21 BURN BLACKJACK-Rules & Play

This is a blackjack variant found at online casinos, as it was developed by software provider Betsoft.  It is played like standard blackjack except that the player is allowed to “burn” or reject, his second card and accept another card.

It’s similar to Burn 20 blackjack, reviewed here, but the player gets to burn the card, instead of the dealer. The player must make the Burn wager, equal to half the original bet.

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RULES

  • Six decks used
  • Dealer hits soft 17
  • Blackjack pays even money
  • Can double any two cards, even after a split
  • Pairs splits only once
  • No surrender
  • Insurance is allowed
  • Cannot burn after a split
  • Burn bet must equal half the original bet
  • Dealer peeks at hole card for blackjack
  • An ace and 10 after burning a card is treated as blackjack

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PLAY OF THE GAME

The hand starts with the player placing a wager onto the betting circle.  Then two cards are dealt to the player and dealer, with one face up for the dealer.  If the dealer has an ace up, player can take insurance, and then dealer checks for blackjack. 

After any insurance bets are taken care of, the player decides if he wants to burn his 2nd card. If so, he places the burn bet and receives a random card.

At this point, play continues as in standard blackjack, with the options to  double down, split or stand.

Once the dealer’s hand plays out, winnings are paid on the original bet and burn bet and then a new hand begins.

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BURN BET PAYTABLE

The burn bet is a built-in side bet.  If you receive an ace, it will pay 2:1 or 7:1 depending on the ace.  If you receive any other card, that bet is lost.

  • Ace of spades – pays 7 to 1
  • All other aces – pay 2 to 1
  • All other cards – loss
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STRATEGY

The overall play is similar to standard blackjack, but the burn bet should only be used in certain situations. By burning a card, you’re hoping to get lucky with a card that will improve your hand, for half the amount of your original bet.

As with most side bets in blackjack, the burn bet is negative.  According to the experts, a player will lose 67.31% of the burn bet money they wager.  With that in mind, the burn bet should only be used when:

  • The first card is a 7, the second card is an 8 or 9, and the dealer shows a 7
  • The first card is an 8, the second card is a 4 or 5, and the dealer shows a 7
  • The first card is an 8, the second card is a 6 or 7, and the dealer shows a 7 or 8
  • The first card is an 8, the second card is a 9, and the dealer shows a 9
  • The first card is a 9, the second card is a 3, and the dealer shows a 9, 10, or ace
  • The first card is a 9, the second card is a 4, and the dealer shows a 10 or ace
  • The first card is a 9, the second card is a 5, and the dealer shows a 10
  • The first card is a 9, the second card is a 6 or 7, always burn
  • The first card is a 9, the second card is an 8, and the dealer shows an 8, 9 or ace
  • The first card is a 10, the second card is a 7, except if dealer shows a 3, 4, 5, or 6
  • The first card is a 10, the second card is a 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6, always burn

You can find a chart form of this strategy at The Wizard of Odds.com

While that may seem like a long list, you rarely want to burn your second card. You should notice that burning the second card should only be considered if your first card is 7, 8, 9 or 10.

Remember, the burn bet is highly negative and should be used sparingly, only when the odds of winning the initial bet are considerably improved.

WHERE TO PLAY

Best online casinos to play this:

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FINAL THOUGHTS

If you’re bored with standard blackjack, here’s another variant that will have you thinking and challenge your game play.  Though the burn bet is enticing, remember it’s a sucker bet like most side bets, and you should only play it in certain situations. If you know basic strategy, you can have fun with the challenges of this variant.

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BASIC ROULETTE STRATEGY

While roulette is not a hard game to understand, the problem is learning how to bet properly. As in any game of chance, there is no fool-proof method to winning consistently.

How to Play

There is an American version and a European version, the difference being the “double zero” slot found in the American version. Players place their bets on the roulette table and watch as the croupier spins the roulette wheel in one direction and rolls the roulette ball in the opposite direction.  Once the ball stops and lands in a numbered slot, if you placed a bet on the number that the ball landed in, you’re a winner!  Once all bets are paid off for that spin, it starts all over again, a very simple process.

