BOVADA CASINO Review

I’m taking the time to look at Bovada casino because it is one the top ranked online casinos for US players.

There are only 12 US states that permit online gambling and therefore most US gamblers are forced to play at offshore sites.  This means there’s little recourse if you feel you got ripped off, so you want to be sure you’re playing at a legitimate and honest site.

Bovada is an online casino, sportsbook and poker room that belongs in the PaiWangLuo Network of US casino sites.  That network is the biggest US friendly poker network.

Bovada offers plenty of action packed casino games, widely considered the easiest to beat on the internet.  They have single deck blackjack that will have only a .19% house edge if you can employ perfect blackjack strategy.  They also offer plenty of tournaments to try your luck at if that’s what you prefer.

Basic Info

It was launched in 2011 and is well established as a legitimate and trustworthy site that provides prompt payouts, despite being unregulated and unlicensed in the US.

It is US player friendly, except for players in Delaware, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey and New York.

They have over 150 casino games, including numerous slots, video poker and a variety of table games.

Their support is friendly, helpful and quick, even without live chat.

Their sportsbook offers action on over a dozen sports and entertainment activities, plus live betting of parlays, straight bets, props and more.

It is also mobile-friendly if that’s your preference.  There is no download required, just bring up the website on your mobile device and start playing.

Bonuses

While their poker bonuses are considered a little skimpy, the deposit bonuses for new customers are considered great.  They have a huge 100% match up to $1000 casino bonus, with a 25X rollover requirement.  That can be done 3 times. Different games contribute at different rates to this rollover bonus, so you must be aware.  Slots count at 100% so they would make it easier to clear the way for redeeming the bonus.

There is a potential of $3000 in welcome deposit bonuses!  Because of the 25x rollover requirement (actually industry standard competitive) it will take some time before you’re able to withdraw any of that bonus money.

The poker bonus is 100% welcome bonus good for up to $500 on a player’s initial deposit.  There are other online casinos that will offer better overall poker bonuses than that, but Bovada does admit they want to primarily appeal to recreational players.

Banking

They do seem to prefer cryptocurrency, but do take credit cards, bank transfers and deposits using payment processors. Bitcoin is their favorite form of money transfer because they don’t have to deal with middleman fees and the transfers can be anonymous.

If you are familiar with Bitcoin and use Coinbase as your Bitcoin exchange vehicle, don’t use it with Bovada because Coinbase does ban users who try to use their service for gambling.  Try to find another intermediary wallet for Bitcoin exchange, which can be expensive.

Support

Bovada does have a FAQ section that has a lot of simple and common questions already answered, so it is a great resource for help.  If you can’t find an answer there, emailed questions are generally answered within 24 hours.  They have also be known to phone customers if there is suspicious activity on an account.

Sportsbook Betting Options

They have one of the largest selections of betting markets, beginning with the usual sports, to the unusual of Cricket, eSports, Handball, Olympic Games, Politics, Snooker, and Handball.

There are a variety of bets you can make, like parlays, props and spreads, to interactive live bets like who will catch the next pass.

Sportsbook Betting Limits

Because they are focusing on recreational players, their minimum bet is $1, with the maximum bet ranges from $100 to about $2000, depending on the game or bet you’re making.  For professional gamblers, this may seem low.

They do get complaints regarding dual prices, in that there is a “better” rate for the recreational player who makes smaller bets, and a less favorable rate for the “competent” bettor who makes larger bets.  However, it’s been said that if you can get a great rate on your first big bet, take it and run because you’ll probably be tagged as a “competent” bettor for your next bet!

Blackjack Games

They do not have a big variety of blackjack games.  Their games include: Blackjack, Double Deck, Single Deck, European, Perfect Pair and Zappit.  Because the casino is said to be soft on games anyway, the single deck blackjack, with a house edge of only .19% is a big time player favorite.

Card Table Games

They do offer a good standard collection of games like Roulette, Baccarat, Craps and several poker variants, but have yet to offer live dealer games.

Slots

They have a great variety of slots.  They have video slots, classic slots, 3-reel machines, 5-reel machines, progressives, 3D slots and many more.

One complaint is that there aren’t any “licensed” slots, like movie, tv show or celebrity based slots.  This is because it is an offshore casino, not licensed or regulated by the US and therefore can’t work with the companies that offer those types of slot machines.  However, if you like slots, you won’t be disappointed with all they do have to offer.

Mobile Aspect

Fortunately, there is nothing to download and the entire site is mobile responsive, so it’s like having the casino wherever you are.  For the most part, you can play all the games, anywhere.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Bovada is a fantastic place to dabble in online gambling.  I do recommend this casino. For US players, Bovada is  one of the most reliable and trustworthy places to play online.  Their goal is to give the recreational player a casino that is friendly and easy to play at, so they offer great incentives.  They are not looking to rip you off. They want to give you some place to enjoy the opportunity to make money, even though we all know it’s gambling and you’ll probably lose money!  They do it with great customer service and a solid reputation.

