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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TILT CONTROL – For beginners

In poker, tilt control refers to the ability to maintain logical thinking and therefore proper play analysis, despite an apparent string of bad luck.  In other words, playing with logic instead of emotion.

This is a part of the game that beginners can struggle with. Poker can be an extremely emotional game and if you can’t maintain a “poker face” you will just be helping your opponents beat you.

When you’re playing the smaller stakes games, with other beginners or just plain crazy players, logical play can be seen to go right out the window.  It’s at this time where tilt control will suit you best.

The best way to prevent tilt is to never allow yourself to get close to it.

HOW TO CONTROL TILT

Learn to identify what triggers tilt for you. Develop strategies to avoid those triggers.

Set a stop loss – This is giving yourself a limit as to the number of buy-ins you will allow yourself. If you know you will be on tilt if you have to buy-in for the 4th time, make sure you get up from the table if you’ve gone through 3 buy-ins.

Learn to quit early when things are not going your way. It will happen, so  be able to take a break and come back another time. Nobody wins all the time anyway.

Play at your best. Try to always play when you’re feeling most confident and mentally alert.

Play shorter sessions and include breaks – As a beginner it’s probably good to limit your playing sessions to 30 or 40 minutes at a time.  After that, at least get up and take a break, give your mind and body a chance to reset. Remember, you want to always be playing at your peak mental alertness.

Don’t get emotional – You have to be clear headed to make the proper decisions. Showing emotions usually results in bad play. The saying of having a “poker face” or showing no emotion is a part of good poker play.

Learn to expect the downswings –  If you realize that bad swings are going to happen, you should be able to let those times roll of your back with no emotional explosion.  If it starts to bother you, take a break.

Final Thoughts

The mental side of poker is a huge part of the game.  Learning to play within the boundaries of whatever triggers your tilt will be of tremendous value to you.  You will improve your game play much faster if you can control your tilt, because you will always be playing at your best. Tilt will hurt your game and help your opponents beat you.  Keep it under control.

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MOST LIBERAL 21

This blackjack variant is only played at the Plaza in downtown Las Vegas, and they only offer it at one table.  It was also offered at the closed down Las Vegas Club as well.

RULES

  • Blackjack pays even money, unless suited, which pays 2-1
  • Players can double down on 2, 3 or 4 cards
  • Players can split an infinite number of times
  • Aces can be split an infinite number of times, hit or doubled
  • Player automatically wins with a 6 card hand, 21 or less
  • Insurance is allowed, pays 2-1
  • Surrender is allowed
  • Dealer hits soft 17
  • Ties push

HOW TO PLAY

The game is played just like standard blackjack. Players are dealt 2 cards faceup and the dealer receives 2 cards, 1 faceup, 1 facedown.

The dealer will check for blackjack if his faceup card is an Ace or a 10-value card. Insurance is offered before the dealer checks for 21.

The play then continues as in regular blackjack, where each player can stand, hit, double down, split or surrender.

PAYOUTS

All winning bets pay even money, except for a suited blackjack. Any other blackjack pays even money.

STRATEGY

While strategy for this game is similar to regular blackjack, there are a few adjustments that should be made because of the ability to double after several cards.

For instance, if you have 9 and double, (receiving 1 additional card) then receive a 2, it would have been better to hit first and then double down on the 11.

You can find a strategy chart developed for this game online at Gamblingsites.com.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Despite the name, this game is far from the most liberal, due to the fact that blackjack only pays even money. While it seems more favorable to the player because the player can double down on 2, 3 or 4 cards, and therefore more interesting to try, the house edge is actual 1.33%. That is more than double the house edge in regular blackjack. It’s another variant interesting to try but not good if profit is your motive.

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ACE to FIVE CARD COUNTING SYSTEM – Modified

Most people think that card counting is difficult learn.  There are many different systems that have been devised, from simple to more complex.  A more complex system will give a more accurate count, so  it would be better, but even the simplest of systems will drop the house edge.

As a casino player, you want to reduce the house edge in any game you play.  With blackjack having the lowest house edge in all casino games, if you’re able to reduce that even a little bit more, the better the chance of having a profitable gambling session.

The true system was developed by Michael Shackleford, better known as the Wizard of Odds, and for astute mathematical analysis of casino games.

HOW IT WORKS

The reason the system is based on aces and fives, is because those two cards have the biggest influence on house edge when they are removed from the deck.

Because you focus on only two cards, it’s easier to learn.  The more complex systems have you thinking about more cards, making them more reliable.  However, if you can learn this easier system, it makes learning more complex systems easier.

This modified version starts with a count of 10 (as opposed to 0), done this way so you won’t have to work with negative numbers.  That can actually work with most systems, if you don’t like to work with negative numbers.

Each time you see a 5, add 1 to your count, each time you see an ace, subtract 1 from your count.  You use this count to determine how much your bet should be.  If the count is 11 or less, you stay with the minimum bet

When the count reaches 12 or 13, you want to double your bet. If the count gets to 14 or 15, you double your bet again. If the count reaches 16 or more, you again double the bet.

So, if thinking in terms of bet units and the minimum bet is 1 unit, as the count increases, you’re betting 1unit, 2units, 4units or 8units. It looks like this:

  • Count is 11 or less – bet 1 unit
  • Count is 12 or 13 – bet 2 units
  • Count is 14 or 15 – bet 4 units
  • Count is 16 or more – bet 8 units

Should the count get to 6 or lower, consider getting up from that table, as the house edge is probably higher than normal at that point.

FINAL THOUGHTS

That is the short and sweet of the system. The system should not take long to learn because it is quite simple.  If you can learn it, and use it while applying perfect basic blackjack strategy, you will probably do better than break even in the long run. 

Take the time to practice at home before trying it at a casino.  You have to be able to count, without looking like you’re counting. As your skills improve with this simple system, don’t be afraid to move up to a more advanced system.  Because you now understand the concept of card counting, it won’t be as difficult to learn more advanced techniques.  Good luck!

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