How to Bet

Each player is given a different color chip, so the croupier knows which player to pay on different bets.  He can also guess the player jumping up and down is probably the one who won his bet. There will also be a table minimum bet.

There are two basic areas for betting in roulette, the inside and the outside. The minimum bet for the table is usually the same for inside and outside, however, the inside bet can cover multiple bets, whereas the outside bet covers one spot and must be that minimum.  For example, a $5 minimum inside bet can be $1 on 5 different numbers, and an outside $5 minimum bet is a $5 bet on one option.

Types of Inside Bets

  • Single Number – Straight bet – pays 35:1, the riskiest, but most rewarding
  • Two Numbers – Split bet – pays 17:1, your chips are placed on the line splitting 2 numbers
  • Three Numbers – Street bet – pays 11:1, your chips are placed on the line that separates the inside and outside of the table
  • Four Numbers – Corner or Square bet – pays 8:1, your chips are placed on the line intersecting all four numbers
  • Six Numbers – Double Street bet – pays 5:1, your chips are placed on the line between two rows of numbers, between the inside and outside of the table
  • In American roulette, there is a five number bet that pays 6:1, your chips are placed on the line beside the zero, double zero and numbers 1-3

Keep in mind that the inside bets have the best payouts, because they have the highest house edge and you have to assess the risks vs. the rewards.

Types of Outside Bets

  • Red or Black – pays 1:1, chips are placed on the red or black diamond
  • Odd or Even – pays 1:1, chips are placed on the odd or even rectangle
  • Field Bets – pays 1:1, chips are placed in the rectangles marked 1-18, or 19-36
  • Dozen Bet – pays 2:1, chips are placed in the rectangles marked 1st 12, 2nd 12 or 3rd 12
  • Column Bet – pays 2:1, also a 12 number bet, chips are placed in the squares at the end of the number columns

Outside bets are safer bets and therefore have lower payouts.

Best Tips and Strategy

  1. Beware of the house edge – Understand that the house edge in American Roulette is 5.26% (it’s 2.7% in the European game) which is big compared to the .5% house edge in blackjack. There are better ways than roulette, to make money in a casino.
  2. Manage your bankroll wisely – as in most casino games, give yourself a loss limit before you step to the table
  3. Control your emotions – if you keep calm while having fun, the smarter bets you’ll make and hopefully win more money
  4. Stick to the outside bets – While they have the lowest payouts, they are the safest bets, with more consistent payouts over the long run.
  5. Stay away from betting systems – There are popular betting systems, such as The Martingale System, associated with roulette, but for the most part, you’ll lose your bankroll quick if you run into a bad streak. As a beginner, don’t try to use any roulette betting system, just play for the fun and the experience.

FINAL THOUGHTS

In a casino, the roulette table can produce some of the loudest cheers. It’s a fun game that can have huge payouts for the players. There is no absolute strategy with this game of chance.  Each roll is a separate occurrence and you must remember the old adage “the wheel has no memory.”  Give it a chance, just for the fun of it!

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WAR BLACKJACK

It was first played in Las Vegas in 2013 and won the Raving Table Games Conference Best New Table Game of the year at the convention.

The good thing about this variant is that it’s not complicated at all because the difference is that it includes a side bet called the War Bet. It is a combination of blackjack and the card game war.

RULES

  • Can be based on any blackjack rules
  • For purposes of the War bet, Aces count as 1, all other cards are ranked as in poker (KvsQ is not a tie, it’s a win for the King)
  • Dealer wins War bet ties
  • The War bet is based on the first cards for the player and dealer
  • If the player wins the War bet, he can either collect his war wager and winnings or collect the war wager only and parlay the winnings by adding it to the blackjack wager
  • War bet pays even money
  • Once the player and dealer have 2 cards, the hand plays out like traditional blackjack
  • Double down is allowed
  • Splitting is allowed
  • Insurance is allowed
  • Surrender is not allowed
  • Dealer hits soft 17

PLAY OF THE GAME

To start the hand, the player first makes a regular blackjack bet and a War bet if he wants.  The War bet is actually optional and doesn’t have to be made.  The War bet is only defined by table limits, it does not have to be any multiple of the blackjack bet.

