually walk away with most of the prizes while finalists will get some sort of reward.  The objective of a blackjack tournament, besides the big win is to have the most chips at the end of a round.  The majority of blackjack tournaments are open to the public while others are only by invitation.  There is almost always an entry fee to play.  Blackjack tournaments come in various formats.

Traditional Elimination

The most popular is the elimination tournament where players play against other players at the table, and each winner at a table will go through to the next round with the losers being eliminated.  Some tournaments will allow eliminated players to re-enter the tournament after paying an additional buy in fee, and although this differs to the action enjoyed in the sports betting NZ has to offer, it is just as exciting.

Accumulation

Accumulation tournaments or non-elimination as it is also known is where players play against other players at the tournament with the main objective being to win the majority of the chips after several rounds.  The leaders of the tournament are posted on a leader board so that the players can see what they still need in order to continue playing and overtake the current leaders.

Elimination

Tournaments with elimination is a format that was made popular a few years ago.  Ultimate Blackjack Tournaments (UBT) was televised in order to make playing blackjack tournaments not only more exciting for the players, but also for the viewers around the world.  With this format players who had the least chips after the following hands: 8, 16, 25 and 30 would be eliminated from playing.

Live-Money

When it comes to most blackjack tournaments the chips that are being played with do not have any value, but with live-money tournaments players have to buy their own chips that are then exchanged for cash at the completion of the tournament.  So when players put all their money in and bet the max they are actually betting their own money, so it is quite a risky option.

Mini and Major Tournaments

Mini-tournaments are usually hosted in land-based casinos and usually weekly.  Online casinos will often have daily blackjack tournaments.  The buy-in is low around $25 and will usually be completed in a day with a prize pool of around $2000.

Major tournaments will have higher buy in fees and may go on for more than one day.  The prize pool is usually large and can even go as high as six figures.  Casinos will usually have these major tournaments on a weekend where the players are given discounted accommodation, dining and free gifts.

Sit ‘N Go

Sit ‘n go tournaments will start once there are enough players at the table.  These tournaments have become especially popular when playing online.

Blackjack tournaments are not only a great way to enjoy blackjack with others, whether playing in a casino or online, but there are many opportunities to win some good money.  And of course blackjack tournaments create great excitement.

The Most Comprehensive Blackjack FAQ Ever

Blackjack is certainly one of the most popular card games in the world and many find the allure of this game absolutely irresistible. Simpler than poker in many aspects, many new players believe the aim of blackjack is to reach the elusive 21, but they would be sorely mistaken.

The object of blackjack is to beat the dealer’s total without exceeding 21 – known as ‘going bust’. While many blackjack guides offer game play advice and tips on strategy, this FAQ is designed to answer the questions you didn’t even know you had.

Why Do Dealers Toss the First Card?

The tossing or ‘burning’ of the first card in blackjack games is a move put in place to prove to the player that nothing dodgy has taken place while the dealer shuffled the cards.

The first card in the deck is also the most vulnerable to cheating schemes should the dealer be in collusion with a player at the table, so the burning of the first card in the deck lessens the probability of this happening.

Any Advantage to Playing Multiple Seats?

There is indeed an advantage to playing multiple seats at a blackjack table, as you will decrease your variance in doing so.

However, having said this, this assumes that you split the bet you would’ve placed on one hand across two, instead of doubling the bet you would place on a single hand.

You will risk the same amount by splitting the bet across two hands and you will also increase your playtime, thus increasing your chance of success.

Full Table vs. Alone with the Dealer?

Blackjack is about as social as sports betting NZ, but it’s always best to be alone at the table with the dealer if you’re an accomplished card counter, however we doubt you would be reading this guide if you were!

As such, if you’re a basic strategy player or just getting started, your best bet is to play at a table full of players.

The reasoning behind this is that you will be dealt fewer hands per hour, thus reducing the exposure of your bankroll to the house edge, increasing game play and the chance of success.

Is Online Blackjack Better than Live?

This answer to this question is not a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’, unfortunately.

Online blackjack will always be better than live with regards to the ease of access, the range of stakes available to choose from and online casino bonuses, but this advantage could quickly be diminished if the rules of the table aren’t the same as live blackjack games.