Blackjack Online Play

Despite the re-opening of casinos amid the pandemic, many people are still hesitate on returning to casinos for their gambling fix.

Fortunately, online casinos will still have their draw and you can get your gamble on right in the comfort of your home.  Hopefully the right cards will be the only thing you’ll catch at the online casino.

Newbie Online Blackjack

First, play your normal game.  Don’t rush into playing high stakes games, especially if you wouldn’t play high stakes at a land-based casino.  Unless it’s some unusual variation of blackjack, the rules are going to be the same as in a real casino. 

Play online blackjack to practice your basic strategy if you’re not well versed in basic strategy. If you don’t learn and play basic strategy well, you will quickly lose money online, just like in a land-based casino.  It will probably happen quicker online, so be careful. 

Many of the online casinos will allow you a couple free practice hands to play before betting real money, take advantage of those offers.

Strategy for Online Blackjack

Just like at real casinos, the first strategy or tip to employ is, never take insurance.  This is the biggest sucker bet in blackjack.  The only time you should consider taking it is if you are on a large bet and have 21 yourself.

Along with not taking insurance, make sure you’re following basic blackjack strategy.  Playing online, at home, is a good time to practice using a strategy card and learn basic strategy.

A land-based casino usually doesn’t mind you using a strategy card at the table, but some people feel a bit embarrassed by doing so and won’t use one.  If you don’t know basic strategy by heart, you’re costing yourself money if you’re not making the correct plays.

Novice players at a land-based casino are seemingly shy about doubling down or splitting cards when they should for some reason.  If you practice at home, online, you can become aware of how doubling down and/or splitting can greatly improve your profits when done at the proper times.

Final Thoughts 

I think playing online is a great way to perfect your game play. If you’re worried about going to a real casino at this time, online play can give you a similar casino feel, except for the noise!

Online blackjack can also offer you many variations of blackjack that will challenge even the best of players.  If you find real casino blackjack boring, play a blackjack variant online for the challenge.

Best sites for online Blackjack:

CARD COUNTING-Is It Worth It?

With the stories of card counters being kicked out of casinos, you have to wonder if you should learn card counting.

Why should you take the time to learn card counting if it’s just going to get you kicked out of the casino?

First of all, card counting will surely give you an advantage when it comes to playing blackjack, so it is worth it.  The casino’s term is an “advantage player”.  This means you have found a way to decrease the house edge (you can’t totally eliminate the house edge in any game) and the house doesn’t like that. 

Secondly, card counting is absolutely legal, but highly frowned upon by casinos and they can’t arrest you.  It’s actually a very rare occurrence to be kicked out of a casino, more likely, you’ll be asked not to play blackjack any more.  You would be welcome to play any other game in the casino.

In casino lingo, you will kindly be “backed off” the blackjack tables.

How Does a Back Off Happen?

If you have been suspected of counting cards, the casino will find a way to stop you from playing.

They want to be careful about it though, because not everybody suspected of card counting is actually card counting.  You don’t want to alienate a good customer by making him stop playing because he’s on a winning streak.

In many instances, the pit boss will just stop by and have you stop playing by talking with you.  He will be looking to interrupt your game enough that you lose your advantage count. You won’t be asked to leave, but they hope your count will be disrupted.

Outcomes of a Pit Boss Talk:

  • Allowed to remain playing, but don’t make the wide ranging bets, you’ll be asked to make the same size bets for the remainder of the shoe
  • Says you can’t play blackjack, but you can remain in the casino and enjoy any other game
  • May ask for your ID and ban you from the casino
  • May ask for your ID and permanently ban you from that casino, as well as an associated casinos

While you’re not legally to bound to show your ID to a casino employee, they can ask to see it.  If you refuse to show your ID, they can ask you to leave their private property.  You will probably also be asked to never come come back and be warned that you will be charged with trespass if you do.

Is a Back Off Headed Your Way?

Each pit boss is different, but in general, if they come and ask your name, after some increased betting, you’re probably under suspicion.  Just saying hello is not a clear sign, but if they’re staying in your general area, you might want to adjust your play.

Pit bosses probably know how to count cards, so they will watch and count to notice if your bets increase markedly when they figure the shoe is player favorable.