The dealer deals the player a card and himself a card face up.  Whichever card is higher by rank, wins the War the bet.

As mentioned in the rules, if the player wins the War bet, he has two options. He can collect the bet and the winnings, or collect just the winnings and add the bet to his blackjack bet.

After that decision has been made, play continues with the player receiving a second card and the dealer receiving a second card face down.

If the dealer has a 10 or Ace showing, insurance is offered.  If the dealer doesn’t have blackjack, play continues as a standard game, where the player may hit, stand, double, or split.  The hand closest to 21, without going over wins.

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STRATEGY

Of course, the regular blackjack part of the game should be played with basic blackjack strategy.  The War bet is where some different strategy should be implemented.

Fortunately, it only involves a few decisions:

  • Never parlay the bet if the dealer shows an Ace or 10-value card
  • Never parlay the bet if you win with a 5 or lower
  • If you win with a six or higher, parlay only if your card and the dealer’s card total 11 or more
  • The only exception to the above rule is to parlay an 8 against a dealer’s 2

FINAL THOUGHTS

While it is basically traditional blackjack with a side bet, the house edge is heightened just a bit to 1.16% because of that.  But remember, the War bet is optional, so you can play at the table as if were regular blackjack, which would bring the house edge back down to .5%.

War blackjack seems to be available only in live casinos in Las Vegas, California, South Dakota and Oklahoma.  It makes blackjack fun to have an extra side bet if you want it.

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BE A SMART GAMBLER

Is it really possible to be a smart gambler?  In terms of casino games, where you’re more than likely to lose your bet, it doesn’t seem that anybody could be a smart gambler.  You just have to realize that to be a smart gambler doesn’t mean you’ll always win.  I think you can consider yourself a smart gambler if you can become a better gambler.

SET A LOSS LIMIT – Stick to it!

You’ve probably heard the old adage, don’t play with money you can’t afford to lose.  Well that’s a very good place to start.  To be smart, give yourself a loss limit before even stepping into a casino.

While that is an easy thing to say, what gets most people in trouble is that they go into a casino with more than their loss limit. The typical gambler will enter a casino with $400 and tell themselves that they’ll stop if they lose $200. 

Many casino games play at a very fast pace and that $200 will be gone in 20 minutes!  You’ll be shocked and telling yourself “I just got here, I want to play a little more.”  There’s the hook the casino threw and you grabbed it! You’ll play with that extra $200, but hopefully at a slower pace, but then it’s gone in another 30 minutes. Wow, $400 dollars gone in about 1 hour! But was it fun?  The first $200 was fun because you knew you could afford to lose that, but the 2nd $200 probably hurt a bit.  Give yourself a limit and stick to it!

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DON’T GET GREEDY

Just like a loss limit, you should also have in mind a win amount you would be happy with.  While I’m not saying stop playing when the dice are rolling your way, or the cards a coming your way, but stop when it starts to go bad.

Of course you want to keep playing when it’s going well and you’re winning every other hand or so, but recognize when the winning stops and pull yourself away.

Let’s say you go in thinking I’ll be happy winning $150 and a winning streak has you up $500.  At that point, the cards turn and the next thing you know, you’re back down to up $100.  Now you’re mad at yourself because you were up more the 2.5 times what you wanted, but have backed it down to less than you wanted.  Teach yourself to walk away when the winning streak has come to an end and take the winnings you’re given!  Don’t be greedy!

You have to remember, the longer you play any casino game, the more you’re apt to lose! Stay long, play wrong! In the long run, the casino always wins.

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KNOW THE ODDS

All casino games have a house edge, so the idea is to play those with the lowest house edge.

