Innovative gaming developers Play n Go really do know how to combine classic themes with classic slot designs and formats to create revamped gaming titles which never become out-dated, but continue to stand the test of time. A classic theme used on slots time and time again is ‘The luck of the Irish’ – the theme which brings leprechauns and pots of gold to screens.
Online casinos are currently the biggest talking point in the gambling industry. In fact, most people prefer to play their favourite casino games from the comfort of their own homes nowadays. What many people don’t realise is that to be profitable in the online casino industry, a tweak of tactics is needed.
Just about everyone has either heard of the game of blackjack or played it at one point or another. Being the third most popular casino game in the world, blackjack is offered throughout the globe by thousands of different casinos, both land-based and online.
Blackjack, above most other forms of gambling, lends itself to movies. That is because the game has everything that Hollywood loves built right into it; high stakes, fast action, and easily understood rules. Hence it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that many movies use Blackjack as a primary plot device. We took a look at some of the best movies that use high stakes card games.
There is a good reason why blackjack is one of the world’s most popular casino games. It’s wonderfully challenging yet very easy to learn, and all you need to play it is a few decks of cards and some willing participants.
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.
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.
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 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.
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’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.
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 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.
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.
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’.
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!