## Hit or Stand?

The guidelines for hitting are rather straightforward. If the dealer shows a 2 or 3, you continue to take a hit until you have a hard 13 or a soft 18. If the dealer shows 4, 5, or 6, you continue to take a hit until you reach a hard 12 or a soft 18. If the dealer shows 7 or 8, you continue to take a hit until you have a hard 17 or a soft 18. It the dealer shows anything higher than 8, you continue to take a hit until you have a hard 17 or a soft 19.

Dealer Shows Hit Until You Have
2 or 3 hard 13 or soft 18
4, 5, or 6 hard 12 or soft 18
7 or 8 hard 17 or soft 18
9, 10, or A hard 17 or soft 19

Though there is no mathematical “proof” of these principles there is actually some simple logic to them. Don’t forget that you are also playing the odds based on billions of simulations of blackjack hands. Let’s look at some of the logic.
? If the dealer shows a 7 or above, then the most likely two-card total is 17 or above (with a 10 or an A in the hole), so you are going to have to take a card on any total under 17 or likely lose.
? When the dealer shows a card less than 7, the two-card total will likely be less than 17 (it can be exactly 17 with a 6 and an A), and the dealer will be forced to take another card. Since there are more 10’s in the deck than any other denomination, the dealer will have a fairly high probability of busting and you will win.
? If you were to take a card with a total between 12 and 16 you would be likely to bust. In situations like this the proper play is to let the dealer pull. If the high card shows up and there is a high card in the hole, you will win.
? Hit a total of 12 against a dealer 2 or 3. I’ve seen books that tell you to stand in these situations. They are wrong. You must take a card.
? Hit a 16 against a dealer’s 7. Many inexperienced players have trouble believing that this is the proper play but it is. Countless computer runs have proved it again and again. From the players point of view a total of 16 is no better than a total of 12; you can win with such totals only when the dealer breaks. Besides, there are still five cards that can help out a 16 (A, 2, 3, 4, 5).
? You take a card whenever you have A, 6 (unless you double down) and you hit an A, 7 against a 9, 10, or A. It’s true that you will sometimes find yourself going “backwards” and have a hand that is “weaker” than you just had. However, computer simulations consistently show that this is the proper play.
? It may come as a surprise to inexperienced players, but 18 is not a strong hand when facing a dealer 9, 10, or A.

## Basic Strategy Play

Since the essential features of basic strategy were developed, a number of refinements have given us the current optimal set of principles for standing, hitting, doubling, splitting, and surrendering. These, along with the other more sophisticated forms of play were worked out by using Monte Carlo techniques based on the analysis of literally billions of hands. If I tell you that you should hit a total of 16 against a dealer’s 7, there is no specific mathematical proof behind this recommendation. It emerged from an analysis of the several million times this situation emerged in the Monte Carlo analysis of the game. Hitting a 16 against a 7 loses less often than standing. Sure, following this advice produces a bust on a lot of these hands, but analysis shows, utterly compellingly, that if you don’t hit his hand you are more likely to get beat by a higher total — like 17.
When possible, I will give a logical analysis of particular aspects of basic strategy, but there are going to be situations where the reader is just going to have to accept the outcomes of the Monte Carlo analysis. The following description of basic strategy is based on the multi-deck game found in several Atlantic City and Las Vegas casinos, where the dealer stands on a soft seventeen, pairs may be re-split once, doubling down is permitted after a split, and the player may double down on any two cards. Other games require some minor adjustments that I’ll note where appropriate. However, you should never give up an edge against the casino. I highly recommend playing only where the rules are more favorable to the player.

## Online Gambing Addiction – Play Safely

Can you imagine being able to place a bet with just a press of a button? Can you imagine playing and betting as long as you want?

Can you imagine gambling from the comfort of your own home?

We know for a fact that gambling is risky business, and unrestrained gambling is just asking for trouble. Compulsive gamblers already have a hard time restraining themselves from the call of casinos and bookies, and now Internet gambling just takes the ante a step further.

With Internet gambling, you don?t need hard cash. Everything that is online is so easy to access. Play Baccarat, Blackjack, Craps, Keno, Roulette or Slots. Play all day, all night.