Ranking of casino games by house edge:

  • Blackjack: .5%
  • Video Poker: .5% – 3%
  • Craps: .6% – 1.4%
  • Baccarat: 1.2%
  • Poker: 2.5% – 5.2%
  • Roulette: 5.3%
  • Slots: 5% – 10%
  • Keno: 27%

You should know not to play slots expecting a profit.  The only thing worse than slots is Keno, which explains why you never see too many people playing Keno. (at least I don’t see many Keno players) But then again, how do you explain slots players? Slots are fun!  The thrill of hitting a jackpot just can’t be overstated!

You can have fun at all the games in a casino.  To be smart though, try to stick with Blackjack, Craps or Baccarat.  You will have the best chance to win with those games.  Understanding the odds, will allow you to better manage your winnings. What is more fun than winning?

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PLAY WITH PROPER STRATEGY

While the games have rules that give the house the edge, there are perfect strategies that can be played to cut down the house edge and give you a better chance to win. 

There are often side bets in many table games, but you have to understand they are usually sucker bets.  You will never find a strategy book that will tell you any side bet is proper strategy. 

If you make bad plays, you don’t play smart.  If you don’t play smart, you don’t gamble smart.

BE CAREFUL WITH BETTING SYSTEMS

Betting systems give you a specific way to make your wagers.  There are a lot of different systems out there and they profess to be the best way to manage your bankroll.

While most of them will help you win big if things are running favorably, but they can’t change the house edge.  Remember, in the long run, the house edge wins out and the systems won’t help you when things go sour.

FINAL THOUGHTS

To be a smart gambler, you have to learn how maximize your winnings and limit your losses. The best way to do that is to know which games to play, play them with perfect strategy and recognize when things are not going your way.

The only sure thing with gambling is that you will probably lose in the long run. Unless your goal is to be a professional gambler, do it just for fun and you will be a smart casino gambler.

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TRIPLE ATTACK BLACKJACK

If you’re looking for a blackjack variant with a challenge, you can stop right here.  Triple Attack Blackjack was first introduced in 2010 and actually won the best new table game of the year award that year.

The game was created by Galaxy Gaming, known as being “distinctively different” in what they do. It is a game that will truly test your blackjack skills.

The gist of the game is being able to “attack” your hand with more wagers as the hand develops.  The player can add to their bet after seeing their first card and add again after seeing the dealer’s up card. As you can image, this would create a big player advantage, so of course there are rules to offset that advantage.

RULES

Rules are the same as classic blackjack except for the following exceptions:

  • Uses Eight 48-card decks-all tens are removed, called a Spanish deck
  • Dealer hits soft 17
  • Can double any number of cards, even after a split
  • Split any 2 cards, up to four hands
  • Aces may be split up to four hands
  • Blackjack pays even money, wins even if dealer has blackjack
  • Insurance is allowed, pays 2-1, pays 5-1 if dealer has suited blackjack
  • If Dealer busts with 22, all remaining players push
  • Six card Charlie wins, total of 21 or less with 6 cards

PLAY OF THE GAME

Play of the hand starts with the players placing their initial bets, referred to as the first attack.

The dealer then deals the first cards to the players.  The players now can make a 2nd attack, or bet, based on just that card, without seeing the dealer’s card.  This bet must be equal to the first bet.

Once all players have decided to make or not make a 2nd attack, the dealer deals a card to himself, face up.

The players now have the option to make a 3rd attack bet, equal to the first bet. A 3rd attack bet is allowed even if you didn’t make a 2nd attack, so for a hand, the player can have 1,2 or 3 bets at risk. (not counting side bets)

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After all 3rd bets are made, the dealer deals a second card to the players and himself (his card is face down)

If the dealer has an Ace up, he will ask if anybody wants insurance.  Winning insurance bets pay 2-1, but 5-1 if the blackjack is suited.

Play continues as in classic blackjack.  If you beat the dealer, your win pays even money.

Bonus Side Bets:

  1. Suited Royals – Pays if your first two cards are suited, K-Q pays 40:1, other suited face cards pay 10:1, any other suited cards pay 2:1
  2. Triple Match – Pay is based on player and dealer’s up card combined,  suited 3 of a kind pays 150:1, not suited 3 of a kind pays 20:1, suited pair pays 4:1, not suited pair pays 2:1
  3. Insurance – Considered a bonus bet because it pays 5:1 for suited blackjack

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STRATEGY

As you can imagine, strategy for this version would be a bit more complicated than that of classic blackjack.  Every new card dealt, can mean a different action should be employed.