Card Counting without getting Caught

  • Don’t get greedy! Don’t make your card counting obvious with large bet variances.  You don’t want to be making the minimum bets and once you know the cards are in your favor, jump to the table maximum bet.  That is an obvious sign that you count cards.
  • The professional card counters try to stay within a 1-15 spread, meaning $10-$150 bet range.  If you’re new to card counting, stay within a 1-4 spread, or $10-$40 bet range.  That bet range will still give you a better than average profit advantage from knowing when to increase your bet.
  • Don’t play at one table for more than a couple of shoes. If you stay at one table, you give the pit boss a better chance of watching you play.  That works vice-versa as well, in that if you see he watches where you move to, you’re probably under scrutiny
  • If you have the ability to easily go to different casinos, do so.  While casinos like regulars, it gives them more reason to watch your play.  If you don’t have a wide variety of casinos to choose from, be sure to play at different times and/or shifts.
  • As a last resort, consider wearing a disguise.  It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate, just maybe a hat and sunglasses.  You basically want to alter your appearance.
  • Consider a playing partner or team.  The first player will sit and play minimum bets and when the count becomes favorable, signals a nearby partner to come and make bigger bets while in the favorable period.

Card Counter Fate

Most books will tell you that as a card counter, you will eventually be backed off or caught. I don’t believe all card counters will be caught.  If you’re a smart card counter, you shouldn’t be caught.  If you can play by the outlines above, you should not get caught.

Pit bosses are good at spotting counters, but they won’t look your way unless you give them a reason to look your way. 

FINAL THOUGHTS

If blackjack is going to be your casino game of choice, learning to count cards is something you should do.  It’s not illegal, so you shouldn’t be afraid to do it, and it will make a big difference in your profits.

The question should be if you can be content with just doubling or tripling your bet, with a favorable count, so you’re not suspected of card counting.  If you’re not looking to become a professional blackjack player, I think you can effectively use card counting to make it a comfortable hobby.  Play smart and don’t give the casino a reason to watch you play, they have many more patrons than can be looking at.

Martingale Strategy for Blackjack

The Martingale betting strategy is used most often with roulette betting.  However, because it is a betting system, it can be employed with any game of chance.

The Martingale betting system was developed to bet on outcomes that have a 50/50 chance of occurrence, like the flip of a coin.  However it has been adapted for use in the gambling games of blackjack and roulette.  In roulette, you’d use it on bets like black/red, or odd/even.

The basics of the system is that you stay with your original bet as long as you win but you double your bet size when you lose and then you go back to your original bet once you win again. As you might imagine, your success with this system would depend on the way the cards are running.  If the cards are running hot for you (a winning streak) you can make a modest profit.  However, if the cards are producing a losing streak for you, it could get costly very quickly. 

Let’s look at some examples.  The tables below look at if you’re playing at a $5 minimum table, and you run into short or longer winning streaks or losing streaks:

WINNING STREAKS

HandBet AmountWin/LoseAmount Won/LossCumulative Profit/Loss
15Lose-5-5
210Win105
35Win510
45Lose-55
510Win1015
65Win520
75Lose-515
810Win1025
95Win530
105Lose-525
Total Amount Bet65
2 Hand winning streak – After 10 hands, you’ve bet $65 to win $25
HandBet AmountWin/LoseAmount Won/LossCumulative Profit/Loss
15Lose-5-5
210Win105
35Win510
45Win515
55Lose-510
610Win1020
75Win525
85Win530
95Lose-525
1010Win1035
Total Amount Bet65
3 Hand winning streak – After 10 hands, you’ve bet $65, to win $35
HandBet AmountWin/LoseAmount Won/LossCumulative Profit/Loss
15Lose-5-5
210Win105
35Win510
45Win515
55Win520
65Lose-515
710Win1025
85Win530
95Win535
105Win540
Total Amount Bet60
4 Hand winning streak – After 10 hands, you’ve bet $60, to win $40

  LOSING STREAKS

HandBet AmountWin/LoseAmount Won/LossCumulative Profit/Loss
15Win55
25Lose-50
310Lose-10-10
420Win2010
55Lose-55
610Lose-10-5
720Win2015
85Lose-510
910Lose-100
1020Win2020
Total Amount Bet110
2 Hand losing streak – After 10 hand, you’ve bet $110, to win $20
HandBet AmountWin/LoseAmount Won/LossCumulative Profit/Loss
15Win55
25Lose-50
310Lose-10-10
420Lose-20-30
540Win4010
65Lose-55
710Lose-10-5
820Lose-20-25
940Win4015
105Lose-510
Total Amount Bet160
3 Hand losing streak – After 10 hands, you’ve bet $160, to win $10
HandBet AmountWin/LoseAmount Won/LossCumulative Profit/Loss
15Win55
25Lose-50
310Lose-10-10
420Lose-20-30
540Lose-40-70
680Win8010
75Lose-55
810Lose-10-5
920Lose-20-25
1040Lose-40-65
Total Amount Bet235
4 Hand losing streak – After 10 hands, you’ve bet $235, to lose $65

As you look at these tables (very simple examples for demonstration purposes), the system will provide a small profit with not a large total amount bet, if you can run into a winning streak of hands.