Some online variations only pay even money for blackjack and don’t permit players to double down on soft hands, so be sure to check the rules before placing your bets online.

How Do Multiple Decks Influence the House Edge?

This is quite possibly the most important aspect of game play to remember: the house edge in blackjack decreases as the number of decks decreases.

Take a moment to let that sink in and then allow me to explain –  you will get more blackjacks with fewer decks and doubling down also becomes more advantageous.

You will get more blackjacks in a single-deck game as the removal of just one card affects the percentages of the remaining cards more greatly than a six-deck game.

Casino Industry Secrets to Blackjack Success

By now, just about everyone has heard of the MIT blackjack team who took casinos for millions of dollars, but if you think they were only successful because they were intelligent, you would be wrong.

Bill Kaplan trained his students like soldiers – intense training and meticulous tracking of their progress and they turned $89,000 into a whole lot more.

However, the good news is that you don’t have to be able to count cards in order to be successful at blackjack, because we have the blackjack secrets the casinos don’t want you to know.

Hit, Split, Double Down, Stand

  • Always hit on soft 17 (ace-6)
  • Always split aces and 8s
  • Always double down on 11
  • Always stand on a hard 17 or greater
  • Never split 5s or 10s
  • Never stand on 12-16 if the deal’s up card is a 7 or higher
  • Never believe you’re on a winning streak

Beware the Gambler’s Fallacy

Just as you should always remember that there is no such thing as a hot or cold table – whether online or land based – just so should you take heed of the gambler’s fallacy.

The gambler’s fallacy is the belief that losing a few times in a row makes you ‘due’ for a win and this type of thinking must be avoided at all costs as many a gambler has lost their own bankroll this way.

Don’t Worry About the Shuffle

Unless you’re a veritable card counting expert, don’t worry about the shuffle of the decks. An automatic shuffle machine may make tracking specific cards or decks theoretically impossible, but a handheld shuffle is almost never perfectly random, so don’t even give it a second thought. At least this is something you don’t have to worry about with Bitcoin betting.

Five Decks Are Enough

You should always go for blackjack games which use 5 or fewer decks of cards during gameplay, as games using 6- or 8-decks are slightly more disadvantageous to the player.

It may only be a 10th of a percentage difference, but you’ll be surprised how much of a difference this can make over time.

Join the Table Anywhere

If there’s one thing gamblers have in common, it’s their tendency towards superstition and we have some news for you: it doesn’t matter where you sit at the table.

Your chosen seat at the table will not have any direct influence on whether you win or lose, so just take a seat, relax, and get your head in the game.

Never Take Insurance

We cannot stress this enough: insurance has always been and will always be a loser’s bet.

Sure you may make some extra cash every once in a while by taking insurance, but most of the time you’ll be giving your cash up for essentially no reason.

Unless you’ve been keeping track of how many aces and 10s are still left to the play in the shoe, insurance should always be turned down.

Progressive Strategy Doesn’t Work

As much as other would have you believe, the truth is that progressive betting will not increase your chances of blackjack success.

Unfortunately progressive betting cannot affect your probability of winning in blackjack and will most likely only force you to spend more money than you likely would have if you didn’t make use of a progressive betting ‘strategy’.

In Conclusion

Our final pieces of advice are to always keep your emotions in check, never chase losses, practise intelligent bankroll management, and memorise a basic blackjack strategy chart before taking a seat at the table. Good luck!

Myths, Mistakes, and Misconceptions about Blackjack

Most people have a general understanding of how blackjack works, but it’s easy to believe common myths about game play if you haven’t fully learned it.

As such, here are common mistakes, myths, and misconceptions surrounding the game of blackjack which you should cast from your mind immediately.

Getting Close to 21 is the Goal

The misconception that the aim of blackjack is to get as close to 21 as possible is the most common of all and leads to many players chasing the elusive 21 and ignoring what’s really going on at the table.

You should always check the dealer’s upcard, remember that the dealer has to stand at either a hard or soft 17 depending on the table’s rules, and look out for favourable opportunities to split your hand.

Blackjack Strategy is Difficult to Master

While blackjack strategy may seem intimidating at first, there is no need for you to learn all the blackjack strategies off by heart.

