What Factors Influence The Value Of Our Hand?

What Factors Influence The Value Of Our Hand

If we were playing poker against Pete the Passive Poker Player then it wouldn?t really matter if we were holding pocket aces or seven-deuce off suit. So what are the factors that influence the value of our hand?

Card Rankings

We may seem a little contradictory here, but if you wasn?t playing against Pete the Passive Poker Player all of the time then card ranking is very important when determining the value of your hand. Quite simply you will never fold pocket aces pre flop but would rarely open with seven-deuce off suit.

How Good Are You?

If you are an excellent poker player then you can play more hands against your weaker opponents. If you are not very good at poker then you need to be playing fewer hands against better opponents. Therefore your hand values change dependent on your own personal skill level when compared to the skill levels of the players in your game.

Table Dynamics

There are a wide variety of different situations that may be present on the table that will affect your hand values. A good example is when you find yourself in a game against a short stack specialist. Against these types of players you have a pretty good understanding of what their shoving hand range will look like and therefore this will influence the value of the hands you choose to play against this type of opponent.

Live Casinos to Play Blackjack

Where to Play Live Blackjack

live casinos to play blackjackPlaying blackjack is always thrilling and exciting, but only live blackjack gives us the opportunity to feel that true atmosphere of risk and adventure, the atmosphere of real cards and the casino tables. Where to play live blackjack? Nowadays many of the online casinos provide players with a live dealer to play with. You are free to select download or no download version of blackjack. It is not required to install any special software to enjoy your favourite game. Just connect to the Internet and have a wonderful time with live dealer and other players.

If you are not ready to risk it, you can easily just play for fun, offered in most of the casinos. Otherwise, you are welcome to play blackjack for money and to increase your profit while a having good time.

You may also be interested in the variations of live blackjack. Firstly, you can choose between Game View or Casino View. The Game View will increase your impression of reality and will allow you to feel the interaction between players. Casino View will suit the players that have a slower internet connection.

Live Dealer Blackjack Games

live blackjack gamesLive blackjack games include Single Seat Blackjack and Early Payout Blackjack. According to the rules of the first type, you have your own cards and should not share them with other players.

Blackjack with Early Payout game enables you to perform the cash out with the help of the Basic Strategy. This means that you are allowed to stop the game and take your winnings, or continue playing. Moreover, the money prizes in these games are usually higher.

Live Casino Blackjack Bonus

The most beneficial bonus offered is no deposit welcome bonus. New players are presented with an opportunity to try several live casino games and to choose the most appropriate one without depositing money. The advantage of some casinos is that they give you the opportunity to play with free cash. Remember that special bonuses in many live casinos depend on the means of payment that you used to deposit. Unfortunately, not all live casinos accept USA players so you should pay attention to that before you decide to try the game.

Playing live blackjack is as easy as playing online and as exciting as real casino. It is available for everyone!

Why Online Blackjack Tournaments Are So Popular

Blackjack Tournaments

Online casino blackjack tournaments are popular with card players across the globe, for several reasons.

The tournament games have an added dimension and thrill to them because you?re actually testing your online blackjack strategies and skills against a host of other players too, not just the dealer. This makes the games a lot more exciting for most online casino players.

Most blackjack tournaments online are pretty straightforward and simple, but some players are still somewhat intimidated and apprehensive when it comes to entering them. This is especially true for those who are new to the online version of the game.

When playing basic games of blackjack, how much you lose or win basically comes down to how well you play against the dealer. This is really the only other person you?re playing and competing against. However, when it comes to an online tournament setting, there?s actually increased competition because you now also have to win more than the other players.

Tournaments that are held for money will usually require you to pay an entry fee or you may be able to use some accumulated bonus points at your online casino. You?ll find that you can enter some tournaments for free though. After entering an online blackjack tournament, each of the players will be assigned a table where they will play at and will also receive the same amount of playing chips.

The tournaments generally consist of a certain number of online blackjack hands or they may have a specific time period attached to them. The players that have accumulated the most chips after each round will then advance to the tournament?s next stage while others will be eliminated from the event. The tournaments continue until the last round, which features the top players with the most chips. Whoever has won the most chips at the end of the online blackjack tournament will be declared the winner.