The problem with the system is if the cards are running bad and you fall into a losing streak.  You can quickly spend a lot of money and still end up losing a decent amount of money.  Basically, it takes only losing 2 hands in a row to start to get in trouble with this betting system.

Reality of Use

Because it’s more likely than not that you’ll run into a losing streak, (after all, the odds in winning are against you from the start) you’ll need a large initial bankroll to use the Martingale system properly.

At the minimum $5 bet, if you lose just 5 bets in a row, your sixth bet would have to be $160. As a casual gambler, you probably came to the casino with $300-$500 for the night. So, after 5 hands, you’re going to be betting half your bankroll.  Also, table limits will stop your ability to double your previous bet as a losing streak continues, so you won’t make the expected return when you finally win.

It can quickly become a costly system if the cards are unfavorable.  If the cards are favorable, it doesn’t really account for that favorable advantage because you never increase your minimal bet win things are good.  At best, you make a modest profit when the cards are running good.

Final Thoughts

I think you only hear people talk about the Martingale betting system and don’t see them using it is because in reality, it can’t be used.  It can get very expensive and even if money were no limit to you as a player, the limits a casino places on their games, will limit your ability to continually double losing bets.  It is best used in short runs of hands, to limit your losses. Remember, you will probably have more losing hands because the odds are against you anyway. 

CASINO GAMBLING-Where to Start

So what’s all the hype about casino gambling?  How do you decide which games to play?

I’m going to help you decide where to begin when you first step into a casino.

What’s First

As you make your way into a big casino, you will probably be in a little bit of awe. Just the lights and sounds can give you a jolt of adrenaline as you take in the excitement of people screaming and machines ringing.

Take a moment and just look around, slowly walk around and appreciate the atmosphere. Don’t run and plop down at the first open slot machine you see.

I suggest you make a loop around the casino and checkout the layout.  You want to know where the penny slots are, where the high dollar slots are, and where the different gaming tables like blackjack and roulette are, etc.  

Before You Start, Remember This:

  • The house has the advantage in every single game.  The house will make money if you sit and play for any extended period of time. The house doesn’t need luck, and even if you hear the screams of winners, the house is always winning more!
  • Being lucky is the biggest part of winning at gambling. You can reduce the house edge in some games by playing proper strategy, but luck is still the most relevant factor in winning.
  • Come to play with a set amount of money you can afford to lose.  Gambling should be considered entertainment and not a way to earn money.  Remember, the odds of you winning money are literally stacked against you!  The house ALWAYS has the advantage!
  • Hot streaks may happen, but they won’t last.  Recognize when a winning streak has ended and the losing starts. Be able to stop before you give back all your winnings.
  • Go ahead and join the casino’s player reward program, sometimes the incentives are quite lucrative, with plenty of free deals.  They are usually free to join, so it will be worth the few minutes of your time.

Pick the Right Games to Play

The right games to play is going to depend on the type of experience you’re looking to have.  Hopefully you’re coming in to have fun and enjoy a few free cocktails.  In all reality, you shouldn’t be coming in expecting to win money. Do you want to experience flipping chips in your hands or look for the flash and ringing of machines?

If you’ve come for the fun and want games that require little skill, choose:

  • Slots
  • Keno
  • Roulette

These games are easy to learn and winning is due more to luck, than the player’s ability to reduce the house edge.

Slots give you the chance to sit down and enjoy a free cocktail (tipping small change is custom, but not required).

Keno is another games that gives you the opportunity to sit and enjoy a drink, tv or just the sights and sounds of the casino. Pick some numbers and hope they pop up, like a mini lottery.  Depending on the casino, the speed of the game is generally slower than all others, so you can enjoy having your money a little longer.

Roulette is the easiest of table games to learn and play.  All you have to do is guess which number that little spinning ball is going to land on.  You can give yourself 50/50 odds by betting odds/evens or red/black.  Unfortunately, there are usually no chairs around a roulette table so it’s not as relaxing in my eyes.

If you’ve come looking to win some money, your choice of games should be those that can have the house edge reduced with a bit of knowledge or skill, such as:

  • Blackjack
  • Baccarat
  • Craps
  • Video Poker (Jacks or Better)

These are really not difficult to learn either, but if you take the time to learn basic strategies, you might actually enjoy playing and winning a bit more often than most.

Don’t be Afraid of the Table Games

As a casino newbie, you’ll probably fear the table games.  However, you really shouldn’t.  You can (and should) do your research beforehand and learn the basics of each game.