The first attack is the initial bet, so that is mandatory.  The 2nd and 3rd attacks are optional and determined by the dealt cards.

The second attack should only be made if you receive a face card or an ace.  Whether or not a third attack is made, depends on your card and the dealer’s up card.

Strategy for playing the hand is quite varied because of the number cards you can end up with as a result of doubling and splitting.  The Wizard of Odds has created several useful strategy charts, found here, that I would refer to.

House edge in this game is said to be 1.17%.

FINAL THOUGHTS

This has got to be one of the most challenging versions of blackjack around.  If you find classic blackjack too easy and boring, try this for a change of pace.  It will take more concentration to beat this game, than classic blackjack.  I’m guessing only the best players can find the fun in this version, for most it will be a formidable opponent.  Are you up for the challenge?

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CRAPS FOR BEGINNERS – Basic Play & Strategy

As you walk into any casino and figure you’ll head to where all the noise is coming from, you’ll probably find yourself at a craps table.  If you thought you could never understand how to play the game, you’re wrong and I’m going to show you how easy it is to play the game.

Game Objectives

First, keep in mind that casino games can’t be too difficult to play, or people wouldn’t play.  The first thought for making a casino game is that it should be easy to play.

I think what scares people with craps is that at first glance, the craps table looks very confusing.  There are a lot of sections, with all kinds of images of dice combinations, words and numbers.

The goal of the game is to bet on the outcome of the roll of two dice.  The fun of the game is that there are several different bets you can make.  Understanding all the bets is the complicated part, but fortunately you can still have fun, and win, just playing a couple of the simple bets.

Game Setup

The craps table is specially designed and features a betting layout where players place their bets. The players stand all around the table, as many as can fit comfortably. It can also be uncomfortable if it’s crowded!

One player is designated as the shooter and rolls the dice.  Everybody at the table will have a chance to become the shooter if they want to, though you can choose not to roll.  Some casinos require the shooter to place a bet as well.

Anybody at the table can place a wager, even the shooter, by placing their chips on their chosen bet spot.

There are usually at least 4 casino employees controlling the game.  They are the Boxman, the Stickman, and the Base dealers.

The boxman is in charge of the chips at the table. He/she will exchange cash for chips, supervise the dealers and basically make sure the game runs smoothly.

The stickman is in charge of the dice, moving them around to pass to the shooter, with a stick(ergo the name) and announces the outcome of the dice roll.

The base dealers, usually 2, stand at the ends of the table to payout winners and collect losing bets. They can also help place bets for players who can’t reach the correct spot.

Play of the Game

A round of play starts with what is called the come out roll, made after all bets have been placed.  This is the first roll of the shooter.

If this roll is a 2, 3, or 12 it’s considered “crapping out” and the round is over. Players will win don’t pass bets and players will lose pass line bets.  If this first roll is 7 or 11, players will lose don’t pass bets and players will win pass line bets, and the round is over.

If any other number is rolled, it establishes a “point.” Once a point is established, the shooter continues to roll until the point number is rolled again or a 7 is rolled. 

As additional rolls are made, bets are being placed on the outcome of those rolls.

A round is complete if the point is rolled or a 7 is rolled.  The shooter remains the same if the point is hit, however, if 7 is rolled, the dice are passed to the next shooter.

Types of Bets

The list of available bets in craps is:

  • Pass line
  • Don’t Pass
  • Come
  • Don’t Come
  • Pass Line Odds
  • Don’t Pass Odds
  • Come Odds
  • Don’t Come Odds
  • Place Win
  • Place Lose
  • Buy
  • Lay
  • Big 6
  • Big 8
  • Hardways
  • Field
  • Any 7
  • Any 11
  • Any Craps
  • Ace Duece
  • Aces
  • Boxcars

With this long list of possible wagers, it is totally conceivable how play of the game can be considered confusing.  They really aren’t that hard to understand (click here for bet details) and you don’t even have to understand them all to enjoy the game.