Written by Alex, a keen player of casino games including blackjack. She also regularly tries playing bingo and her new favourite site is www.poshbingo.co.uk.

Simple But Helpful Online Blackjack Tips

Blackjack TipsBlackjack is one of the simplest and most popular types of online casino games out there. Even though there are a few different variations of the game, the basics are more or less the same.

There are a lot of different strategies used by players, but everybody has their own style of playing. Whether you?re a newcomer to online blackjack or a seasoned pro, there are some tips that might help you out.

  • Learn the rules of all the online blackjack games you?re going to play. You should then practice and play for free before you?re comfortable with the idea of playing for real money.
  • You should come up with a playing limit or budget and make sure you stick with it. You?re going to have good days and bad days so know when to call it a day.
  • Check out all of the online tournaments, promotions, and bonuses that are offered at various online casinos. This will help you get the most out of your money.
  • It?s important that you don?t give out any of your personal account information to anybody that you don?t know and trust.
  • Try to learn all of the terms related to the online blackjack games so you understand what?s happening during the action.
  • Withdraw at least half of your winnings after you win a big amount. This will help stop you from playing it right away and you?ll leave the game with some winnings.
  • Try to get your cards as close to 21 as possible instead of trying to beat the dealer. If the dealer has a high card showing don?t let it distract you.
  • Don?t forget about betting cycles in online blackjack. You should bet more when you?re winning and less when you?re losing.
  • Remember, online blackjack favours the dealer. If you both go over 21, you lose.
  • If the dealer has to take a card on hands that are 16 and lower, you won?t win with less than 17 unless the dealer goes over 21.
  • Remember that an ace can be used as either one point or 11 points.
  • If your cards total 10 or lower you should take another card as you won?t be in jeopardy of busting. The most you can get is an ace to total 21, which of course is what you?re aiming to do.

Written by Alex, a blackjack aficionado who enjoys blogging about her casino experiences. She loves detailing her wins and losses for the amusement and entertainment of others!

Playing Live Blackjack Online

Online casinos are swarming the Internet and they are setting the latest trend in gambling.

In the comfort of their own houses, gamblers are able to enjoy the same casino experience as they would if they travel to Las Vegas.

Online casinos are not just limited to playing versus a program but you can also play against other people.

A lot of games have been incorporated in online casinos ever since. The first among these games were roulette and blackjack.

When you have already signed up at a trustworthy online casino site, the next thing you have to do is find a blackjack game and enter a blackjack room.

When you have successfully joined a game, you will see a table in your computer screen, the bet, and cards laid on the table. You will see the dealer on the screen as well.

Using headphones and a reliable Internet connection, you can interact with other players, hear them speak, yell and laugh. The experience would be as if you are playing in a brick and mortal casino.

In most online casino, single deck blackjack games aren?t included in their game line-up since the profit obtained by the casino in a single deck game is lower compared to how much it would earn from a multi deck blackjack game.

This is also the case in a brick and mortar casino. Other online casinos are clever enough to put certain modifications in the rules of a single deck black jack and only then would they provide the facility to play the game online.

Given that blackjack is such an exciting game, players tend to bet by impulse just to win the game. Their bets go higher and higher after each losing round. This gambling behaviour is sure to take toll on their bankroll. Players must keep calm while gambling so that they do not go over their limits.

Written by Alex Corcoran, a fan of blackjack and live roulette.

Top Blackjack Tips

If you are determined to win a blackjack game, here are a few tips you might want to apply every time you go to a brick and mortar casino, or online, in order to play a good old game of blackjack.

First, you need to start with the basic strategy. Follow it and play the game with it and remember it by heart.

Hunches and taking risks make a blackjack game more exciting but don’t forget that blackjack is a game of math; winning can be due to absolute reasons and not luck.

Leave your superstitions at the door and play the game rationally and logically. Do the mathematical strategy of winning the game and do it with absolute subtlety. Never doubt the maths ? it always works.

Next, observe the tables and the players. Find a table that seems enjoyable, relaxing and composed of people who are focused in the game.

Don’t play with drunken people because they will just distract you and ruin your game. Make sure the players you join in are those who are capable of making a fast-paced game to increase your chances of earning and winning within a particular amount of time.

Do not sit with mean and arrogant players if you can’t handle the pressure they’re willing to bring on to you ? they too will destroy your concentration.

