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!
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.
While playing blackjack at a land based casino is a far more sociable experience, there are many advantages to playing online blackjack instead.
With a greater variety of blackjack games from low stakes to high, fantastic casino bonuses, and superior pay outs, playing online blackjack is a no brainer! Here are the detailed benefits of playing online blackjack.
Wide Range of Deposit and Withdrawal Options
One of the greatest advantages to playing online blackjack is that online casinos offer a wide range of options for deposits and withdrawals and there is something to suit everybody.
Whether you want to deposit with your credit card or web wallet, you can do so with ease and confidence knowing your transactions are secured by 128-bit SSL encryption software.
Perfect for Beginners
I can assure you, if you pitch up at a land based casino and ask the dealer to explain the game to you while others sit around and wait impatiently for you to get the gist, there are going to be a lot of frustrated people.
Rather play blackjack at an online casino where there is far less intensity and pressure than a live game and there are plenty of practise play options to enjoy while you’re learning.
Ease of Access
Playing blackjack at a land based casino requires paying for fuel to drive to the casino, paying for parking, and inevitably paying for snacks and refreshments while you play. This is just wasteful!
Rather put all that extra cash into your online casino account and play wherever, whenever. As long as you have a device such a smartphone, laptop, computer, or tablet connected to the internet you can play online blackjack and real money pokies to your heart’s content.
Once you feel confident in your playing ability, you can always head to the live dealer portion of the casino and recreate the land based casino in your living room!
Thanks to high quality video streaming, you will be presented with a gorgeous dealer who chats to players while dealing and you can even ask them questions via the chat option.
Lower House Edge and Better Payouts
Thanks to the fact that online casinos are a dime a dozen and the competition is fierce, they are forced to offer superior payout rates and lower house edges than land based casinos in order to entice players to play with them.
Online casinos also have far less overhead expenses than land based casinos, so they can afford to give more back to the player.
Ah, sign up bonuses! What a wonderful way to rewarded for doing almost nothing! All you have to do to receive your online casino sign up bonus is create an account, deposit the advertised minimum, and reap the rewards!
Not only do online casino players get sign up bonuses, but regular promotions and loyalty rewards will keep you coming back for more online blackjack.
Online casinos are perfect for those wanting to protect their privacy as no one will know you’re playing unless you tell them!
Enjoy your favourite games in the comfort of your own home without having to worry about running into anyone you know and if you’ve got a fairly public profile, online casinos provide you with the anonymity you require.
As we have often said, Blackjack is a very popular online and table game, with many people enjoying this game across the globe.
People often consider Poker the more popular or cooler game, due to the influence of movies, media and well advertised Poker Tournaments with celebrity players.
But Blackjack and Poker often get confused in the mainstream media and in the public eye, so here we discuss the differences between these two games.
There may not seem like there are any obvious differences but there are. Read more “The Main Differences Between Blackjack and Poker”
So you have found Blackjack, well done! Gambling has a long and interesting history going back thousands of years, but Blackjack as a table game is always growing in popularity and is super fun to play when at a Casino and have time to spend.
Our article will show you how to behave when playing Blackjack, and some of the rules apply even if you are not going to an actual land based casino, and having a go online at Blackjack.
Because learning the general etiquette of how to act at a blackjack table, whether it is a CAD casino or a USD casino is important and necessary.
So even if you have been in a casino or have learnt the actual rules of the game, here are the guides on how to behave and act like a pro:
- Wait for the current hand to finish, do not interrupt a game in process to try change currency
- Never hand your money to the dealer, the cameras need to see the transaction occur so place your money on the table for the dealer to count and then supply you with chips.
- When you place a bet, remove your hands from the chips in the betting box and leave the chips alone
- Do not use both hands to hold your cards, this is generally to prevent players tampering with their cards
- Also never walk away from the table with your cards, do not even place them in your lap –keep them in view of casino cameras at all times
- If your game is dealt with the cards face up – there is no need to touch them- so don’t.
- Use hand signals to show your decision in games with multiple decks , scratch the table for a hit, place your cards under your chops to stand and leave the cards face up if you are bust.
- Do not talk to the dealer unless you ask for advice on the hand – but this can be dependant on the Casino
- Learn how to cut the deck correctly, insert he cut card as close to the middle of the deck as you can
- A tip is to avoid the final seat on the left, as the dealer plays right after this player, and your mistakes will be picked up by fellow players quickly and used against you
- Always place the larger denomination chip on the bottom of a stack of chips and the lower denominations on top
- You can ask for your spot to be marked by the dealer if you need a bathroom or cigarette break
- Tip the dealer – please tip the dealers they are doing a minimum wage job, throw them some tips
- Never tell your fellow players how to play! If asked you can give your opinion but never start lecturing people on what they should or shouldn’t do
This list may seem long and daunting but most of it is actually pretty basic information but things that could possibly over looked when you are new to casinos or Blackjack.