Beginners Strategy

Best bets to make:

  • Pass line bets with free odds
  • Come bets with free odds
  • Place bets on 6 or 8
  • Go with the streak if you’re winning
  • Copy the bets the player with the most money is making
  • Don’t make the high odds bets
  • Don’t listen to the dealer’s appeals for high odds bets
  • Backup your Pass/Don’t Pass bets and Come/Don’t Come bets with the allowed Odds bets
  • Remember to pick up your winnings between rolls or they will be considered a bet.  Sometimes all the cheering makes people forget they won!

The first 3 bets have the lowest house edge, which is why they’re the safest bets.  They’re easy bets to make and you can actually make a decent profit if a shooter gets on a roll.  You don’t need to understand any other bet.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I hope I’ve given you enough information to not be afraid of trying craps.  The basics of the game are not difficult to grasp. Everything in a casino is a gamble, but it can also be fun. Craps can become quite the party if a player gets hot with the dice.  Play with money you can afford to lose and have fun!

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POWER BLACKJACK

Power Blackjack is a variant that creates the impression of player advantage with the “Power Double” and the “Power Split.”  However, as with any variant or casino game, the house actually always has the advantage.

The game used to be available in Las Vegas, but now is primarily found at online casinos.  It was created in 2012, by Geoff Hall, renowned inventor of several blackjack variants.

RULES

  • Six 52-card decks are used
  • Blackjack pay 3:2
  • Surrender not allowed
  • Dealer stands on any 17
  • Double on any 2 cards allowed
  • Double after split allowed
  • Any two cards can be split
  • Can split up to four times (varies by casino)
  • Cannot resplit aces
  • Power Double – If your first two cards total 9, 10 or 11, you can double down and if you don’t like the next card, you can discard that card and get the next card (some casinos allow power double only on 10 and 11)
  • Power Split – If your first two cards total hard 15 or 16, you can split
  • If dealer busts with 22, all remaining players push

Rules may vary depending on where you play, so be sure to review house rules.

PLAY OF THE GAME

Other than the above rule variances, the game is played exactly like traditional blackjack.

With the online version, the power options are automatically lit up for your choice. If the power double or power split is successful, lightning bolts shoot from the cards.

STRATEGY

As you can imagine, strategy is a bit different for this variant.  The house edge can be dropped to about .23% if you play with perfect strategy, taking advantage of the power plays at the appropriate times. 

The Wizard of Odds has created an optimum strategy chart for Power Blackjack, which you can review here.

Three situations where the power double should not be taken:

  • Stand on 20 or 21
  • Stand on a total of 19, except a 2-card 11 facing a dealer 10
  • Stand on a total of 18, except facing a dealer 7

Online versions sometimes offer strategy tables for you as well. Some strategic plays seem counter to logic, such as doubling a soft 19 or soft 20, but because of the Power Double aspect, expert calculations prove it to be advantageous over the long run. 

The Power Split option provides a whole other level of strategic play.  You should obviously always split a 15 or 16, the game’s most difficult hands to play and the reason this variant was invented.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The ability to double down and split cards has always been a big part of the fun of blackjack.  This version takes doubling and splitting to the next level, which explains the attraction to Power Blackjack.

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BACCARAT – Beginner’s Strategy

Baccarat holds of bit of mystique for the casual gambler.  You may or may not see a lot of people at the baccarat tables in casinos. The casual gambler feels that it’s a high stakes game that is hard to understand and play. The truth is baccarat is actually very simple to play, and there may be only one good strategy.

RULES OF PLAY

The goal of the game is to bet on who will have the winning hand.  There are 3 bets you can make in baccarat, The Banker’s Bet, The Player’s Bet and The Tie bet.