If possible, do not take insurance, or a side bet that the dealer has a blackjack. The house edge for insurance bets is extremely high and it would just take a toll on your bankroll.

Unless you are card counting, you can be sure you’ll make a winning bet. Otherwise, it’s not advisable.

Tipping the dealer is also a good practice in laying a blackjack game. A friendly dealer makes a game more enjoyable.

By tipping them, they will stay that way or if they aren’t at the beginning, they might start to loosen up. Some players’ strategy is to take advantage of dealer tells and if you tip your dealer well, he or she might reward you with more obvious tells.

Written by Alex Corcoran, a fan of blackjack online and casino games.

Splitting in the game of Blackback

There are four options available to the player in a game of Blackjack once he has been dealt his starting cards. One these is to split but what exactly does this mean?

Sometimes when you are playing Blackjack you will be dealt a pocket pair such as 88, 66, 44, etc. When you are dealt a pocket pair you have the option to split. Splitting means that you divide the two cards into two separate hands. The dealer then deals you two separate cards, one to each hand, giving you the net result of two hands instead of one. When you decide to split you also have to double your wager because you are now betting on the outcome of two hands. Anyone who is unsure as to what they’re doing may be better off sticking to video poker instead.

The number of times that you are allowed to split your hand will depend on the rules of the particular casino you are playing in. Imagine you have two eights and decide to split and the dealer deals you another two eights; in some casinos you will be able to split the two eights again giving you the net result of four hands. As you can imagine the splitting of hands can win or lose you a lot more money than you initially bargained for, but it is one of the most exciting parts of the game. Remember, Blackjack has just as many nuances as slot games.

Another rule variation you need to look out for when splitting is when you are dealt a pair of aces. Some casinos will not allow you split aces, others will only allow you to draw one additional card on each ace and some will not recognize an eventual 21 as a 3:2 Blackjack hand. It’s important to bear these things in mind before you start.

Play Blackjack Professionally

If you don’t have much Blackjack experience, it can be daunting stepping up to the tables for a game. You can, however, hide the fact of your inexperience very simply by remembering these straightforward rules. (Note – the rules of BlackJack will differ from area to area and from casino to casino, but the general principles are the same. When in doubt, ask!). A typical BlackJack table seats a dealer and up to 7 players. Starting with the dealer, the first seat on his left is ‘1st Base’, while the first seat on his right is referred to as 3rd Base. In front of each player’s seat is a betting square, printed on the felt. Right in front of the dealer is the chip tray, while on his left is the deck (a.k.a. shoe) and next to that is the’ minimum bet sign’, which tells you how ‘expensive’ the table is. As a beginner, you will want to stick to the low bet tables to keep any losses under control. On the dealer’s right is a money drop slot. This is a security feature – casinos don’t really trust their employees, and all cash and chips are deposited here to prevent ‘leakage’.

Next to the drop slot is what’s known as the ‘discard tray’. Play starts after the dealer shuffles the cards, the deck is ‘cut’ by a player using a ‘marker card’ (NOT the bare hand), and finally the dealer ‘burns’ a card (or throws it away in order to ensure randomness). Before the cards are dealt, you make your bet by placing chips or cash into the betting box. Be aware that you can sit out a hand or 2 if you like – maybe you need a break, or the dealer is just on a lucky streak. Note that if the casino is busy, you may be asked to give up your seat so another punter can take your place (or alternatively resume the game yourself). If you really don’t want to play, just get up and vacate the seat – you can always come back later!

When all players who want to play in this round have placed a bet, 2cards will be dealt to each player going from left to right. Some casinos deal the cards face down. Elsewhere the cards are dealt face up, in which case NEVER touch them – the assumption if you do is that you are cheating! The dealer deals himself 2 cards – 1 down and 1 up. Card values are, as everyone knows, 10 Jack Queen and King are worth 10, an Ace is worth 1 or 11, all other cards are worth their face values. In noisy casinos, be prepared to use hand signals to indicate whether you want to hit or stand.