However, if you weren’t able to do the research, but sort of pushed by friends to play, start with small stake games, like $5 blackjack. Look for a table with no players. Don’t be afraid to tell the dealer you’re new to the game and he/she will gladly guide you on the rules of play.  They will be hoping you will tip them for their assistance, but you certainly don’t have to, even if they’re basically teaching you how to play the game.  Don’t sit at a table with several players if you’re new to the game, the other players won’t be nearly as friendly as the dealer!

Be Aware of Casino Etiquette

Despite winning or losing, you want to maintain a kind, courteous and polite demeanor.  If you can remain in a good mood when winning, as well as when losing, the entire casino will appreciate it.  Dealers will be nicer, waitresses will come back to you more often if you’re happy and tipping and the other casino patrons will appreciate it.  If you remember to treat everybody with the respect you would want yourself, your trip to the casino can be lots of fun. If you think losing money will put you a nasty mood, don’t go to a casino, because you will probably lose money.

There are basic casino rules of etiquette that should be followed:

  • Don’t sit at a table if you don’t plan on playing – if you want to watch a buddy play, stand behind him
  • Before sitting down, make sure the current hand is completed
  • Don’t answer a phone call while sitting at a table
  • Once you place a bet, don’t touch it
  • Use only 1 hand to touch your cards, if any touching allowed
  • Wait until dealer is clearly done with paying off a bet, before touching the chips
  • If you’re at a table and want to leave a tip, always tip with chips, not cash
  • If you’re at the slots and want to tip a waitress, you can tip with small change

These are just common courtesy suggestions.  You won’t win more if you do them, but it will make your time at the casino more enjoyable because you won’t likely be offending anybody.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Casino gambling can be great fun, but it can also be dangerously addictive.  Know when to stop.  That refers to the free drinking and the gaming.  There’s a reason the casino gives you free liquor, to loosen up your thinking and your wallet.

If it’s your first time, remember just that…you can come another time, don’t try to win everything or lose everything in this one visit. If you come with a set amount of money (which you should) stop when you’ve gone through that.  Learn to play the games wisely so you don’t lose all your money in 15 minutes.

It can be fun to make the goal of a casino visit to be, last 15 minutes or longer.  You can easily lose a couple hundred bucks in 15 minutes or win a couple hundred bucks in 15 minutes.  The challenge is, can you leave after either circumstance.  Know when to quit if things are going bad, and learn to quit while you’re ahead, while learning to enjoy yourself in either situation.

Don’t be afraid to go to a casino.  It’s great adult entertainment and everybody should experience it at least once. Have fun and good luck!

5 Tips to Play Like a Blackjack Professional

Blackjack is the one casino game where the player can consistently make a profit if played correctly.

The professional gambler enters a casino as if it was a battlefield and knows the casino is most vulnerable at the blackjack tables. 

One way to win a battle is to expose your enemy’s weakness.  The casino’s weakness is the blackjack table, because it has the lowest house edge of all the casino games.

So what strategies does the professional blackjack player use to beat the casino?

#1 LEARN THE GAME

The professional player is an absolute student of the game.  They understand that knowledge is power and to know everything possible about blackjack will make the difference in how profitable it can be for them. 

To play like a blackjack professional, you need to know every possible rule and variation of the rules, at the house where you play.  There can be many differences from casino to casino, that will absolutely make a difference between winning and losing. 

It would be good to read a wide variety of blackjack books to ensure you’re learning every aspect of the game.  A casual player may not think about proper dealing procedure, watching the skill level of the dealer, or if correct payouts are made, but a professional is astutely aware of any deviation that could change the advantages.

Most of the blackjack books will have at least a small section that talks about card counting and how being able to count cards creates a professional advantage.  A professional player is going to be able to use at least one effective card counting system.

Professional players are not going to make a simple mistake. You must have the basic blackjack strategy memorized to perfection because in the game of blackjack, there is always a proper or best move to make.

If you want to play like a professional blackjack player, be honest with yourself and admit what you don’t know and then take the steps to learn what you don’t know.

#2 Find the Bad Dealers

Another advantage that casual players don’t take into consideration is poor dealer technique. It is possible to use poor dealer technique to make more money.

A blackjack dealer may not be aware that he/she flashes the value of the face down card to players in a particular seat.  Learn to watch the dealer’s hands as the face down card is placed to the table.

In reality, something like that is not going to happen often, but when you know the face down card value, that’s of course a huge advantage.