Before the 1990s, gamblers who wanted to place a casino or sports type bet in the United States basically had two choices: they could travel to a legitimate brick-and-mortar gaming establishment or place an illegal wager through a bookie. However, with the emergence of the Internet in the mid-1990s, a new form of gambling appeared; Internet gambling through gaming casinos and sports wagering. Internet gambling can take place on any electronic device that offers Internet access anywhere on the globe.

Internet gambling makes payment options for gambling individuals easy. They can just choose from several types of payment options other than credit cards. These include:

VISA and MasterCard cards: These cards are tied directly to the cardholder’s bank account. Funds for all transactions are deducted directly from the cardholder’s bank account, but cardholders can make credit card-type transactions that do not require a personal identification number.

Private-label debit cards: These cards are similar to check cards above but are issued by private companies rather than credit card associations.

On-line payment providers: These companies send and receive funds electronically for such uses as on-line auctions and purchases.

Wire transfers: Some Internet gambling sites promote this method of payment, which allows Internet gambling customers to wire money directly from a bank account to the site.

?E-cash? or digital cash: It is a digital representation of real money that can be placed on a computer hard drive, smart card and other devices with memory. It can be purchased from an authorized provider.

Internet gambling sites also offer money orders; traveler?s checks; bank drafts; cashier?s, certified, and personal checks; and a number of other electronic banking systems or processors as payment options. With Internet gambling?s easy payment options, even a non-gambler would be tempted to try.

Statistics also show that Internet gambling has nearly doubled every year since 1997 ? in 2001 it exceeded \$2 billion. It also boasts 110 sport-related Internet gambling sites.

According to the American Psychological Association, Internet gambling could be just as addictive as alcohol and drugs.

This is a confession from quoted from The Gambling Problem Talking Point website:

?? I am addicted to online poker, not to mention soccer betting and casinos whenever I am in the vicinity of one.

For the longest time I thought I had the beast under control. Thought I was smarter than the pack, and shrewd enough to beat the pack. Considered my betting to be more of an investment than anything else.

How much have I lost gambling? I am afraid to tally.

Has it ruined my life? Almost ? I guess being from a wealthy family, it helped me to cover the tracks not to mention the losses.

## How To Win At Blackjack

When it comes to blackjack, you don?t really need to have excellent bluffing skills to win as you would in poker. Or even have an inordinate amount of luck as you would when spinning the wheel in roulette or simply trying your chances at a slot machine.

In the game of blackjack, you must not be afraid to take risks because this is the game that offers the best chances of winning. So take advantage of that and remember to always play to win in blackjack!

Blackjack Tip #1 ? Play to Win and Take Insurance Only When You Have To

Remember, in the game of blackjack, you?re only gambling against the dealer and no one else. Yes, it helps to know the cards of other players because you?ll be able to determine the probability of your cards winning but the most significant thing to concentrate on is how to beat the dealer?s cards.

Hence, don?t take insurance unless you have to since it?s truly just betting against yourself.

Blackjack Tip #2 ? The Rules of Splitting

When the first two cards you?re dealt with are a pair of the same value (like 7/7), then you have the option to split your cards into two and play them separately, just as long as you place the same amount of bet on each card.

Now, while most players would either always or never split their cards, there is actually a strategy that can be applied to this particular situation and improve your chances at winning in blackjack. If you have two 10?s or two 5?s, it?s inadvisable to split cards so simply stick with them. If you have two 8?s or 7?s for example and the dealer shows you a card that?s equal or with a lower value like 6 or 5, that?s the time you should split your cards. When it comes to having face cards, you?re advised to never split them as well. But when it comes to aces, split them immediately.

Blackjack Tip #3 ? Maximizing the Use of Double Down

If you feel that the first two cards the dealer gave you are so good, you always have the option of doubling down and doubling your bet. This is actually the best option available to blackjack players so never let the opportunity to double down slip you by. Be aggressive, especially if the situation warrants it!