  • Played with 3 dealers and 12 to 14 players
  • Six to eight decks are used
  • Aces count as 1
  • Face cards and 10’s count as 10
  • All remaining cards count as their face value
  • Suit doesn’t matter
  • Object of the game is to get as close to 9 as possible
  • Player wins automatically with Natural 8 or 9
  • Player must hit 5 or less
  • Banker stands on 7 or more
  • Banker must hit 0, 1, or 2

PLAY OF THE GAME

Play begins with all players, including the dealer, placing their bets on the banker, the player, or a tie.  The dealer traditionally bets on the banker.  The dealer can be the casino dealer or a player.  Bets can be placed on more than one bet.

Once bets are placed, everybody receives two cards, including the banker. The two cards are added up and the last digit of that total is your score.  For instance, if you receive a 9 and a 3, the total is 12, so your score is 2.  The scores will always be between 0 and 9, and it is impossible to bust. 

Whether or not a third card is dealt, is determined by strict game rules.

A two-card total of 8 or 9 is considered a Natural for the player and wins, the hand is over and payouts are made.

Depending on totals, a third card may be dealt. If the player total is 5 or less they must hit and receive 1 more card.

The banker’s play is determined by what the player has done. It is as follows:

  • If the player’s third card is a 9, 10 or Ace, the banker will draw with a total of 0-3 and stand with a total of 4-7
  • If the player’s third card is an 8, the banker will draw with a total of 0-2 and stand with a total of 3-7
  • If the player’s third card is a 6 or 7, the banker will draw with a total of 0-6 and stand with a total of 7
  • If the player’s third card is a 4 or 5, the banker will draw with a total of 0-5 and stand with a total of 6 or 7
  • If the player’s third card is a 2 or 3, the banker will draw with a total of 0-4 and stand with a total of 5-7

Once all the cards are dealt, the hand total that is closest to 9 wins.  If the player and the dealer have the same total, it’s a tie and no one wins.  The bets on the player and the banker are returned and the tie bet is paid off.

PAYOUTS

If the banker has the highest total, that bet is paid 1:1, less 5% commission

If the player has the highest total, that bet is paid 1:1

If it is a tie, that bet is paid 8:1, or 9:1 (depending on the casino)

The banker bet includes a commission payment because the banker has a slight advantage

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BEST BEGINNER STRATEGY

Always bet on the banker.  Despite the fact that a commission is taken, it’s still the best bet.  It’s a very simple strategy and practically the only strategy.

You only have to consider what the house edge is in baccarat to understand.  The house edge for the banker’s bet is 1.06%.  The house edge for the player’s bet is 1.24% and the house edge for the tie bet is ridiculous.  Most table games seem to have a sucker bet and the tie bet is the sucker bet for baccarat.

So if you want to gamble at a casino table game or online, without basically thinking, just sit at a baccarat table and only bet the banker and figure out when you’d like to cash out your winnings! 

There really is no skill in Baccarat, it’s about luck. Once you’ve placed your bet, there’s nothing else for you to control. You just want to truly understand the rules so you can know why you won or lost a bet.

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PLAYER’S CHOICE 21

This variant of blackjack combines blackjack and three-card poker and was first played in 2013, at the Palazzo in Las Vegas.

The player makes three equal bets, two apply to two separate blackjack hands and the third will apply to a 3-card poker hand.

The player is allowed to choose which card will be the “common” card for the blackjack hands.

RULES & PLAY OF THE GAME

  • 6 or 8 52-card decks are used
  • Cards are valued the same as in classic blackjack
  • Play begins with player making 3 bets, 2 for blackjack and 1 for 3-card poker (blackjack bets must be equal, poker bet must at least match, but can be more)
  • Player is dealt 3 face up cards and the dealer gets one card face up, one card face down
  • The 3 card poker hand is paid off first, based on the chart below
  • The player then forms his blackjack hands, declaring which card will be the common card, the common card is placed in the middle
  • Cards cannot be moved once the first player has acted
  • Players are offered insurance if dealer shows an ace, may insurance only 1 hand
  • The dealer then checks for blackjack if showing an ace
  • At this point, regular blackjack rules are followed, giving the player the options of stand, hit, double down, or split
  • Surrender is not allowed
  • Blackjack pays 3-2
  • Depending on casino, dealer must stand on 17’s
  • Double any two cards
  • Double after split allowed
  • Split up to four hands
  • Aces split only once
  • Cannot draw on split aces