If the cards are hand shuffled, some dealers aren’t as thorough as they could be, which can lead to shuffle tracking or ace sequencing by the professional player.  Shuffle tracking is when you keep track of cards or a series of cards during shuffling.  It lets you predict when portions of the shoe will come up. So if a clump of high cards is coming up, you’d want to bet bigger and if you know a clump of low cards is coming up, you’d want to bet smaller.  Ace sequencing is a form of shuffle tracking where you determine when an ace may be coming up, based on tracking identifier or key cards before it.

#3 Play The Best Version

Of course there are many variations of blackjack available.  Each game has it own set of rules that will influence the house edge either up or down. To play smart, you want play the version that lowers the house edge as much as possible.

Most casino blackjack games have a house edge of .5% or less, though every now and then that edge can go down to .3% based on the rules.

You must be aware of rules that can bring the house edge up to 1% and therefore stay away from those games.

Learn how different rules can effect the house edge so you only play at tables with the lowest house edge.

#4 Learn When Side Bets are Okay

Basic strategy tells you to never play any side bets, that includes insurance and surrendering.  Blackjack professionals know that there are times when side bets are profitable.

If you don’t already know, side bets are basically a way for casinos to get more of your money, per hand, and increase their profits. 

It is best to be a card counter to know when the deck is favorable and there is a better chance to “hit” the side bet for break even.  All the counting systems have information on when it’s best to take insurance.

You can also take advantage of a bad dealer by taking insurance if you’ve seen the face down card is a 10-value and the face-up card is an Ace.  The dealer will ask if you want insurance and of course you would say yes because you know the dealer has 21.  You don’t profit, but you do break even.

#5 Card Counting

Being able to count cards is the best way to play like a professional.  There are many card counting systems available, some more complex than others, but card counting is a skill that can be learned.  To play like a professional, it is a skill that absolutely must be learned.

Pick a system, get a book to study and learn it inside and out, and practice it until it becomes second nature.

Even the simplest of systems will give you an advantage that can be the difference between making money or losing money.

THE FINAL PAYOFF

If you can learn to use these 5 tips, you will be able to play blackjack like a professional and make a profit more consistently.

They are not difficult strategies to learn. You just have to be willing to invest the time to learn them.

You’ll probably enjoy playing blackjack more as a result and perhaps end up becoming a blackjack professional yourself!

BLACKJACK PAYOUTS 6:5 vs. 3:2

With more and more casinos going to a 6:5 blackjack payoff, you should  understand the significant difference this makes.

The casual blackjack player is not going to care, or may not even realize there can be a different payout on blackjack from table to table.  They may feel they would rarely get blackjack, so it’s no big deal to them.

The problem is that the difference can really hurt your potential profits.  The draw to these games is that they’re usually single-deck games, which many casual players feel is more advantageous.

The odds of hitting a blackjack are actually 1 in every 21 hands over a lifetime, coincidentally. For example, if you’re playing at a 4-handed table, for five hours, at a $10 per hand, you’ll probably hit 21 blackjacks in that time period.

Out of those 21 blackjacks, let’s say you push on 2 of them because the dealer is mean like that.  You’ll be paid on 19 blackjacks. At 6:5 on a $10 bet, you’ll be paid $12. At 3:2 on a $10 bet, you’ll be paid $15.  That makes for a difference of $57.  Because the house pays 6:5, instead of the traditional 3:2, they have ripped you off of $57!  That may not seem like a lot, but if you played 10 times, being cheated out of $57 each session, that’s $570 after 10 visits!

That payout difference gives the house about a 1.4% additional edge in the game.  If you only play once or twice a year, it won’t be a big deal to you, but if you’re going to be a regular player, it’s a killer!

Here’s a chart that shows the results of that difference:

Blackjack PayoffStandard Daily Win/Loss RangeAve. Daily ResultAverage YearStatistical Odds Against a Winning Year
3 -to- 2+$210/-$265($28)($330)2 to 1
6 -to- 5+$150/-$325($88)($1,000)9 to 1

Additional drawbacks of a 6:5 payoff:

  • If you don’t make a bet divisible by 5, your payoff will not be totally paid at 6:5.  For instance, if you bet $8, you will get $6 for the first $5, but the last $3 will be paid at even money, resulting in a payout of $9. (instead of the $9.60 it should be at full odds) At a 3:2 odds payout, any even amount bet will get the full 3:2 payout.
  • The even money payoff on a blackjack if the dealer shows an Ace, is not allowed in a 6:5 game because of the uneven payout.
  • It also impacts dealer tips. In a 3:2 game, a $1 tip to the dealer pays him $1.50, whereas as $1 tip in a 6:5 game is only a $1, because small change is not handled. (the tip should pay $1.20)
  • Not really a drawback, but you wouldn’t find a 6:5 payout on a high stakes table. The high rollers know better than to stand for that ripoff!