How do you indicate ‘hit’? If the cards are dealt face down, flick the cards gently across the felt 2 times. If the cards were dealt face up, point at the cards with your finger in a jabbing style. You can nod your head to emphasize the desire for a hit. If you’d prefer to stand, move your hand horizontally from left to right (palm down) to indicate ‘no’. Always keep your hands a few inches off the table to avoid suspicion. If you like, you can emphasize the stand by shaking your head ‘no’ at the same time.

Should you play single or multiple deck games? Only in Vegas do they still play single deck, and the tables are usually full – it is much easier for amateurs to ‘count’ in a single game, and keep the odds pretty fair, which explains their popularity. Multiple deck games will usually be based on even number of decks (up to 8 decks in the shoe at a time). Multiple decks allow the dealer to deal more hands per hour (less shuffling etc), which makes them more profitable for the casino, and they reduce the chances of a player ‘counting’. Dealers HAVE to follow straightforward rules, and must hit if they have 16 or less. On the other hand, if the dealer has 17 or more, he MUST stand, except in some smaller casinos, where he can hit on a ‘soft 17’.

You as the player can do anything you like, standing or hitting as it suits you. If you get a BlackJack (an Ace and a ten right off) you win 1 and a half times your bet. You can only double down on 2 card hands totaling 9, 10, or 11 (a very few casinos allow doubling on any 2 card hand). If your cards were dealt face down and you want to double, turn them over and put them on the dealer’s side of the betting square. Otherwise point to them and say ‘double’ when it’s your turn. You will have to put an equal amount of chips next to those already in the betting box (NEVER put new chips on top of old chips – it looks like cheating!). You will get one new card.

Splitting is kind of similar – cards dealt face down need to be turned over and placed them a little apart. Otherwise point at them and say ‘split’ when it’s your turn. Place an equal amount of chips in the betting box near the other card (remember, NEVER on top). You are now playing 2 hands exactly as normal (unless you just split two aces in which case you only get one card – a 10 would be good!. If it is a 10 the hand isn’t a BlackJack, meaning you only get the standard odds of 1/1 and not 1/1.5 as you would for a ‘natural’ BlackJack. Be careful how you split – it is possible to end up with 4 or 5 hands simultaneously! Likewise, it’s probably not good to split two 5s – you will be replacing a hand that is great for drawing on or doubling down on with (probably) 2 poor hands. Insurance only happens when the dealer’s face up card is an Ace, when the dealer will ask the players if they want insurance (he won’t know what his face down card or ‘hole’ card is at this point, so you won’t be able to read his expression for clues). Insurance means that half the player’s bet is placed on the ‘insurance’ semicircle printed on the felt. If the dealer gets a BlackJack the player wins the the insurance bet but loses the original bet meaning a zero hand because insurance pays 2 to 1. If the dealer does not get BlackJack, the insurance bet is lost and the hand is played normally with the remaining half bet. Don’t bother with insurance unless you are trying to card count (take it when the number of non ’10’ cards to 10s drops below the 2 to 1 margin). You may also come across ‘Surrender’ – it’s not widely used, but there are 2 versions you may find, ‘early surrender’ and ‘late surrender’.

Early surrender means quitting on 2 card hands if you don’t like the dealer’s up card (e.g. a ten or court card). Surrendering in this way will give you a small extra advantage whcih is why casinos don’t like it. Late surrender means waiting until the dealer checks for BlackJack, at which point if he doesn’t, you may decide to surrender. As we say, not very common, so ask before joining the table whether you can or not. And that’s it! Stay cool, and don’t panic, and nobody will guess you are a casino newbie!

Five Worst BlackJack Rules

Quick, can you tell me what are the five worst playing rules for blackjack? If you don’t know them then the next time you play blackjack you might just be bucking higher than normal odds. So let’s review these bummers to be sure you never play in a game that has them.
Blackjacks pay Even Money

This one stinks. Normally the casino pays 3 to 2 when a player gets a blackjack hand (and the dealer doesn’t also have blackjack). Getting paid 1 to 1 may not seem like a big deal but it is because the casino’s edge goes up by 2.3% (ouch).