3 Card Poker Bonus Payout:

  • 75-1  A-K-Q suited (mini royal flush)
  • 60-1  Suited 3 of a Kind
  • 20-1  Straight Flush
  • 10-1  3 of a Kind
  •   2-1  Straight
  •   3-2  Flush
  •   1-1  Pair
  • Loss  Anything else

STRATEGY

While basic strategy is used once the blackjack hands are set, The Wizard of Odds has developed a chart, (check here) suggesting the proper way to split the cards you receive.

The only other strategic move suggested is to make your poker hand bet the same as the blackjack bets, despite having the option to make it more.  This bet is where the casino ups it’s edge, with the seemingly player-friendly rules.  That bet actually increases the house edge by about 25%.

FINAL THOUGHTS

While it appears to be a player-friendly variant, that forced 3rd poker hand bet, takes back all player advantages. You also want to keep in mind that you’re actually playing 3 bets each hand, that can be expensive.  With a minimum bet of $5, you actually have to play $15 each hand.  It would be a fun variant to try if you have a bigger bankroll.

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STADIUM BLACKJACK – A New Way to Play

Stadium blackjack is not necessarily a variant of classic blackjack, but a new way to play the game. It is sort of a combination of live casino blackjack and online blackjack. It is being added to more and more land-based casinos at a steady rate.

The name comes from the fact that up to 44 players (may vary by casino) compete with 2 live dealers, in a stadium setting.  Each player has their own terminal and is able to choose which dealer they want to play against.

It is great for large groups, couples and people who don’t like the possible haggling at real tables.  While the terminals are close together, there is much less interaction between players.

PLAY OF THE GAME

Once you sit at a terminal, you make a deposit and it is up to you to decide when you want to start to play.

The table minimum is usually $5 at these games, which is considered a bargain at most casinos.

All players place their bets first, you’re given 30 seconds to make the initial bet, all other plays (hit, stand, etc.) must be within 10 seconds. If you don’t make a play within 10 seconds, the game will automatically “stand” for you.

Three cards are then dealt, 2 community cards for the players and 1 card for the dealer. The community cards are called that because all players will use those same cards as their own first 2 cards.

Once the players receive their 2 cards, they have 10 seconds to decide whether to hit, stand, double, split or surrender(if available).

Now comes the interesting part.  Since each player can choose their own action, additional community cards will continue to be drawn until all players either stand or bust.  Once all player hands have been “locked,”  additional community cards are drawn for the dealer to complete his hand.

Quick Example:

Players get a Queen and a six, while the dealer gets a King.   Some players will hit, (the proper play) and others will stand. Those that choose to hit will get the next community card on their terminal, those that stood will have their hand “locked” and unable to use any more community cards.  Each player is able to make their own decision of play. Let’s say the next card is a two, giving those still in the hand a total of 18. Hopefully all of them stand at that point, so is a group with 16 total and a group with 18 total.

The dealer will now deal the next community card for himself and it’s a 7, so half the players win, half the player lose.

Once the hand is done, the cards go back to the shuffler and the next hand is dealt.

While there is a giant dealer’s display, players can watch the play of the game at their own terminal.

RULE VARIATIONS

Of course each casino can have their own rules variations, such as allowing surrender or not.  Most casinos will only pay 6:5 on blackjack in this game, instead of 3:2, upping the house edge.

There are additional side bets available like Royal Match 21 and Bet the Set 21. As in regular blackjack, these are considered sucker bets!

FINAL THOUGHTS

The appeal of this game lies in the low table minimum, the ability to play without hassle from other players, the ability to sit out a hand or two without getting up and that the machine will automatically total your cards for you!

It is regular blackjack that can be played without all the bad social interaction, yet in a very social environment. It’s like playing at home, but at the casino. Play is faster, which could be good or bad depending how you look at it.  It’s a fun twist that gives classic blackjack a different feel.

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