Smarter Bet Guide to Blackjack
by Basil Nestor
Strategy is the key to success at the blackjack table; that's a mathematical fact, and you can count on these expert, easy-to-learn tactics to make you a victor. Here's the deal: everything begins with the basic rules, and they're laid out on these pages with smart little “factoid” tips. Go through blackjack economics, which explain why cards fall the way they do, and what makes a good (and a sucker) bet. Easy-to-follow tables suggest strategies for splitting pairs and soft hands and provide dozens of other statistics and card probabilities.
Find Single Deck Blackjack Online!
Intercasino has a single-deck blackjack table with very favorable rules, even though the cards are reshuffled after each hand. The difference between it and the regular blackjack game is that the dealer must hit a soft 17. The resulting house edge for this game is a very low 0.07% and is the recommended game to play.
Q I'm a video poker player who occasionally enjoys a few hands of blackjack, so I usually play blackjack on a multi-game machine. The advantages of playing on a machine seem obvious, lower limits thanBasil Nestor is the author of the new Playboy Complete Guide to Casino Gambling. This wonderful book teaches players how to avoid sucker bets and win more when playing gambling games. He is also the author of The Smarter Bet Guide series for video poker, slots, craps, and many other books about gambling. Basil's website is www.smarterbet.com
the tables, and I always can find an empty seat. But I've noticed that most players prefer the tables. Why? What am I missing? Fifteen-dollar minimums?
A The free drinks are better at the tables.
Nooooooo... I'm kidding!
The main reason why tables are so popular is because video blackjack is generally a tougher game to beat. But don't blame the machines. It's actually the rules that make the video versions stingier than the table versions. Traditional blackjack usually pays 3:2 for naturals (ace and face/ten) and 1:1 for all other winning hands. Video blackjack typically pays 1:1 for everything. You can expect to see a "snapper" about once in every 21 hands. Losing that extra half bet adds a whopping 2.29% to the casino's advantage.
Also, most table games allow you to double down on any two cards, but video blackjack often restricts doubling to hands that total 10 or 11. That puts an additional 0.2% in the casino's pocket. Surrender (releasing your hand and losing one-half bet) is another option that is frequently available at a table but rarely available on a machine. Surrender is worth 0.07% (assuming you use basic strategy). And of course, the machine reshuffles after every hand; this is good news for a basic strategy player, but it makes counting cards impossible.
On the flip side, video blackjack is usually dealt from a single deck. That's about 0.5% better than the multiple decks found at most tables.
When all the advantages and disadvantages are combined, the house gets about 2% more on video blackjack than it does on the table game. Nevertheless, if you prefer to bet $1 per hand rather than the typical $10 or $15 minimum at most tables, then you should stick to the machines. Saving 2% while risking ten times more is simply bad math. On the other hand, if the choice is $5 at the table or $5 in a machine, then choose the table, but always check the rules before playing. I've seen single-deck table games that paid 1:1 for naturals sitting just a few feet away from multiple-deck games that paid 3:2. People were rushing to play a single-deck blackjack
game, completely oblivious to the mathmatic advantage they were giving away.
Want to know more about blackjack basic strategy
? Check out The Smarter Bet Guide to Blackjack. It has strategies for multiple-deck games, single-deck games, and even a strategy for Spanish 21. The online world also provides live dealer casinos
if you want the next best to the real thing.
Enjoy the game!