Enjoyed reading the tips so far? Feeling confident right now? If so, go play blackjack and see how much your new found knowledge can help you!

by: Linda Harrison

## Should I Take Insurance?

Insurance
When the dealer shows an A, players are given the option of taking insurance against the dealers’ having blackjack. Calling this “insurance” is a bit misleading. Actually, it is nothing other than a side bet that is paid at 2 to 1. If you wish to take insurance (which is only recommended in very specific circumstances recognizable by an expert card counter only), place a bet equal to half your original bet in the semicircle running just in front of the your betting spot. If the dealer has black-jack, you will lose your original bet but win the insurance wager and break even on the hand. If the dealer does not have blackjack, you will lose the insurance bet and the hand will be played out normally.

When to Take Insurance
Never! Next topic.
“Wait a minute!” I can hear many players saying. Don’t you always take insurance when you have blackjack yourself? That’s what everyone tells me.
Well, let’s stop and take a look at that situation more closely. Many people do believe that this is a “no lose” situation. The logic goes something like this. If your original bet is \$10 and you have blackjack and you take insurance (\$5), the hand will play out in one of two ways. Either the dealer will have black-jack or he will not. If he does, the hand is a push but you will win \$10 because of the insurance. If he does not, you will win the hand but not the insurance bet and you will still win \$10.
While taking insurance when you have blackjack seems like a “win” in every case (because it is), it is *not* your best play. What most inexperienced players fail to realize is that the insurance is a side bet. It is completely unrelated to the original bet. Let’s take a closer look.
You are guaranteed a “win” when you take insurance, but you are missing the opportunity to play the odds for a larger win. Assume you are playing alone with the dealer in a six deck game and you bet \$10 on your hand and bet \$5 on insurance. A six deck shoe contains 96 10’s and 214 non-10’s. After you and the dealer have been dealt your cards, you have blackjack and the dealer shows and A, so there are 95 10’s and 214 non-10’s left. There are 95 ways for the dealer to have a 10 in the hole, and if you take insurance, you will win \$10 on each of them for an income of \$950. However, there are 214 ways for the dealer to have a non-10 in the hole, and on those occasions you will lose \$5 each, for a loss of \$1,070. This is an expected loss of \$120 — 7.8 percent — on 309 possibilities. A very bad bet!
It should be noted that there are certain times when taking insurance is advantageous to the player, but these circumstances can only be detected by the best card counters.

## Is Blackjack a ?Winnable? Game?

When blackjack first became a casino staple, it was assumed that it was rather like baccarat, where the house, by virtue of the rules determining play, had a statistical edge. All players and students of the game assumed that this advantage existed based on two simple facts. One, the player had to act first. Two, all busts (hands totaling over twenty-one) were losers no matter what the dealer later drew. These two rules seem to give the house an incontrovertible edge.
Conventional began to change in 1956 when a paper by Baldwin, Cantey, Maisel, and McDermont was published in the _Journal of the American Statistical Association_. This paper and a black-jack strategy manual published by Baldwin et al. the following year both attracted very little interest among non mathematicians, but it would prove to be the first step toward determining that blackjack is a “winnable” game.
Edward O. Thorp, a scientist at MIT, did understand the implications of the work of Baldwin and his colleagues and began to ex-amine two elements of the game that were previously unexamined. One, the composition of a deck of cards changes with every card dealt. Two, some deck compositions favor the player and other favor the house. In 1962, Thorp published his now famous book, _Beat the Dealer_, which contained a simple yet profound mes-sage. Unlike dice, roulette wheels, and slot machines, decks of cards have “memory.”
Blackjack, unlike Roulette for example, is a winnable game be-cause of this “memory.” Let’s look at an example. You are sit-ting at the Roulette table and the dealer throws the ball and it comes to rest on the number 9. Now, when he throws the ball again for the next round, what are the odds the ball lands on 9 again? Assuming the wheel is not rigged or the dealer is not trained to “fix” the outcome, the odds of the ball landing on 9 again are exactly the same! Let’s take it a step further. Assume that the ball does indeed land on 9 again – twice more. Now the ball has landed on the 9 three times in a row! What are the odds this happens a fourth time? Exactly the same! There is no statistical reason that the ball should “avoid” landing on 9 again.
Blackjack is different. Let’s look at a similar situation in blackjack. You are at the table with two other players. The dealer deals a 9 to each of the players at the table. Now the odds of dealing another 9 have been significantly reduced. In a six deck game the odds have been reduced from 3:49 to 7:104. This fact alone makes blackjack a winnable game.