Final Thoughts

Remember, blackjack is popular because the house edge is low, now casinos are looking to change that and this is a simple way for them to up their edge.  They know the casual tourist player, or uninformed beginner, will not realize the difference.

Try not to play at 6:5 tables.  Don’t fall for the single-deck ploy and lower minimum bets, it’s not a better deal if blackjack pays 6:5.  Perhaps if casinos see a drop in play at the 6:5 tables, they’ll bring back more 3:2 tables, which is what we want!  Unfortunately, it will probably end up the way it’s going now…more 6:5 tables with lower minimum bets, and the 3:2 payout tables left for the high stakes players.

SLOTS TOURNAMENT STRATEGY

Have you ever thought about entering a slot tournament at a casino?  With the winning prizes getting bigger and bigger, it’s definitely worth a try. 

Those people that have entered seem to be having a lot of fun. Unfortunately, there is no real strategy to guarantee a win in a slot tournament.  There is nothing you can do to change the results of a slot machine spin, they are totally random.

Slot tournaments are run either based on a certain time limit or a certain number of credits.  The time limit format is the most common and what I will discuss here.

To improve your chance to win, you want to get in the most spins within that time period.  That’s why you see the experienced players just continually pressing the spin button.  You don’t want to wait for credits to add up, the machine will catch up with you.

You also shouldn’t get caught watching the results of a big winning spin, or a near miss, just keep pressing.  You have to keep your focus and concentration on pressing the spin button.

Keeping your focus and concentration also means not watching other players or any other distraction.  Your goal is to get as many spins in as you can.  Checking out the competition while you’re playing, is a waste of time and money!  You can find out what they did when you’re done!

Strategy in a Nutshell:

  • Get to the tournament a little bit early to relax and adjust to the atmosphere
  • If you have a lucky charm, bring it!
  • Once it starts, just keep spinning as fast as you can
  • Stay focused, keep your eyes on your machine, don’t look around
  • Have fun because it’s just a matter of luck anyway!

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ANTE UP 21 BLACKJACK

Just by the name, you might be able to figure out it is another variation that combines poker with blackjack.  The game was developed by FYI Gaming Inc and is available in downtown Las Vegas at the Fremont Hotel, as well as online at several casinos.

RULES

-Blackjack Rules

  • Dealer hits soft 17
  • Dealer checks for 21 if 10 or Ace showing
  • Double allowed on any two cards
  • Split allowed once
  • Double after split allowed
  • Insurance allowed on blackjack bet only
  • Surrender not allowed
  • Busted blackjack hands still play as poker hand
  • Blackjack pays 3:2

-Poker Rules

  • Dealer must have Queen high or better to qualify, if not the player wins even money on the ante bet and pushes on the additional bet
  • Only the first two cards are used, therefore only pairs and high cards play
  • If a player has split his cards for the blackjack play, the first two dealt cards are used for poker
  • A player’s natural blackjack can be a win/loss/tie on the ante, but a push on the additional bet
  • Tie hands are a push
  • Poker bonus side bet is based on whether you’re dealt a pair with the first two cards
  • Poker wins pay 1:1

HOW TO PLAY

Unlike 21 + 3 blackjack, you must play both the blackjack side and the poker side of the game.

The hand starts with the player making two bets, one for the ante or poker side, and one for the blackjack side. The bets are placed separately in the two clearly marked betting circles, “Ante” or “21”.  The ante bet cannot be more than the 21 bet. There is a third betting circle for an additional side bet called the poker bonus side bet.

The players are dealt two cards face down, the dealer receives one card face down, one card face up.

The players then decide if they want to play their two cards for the poker hand.  If the player wants to play the poker portion, an additional bet must be laid out, if not, the ante bet is lost.

The blackjack hand is played out first, with each player deciding to double, split, hit or stand. Once all players have completed their hand, the dealer finishes out his hand.

Once the blackjack portion is finished, cards are left on the table and the poker portion is finally decided and payoffs made.

POKER BONUS SIDE BET PAYOUTS

This bet considers the player’s first two cards and the dealer’s up card.  The dealer’s card is only used to determine a 3 of a kind payout, not pairs.

If the first two cards are not a pair, the bonus side bet is automatically lost.

There are different payouts based on different versions, but the range is as follows:

  • Three Aces of Spades: $5000 – $10,000
  • Three Suited Aces: $1000 – $5000
  • Suited 3 of a Kind: $250 – $750
  • Unsuited 3 Aces: $100 – $200
  • Unsuited 3 of a Kind: $40 – $50
  • Suited Pair of Aces: $25 – $30
  • Unsuited Pair of Aces: $10 – $15
  • Suited Pair: $5 – $15
  • Unsuited Pair: $3 – $5

FINAL THOUGHTS

I’d say it’s another interesting version that combines two of the most popular casino games, blackjack and poker.  It’s an exciting attention grabber, that should provide a good challenge to the top blackjack players.