Start by printing out a strategy chart which can be consulted until you’re more comfortable with the ins-and-outs of the game.

All you’ll have to do then is follow the action provided for each possible combination of the dealer’s upcard and your total.

Due for a Win after Successive Losses

The idea of being ‘due’ for a win after consecutive losses is a common mistake amongst gamblers in general and is known as the ‘Gambler’s Fallacy’.

Just like with horseracing where a loss on one race should guarantee a win in the next owing to the law of averages, this should also be kept in mind when considering horse racing tips NZ.

This is why many blackjack players start to increase their bet sizes after a few losses as they follow the logic of ‘the more you bet the more you will win’.

Unfortunately, every hand is a completely separate event from the last and you can’t bank on winning after a few too many successive losses.

Other Players Influence Your Chances of Winning

The goal of blackjack is to beat the dealer’s hand, but many players seem to think that their fellow table mates are somehow going to hurt their chances of achieving this.

Remember every player at the table is playing against the dealer, not you!

Even if your table mate makes a bad decision, this does not influence your hand and you should think of it as if you’re playing alone at the table.

The Consistently Low House Edge

It’s often stated that blackjack has a house edge of just 0.5% which makes it very appealing to players, but more often than not this is simply not the case.

The rules of the game are dependent on the table – one game may offer 3:2 payouts for blackjack and force the dealer to stand on soft 17, while another may offer 6:5 blackjack payouts and allows the dealer to stand on soft 17.

Insurance is a Worthy Investment

Insurance is an addition bet as to whether the dealer will have blackjack when their upcard shows an ace.

If the dealer does have blackjack and you’ve taken insurance, you will be paid 2:1. It may sound appealing to the uninitiated, but the problem with insurance is that only 16 of the 52 cards in the deck will give the dealer blackjack – a chance of 30.77% – leaving you losing the other 69.23% of the time.

How To Participate in a Blackjack Tournament

Blackjack events

If you have been following our guides on how to play blackjack, and spending some fun times practicing Blackjack online and in real world situations, you may be ready to try out a live Blackjack tournament.

To participate in a tournament is a step up from playing a few hands online, so make sure you learn some advanced strategy to use at the tables. Otherwise stick to fun online games, and practice your blackjack more or try out some bingo for money games online.

The Blackjack Tournament Guide

The majority of tournaments tend to consist of between two and three rounds, with a winning player from each table being advanced in each round.  The semi finals will have about seven tables with the previous rounds winners, and the player with the most chips on each table goes through to the final.

The final prize is usually cash, but do not assume anything when joining a tournament, ask for all the rules for that specific tournament and get to know them well. You need to be aware of simple tournament facts like what number of players advance per table, how many hands in a round or the most important for any tournament – the standard rules of play.

Though most tournaments would use similar rules and are simple self explanatory and not hard to grasp.  But knowing what to bet, when to bet and how many hands in a round are vital. Also make sure to ask about any special rules, and research them in case you have had no experience with them in the past.

Final Table strategy

If you are lucky enough to make it to the final table, your strategy then becomes even more important.  As always first place is the best place to be, with a much larger prize then last place at the final table.

Now is the time to really focus, watch your opponents, do not make massive bets in the first hands, if you lose in the beginning cut back a bit to even out. Those players who bet big and immediately bust, will improve the prize money – but you definitely do not want to be one of those players!

In earlier rounds you would have been trying to keep your chips, not taking many risks. In the final round you would have to risk those chips more, especially if an opponent is having a lucky streak and piling up the chips. You have to start making larger bets if this is still happening by hand ten of the final round.

If you are way in the lead between hand ten and hand seventeen, you can coast a bit with your bets, but if you are parallel to the others you will need to match their bets.

The Final Hand in the Final Round – if you are not the chip leader in the final round you are going to have to set your bet accordingly. If it is possible to bet and get second place, try for that. But if you do not feel like second is a possibility, bet all in and try for first.

So you either won or lost – most likely you would not win your first tournament, but you still participated and can learn great strategy from the losses as well as the wins. Keep it up and join more Blackjack tournaments, and grow each time.