Normally blackjack games that offer an even money payoff also have several other player favorable rules as a come on. A good example is SuperFun 21, which is offered in many casinos in Las Vegas. The game uses only a single deck of cards with liberal rules such as surrendering anytime including after hitting, doubling, or splitting. But the liberal rules do not come close to negating the 2.3% edge the house enjoys when it pays even money on blackjack hands. The bottom line is be very cautious when a casino only offers even money on a blackjack.
Blackjack pays 6 to 5

Oh come on, no casino would pay 6 to 5 for a blackjack hand you say? Well guess what? Walk up and down the strip in Las Vegas and you’ll find this game all over the place. The come on is that it’s advertised as a single deck game, which usually implies a good game for the player. But getting paid 6 to 5 on a blackjack is a much worse deal than getting paid the normal 3 to 2. How much less? For every $10 you bet and get a blackjack you’ll get paid $3 less. This increases the house edge by 1.2%.

What’s ironic is that these same casinos that offer this 6 to 5 abomination game also offer plenty of multiple deck games with a much lower house edge (partly because blackjacks are paid at the standard 3 to 2). Yet the last time I visited Las Vegas I observed all the 6 to 5 single deck tables packed with players while the multiple deck tables where much less crowded. I finally asked one player who had quit playing the 6 to 5 single deck payoff game why he choose to play it rather than the better multiple deck game. His response was that he thought 6 to 5 was a better payoff than 3 to 2. So much for the math skills of the average blackjack player (which is probably why the casinos in Las Vegas are blazingly getting away with offering this game to clueless tourists).
Doubling Down only on 11 or 10 or just 11

Often you’ll see this rule in single deck games where a player is restricted to doubling on a two card 10 and 11 (or just 11). This means you can’t double down on 9 or any soft hand (that’s not good). The house edge goes up by about 0.7% when you can only double on 11 and by 0.25% when you are restricted to just doubling on only 10 and 11.
Using 8 decks of Cards

Compared to a single deck game, the casino’s edge increases by 0.61% when 8 decks of cards are used. You would need several liberal rules to offset the 0.61% edge to make the game playable. At the minimum make sure the dealer stands on soft 17 and doubling after pair splitting is offered (ideally also late surrender).
Dealer Hits Soft 17

Many casinos (especially on the Las Vegas strip) have changed the dealer rule regarding soft 17. It used to be pretty standard that dealers must stand on all 17 hands (which includes a soft 17 hand). Nowadays, however, more casinos are changing to hit soft 17. That’s not a good change for the player because the casino edge increases by 0.20%. Given a choice you are better off playing where the rules require that dealers must stand on soft 17.

Probably the worse blackjack rule that I ever saw was dealer winning all ties. Yes, I know that’s the way you play it with your buddies when you get together for a friendly game of blackjack and poker. But in a casino, you should never play any blackjack game where the dealer wins ties. The standard casino rule is when your hand totals 21 or less and the dealer ends up with the same total, it’s a tie or push and you don’t lose or win your bet (but remember that a dealer blackjack hand beats a player’s three or more cards 21 hand). By winning tied hands the casino edge zooms by about 9%.

There are two things to keep in mind when you play blackjack. First, there has never been a game with exotic rules that has a lower house edge than the standard game. So before you decide to try a SuperFun 21 or other ‘new’; game you better check the rules.

Secondly, you should always try to pick your games carefully so that the overall mix of rules leads to a casino edge that’s as low as possible for the game you are playing (this of course assumes you know the basic playing strategy – if not, learn it!).

Dan Pronovost showed the effect of each rule on the house edge in his excellent article, Picking the Right Game, that appeared in issue #35 of the Blackjack Insider Newsletter (www.casino.com/newsletter/blackjack/archive/). This article is a good starting point to be sure you understand the impact a rule has on the house edge.

Often casinos will introduce new rules or games in their blackjack pits. An example is the new game Blackjack Switch, which recently had a trial run in Atlantic City and will soon be launched in casinos there and in Las Vegas (it’s also offered on the Internet). In this game you must play two hands and you are allowed to switch the two top cards. That very favorable player rule is offset by this new rule – when the dealer has 22, all player hands of 21 or less push (instead of win). So is the favorable switch rule offset by the very unfavorable push 22 rule? The answer is I don’t know at the moment but I’ve got several blackjack mathematicians working on this as we speak to determine the overall impact on the player (we hope to have it all unraveled in the next issue of the Blackjack Insider Newsletter).

That’s it for now. Stay positive and make sure you know the rules before you play.

By Henry Tamburin