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MAJORITY RULES SPEED BLACKJACK – New Game

Let’s take a look at this new, live dealer, game by Playtech, for a new way to play online blackjack. It’s totally scalable and adds an inventive new twist to blackjack to enhance player level interaction.

The game features two different modes, Majority Rules and Best Strategy, with the mode being determined by the number of players.

Majority Rules allows all players to vote on the player’s move, in terms of Hit, Stand, Double, etc., and then the action that receives the majority vote, is the play that will be made. The Best Strategy mode takes place when there are fewer players and the player’s action is done automatically based on pre-determined, best strategical blackjack moves.

PLAY OF THE GAME

The table has two seats that can hold an unlimited number of players. Whether the particular seat is playing Majority Rules or Best Strategy modes, depends on the number of players in the seat.

  • Bets are placed on the betting positions, betting on both seats is allowed
  • You will see indicators to show if enough players are betting to invoke the Majority Rules mode
  • If Majority Rule is played, voting on each action is taken, and will continue as long as there is action to take. (hit, double, stand, etc)
  • If Best Strategy is played, there is no action round for the players, the hand is completed automatically
  • Insurance (if enabled by particular provider) is not decided by Majority Rule or Best Strategy, but offered separately to each player
  • If every player busts, the dealer does not draw additional cards

AUTOMATIC SPLIT or DOUBLE

Because these two actions require additional bets, the decision about how they are handled are made at the beginning of the game.  At the beginning, you decide if split and double actions are to be made automatically if that move received majority vote, or in certain circumstances applied using best strategy. 

If the action of split or double is voted and automatic decision was agreed upon, money is instantly taken from your bankroll.  If you haven’t agreed on automatic split/double or lack the funds, you will automatically follow the right hand for splits, and hit and stand for a double.

Exception: If you have picked not to follow automatic decisions, but also cast your vote in Majority Rules mode, the chosen action will be applied to you as well.

SIDE BETS

There are side bets available which can be made, once a main bet is placed:

  • 21 + 3 – This is a bet that takes the player’s first two cards and the dealer’s first card and hope to combine for a ranking poker hand, such as suited 3 of a kind, straight flush, 3 of a kind, straight, and flush
  • Pairs – Betting on the first two cards, forming player’s pairs, dealer’s pair, perfect pairs, colored pairs, and red/black pairs
  • Buster Blackjack – Betting that the dealer busts, and the more cards he has when he busts, the higher the payoff
  • Lucky Lucky – Betting on your first two cards and the dealer’s first card forming a specific combination of: Suited 777, Suited 678, unsuited 777, unsuited 678, suited 21(3 card total other than 777, 678), 21 (3 card total other than 777, 678), Any 20 combo, Any 19 combo.

COMPLETE PAYOUT TABLE

  • Blackjack – 3:2
  • Winning Hand – 1:1
  • Insurance – 2:1
  • Side bet-Suited 3 of a kind – 100:1
  • Side bet-Straight Flush – 40:1
  • Side bet-3 of a kind – 30:1
  • Side bet-Flush – 5:1
  • Side bet-Perfect pair – 25:1
  • Side bet-Colored pair – 12:1
  • Side bet-Red/Black pair – 6:1
  • Side bet-Buster BJ 8+ cards and player has Blackjack – 2000:1
  • Side bet-Buster BJ 7 cards and player has Blackjack – 800:1
  • Side bet-Buster BJ 8+ cards – 250:1
  • Side bet-Buster BJ 7 cards – 50:1
  • Side bet-Buster BJ 6 cards – 18:1
  • Side bet-Buster BJ 5 cards – 4:1
  • Side bet-Buster BJ 3 or 4 cards – 2:1
  • Side bet-Lucky Lucky Suited 777 – 200:1
  • Side bet-Lucky Lucky Suited 678 – 100:1
  • Side bet-Lucky Lucky 777 – 50:1
  • Side bet-Lucky Lucky 678 – 25:1
  • Side bet-Lucky Lucky Suited 21 – 15:1
  • Side bet-Lucky Lucky 21 – 3:1
  • Side bet-Lucky Lucky Any 20 – 2:1
  • Side bet-Lucky Lucky Any 19 – 2:1

FINAL THOUGHTS

I can see this game version catching on quickly.  First, if you’re a beginner, you can test your strategy knowledge. You would hope the majority of players are knowledgeable and know the correct play and therefore you can test your knowledge by seeing how often you agree with the majority or not.

Second, while side bets are usually sucker bets, the odds for these side bets are highly enticing and how great would it be to hit a 2000:1 side bet?

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