Category Archives: Blackjack Tips

Mobile Casino Recommendations For Blackjack – Part 1

This week we take a look at the most popular mobile casinos for playing blackjack, for those of you who like playing on the go, enjoy!

Gala Casino

imagegalaIt may seem a long way indeed from the firm foothold of Gala’s massive chain of high-street stores, to the company’s totally untethered mobile platform, but Gala’s highly trusted name and consistent interface of its software makes the transition a very easy one. Indeed, the mobile section could hardly be easier to connect to, and HTML5 does away with the need to download a dedicated app, letting you go straight to the site itself to choose your title. Games can be kept updated at all times, so you’ll always be picking from the best selection of titles available to Gala. The free play option is very pleasing, and means that you don’t have to be mastering the mobile interface while simultaneously protecting your bank balance. All banking facilities are supported, even when hooked up to a mobile, and the 100% Welcome bonus (on deposits of up to £400) is also made available to mobile users.

The software is covered by Playtech, so you don’t get hordes of blackjack titles to pick from. Nonetheless, the standard blackjack is beautifully handled, with bold graphics that are sharp and easy to read, even on smaller screens. it’s not the most feature-packed rendition of blackjack, and you miss out on special game variations, such as the extra twists offered by the desktop Double Attack and Progressive titles, for instance. However, mobile versions are currently a little thinner in terms of functionality and choice than their desktop counterparts, and Playtech’s remains one of the most playable available. You also get a crisp roulette title, a rich selection of slots (including Frankie Dettori’s Magic Seven and Great Blue), and the charming Pink Panther Scratch. More titles are promised very shortly, including Playtech’s first mobile Live Dealer titles.

Mobile 100 up to 400
Casino.com

casinocomNo gesture seems too extravagant for this flamboyant but fun gaming site. Whether you’re looking at the $5.5 million spent securing its highly-appetising domain name, or the ridiculously generous 100% Welcome bonus offered on deposits of up to £3,200 – even if blackjack players may need to turn to the slots if they want to move speedily through the wagering requirements – the site knows how to make an impact. That capacity to impress stretches to the fabulous mobile facilities. HTML5 is used, so there’s no necessity to download a native app. Instead, you just redirect your device to the web-site, and pick out a game. This allows Casino to support a wide variety of devices – from Android and Apple models, to the less common BlackBerry range – and also means that new titles can be made available as soon as possible. With Casino, you’ll always be playing the best titles available.

And given that the games suite comes by way of market-leaders Playtech, that’s quite a boast. The blackjack game is one of the mobile market’s slickest performers. This intricate game isn’t always the easiest to convert to the small screen, but Playtech’s rendition is sparkling, combining vibrant graphics with clear options. Admittedly, there isn’t much for blackjack enthusiasts who wish to move beyond the basic rules, but for a strong traditional version of this game, Casino’s version is superb. You can also play roulette, and the capable library of alternatives includes slots (Frankie Dettori’s Magic Seven) and scratch games (Pink Panther). Playtech is constantly refreshing its range, and Casino should be near the front of the queue when Playtech brings out its much-anticipated mobile Live Dealer titles.

BGO

indexbgoBGO has come a long way since its humble origins as a specialist Bingo site. Its vast sweep now takes in casino games, slots and sports betting. And, now, it raises the curtains on its mobile suite. Using the mobile version is very simple. You just direct the browser to the main site, and it loads up the titles for you. You can then take a pick from the rather vast selection.

Unlike the majority of its rivals, BGO doesn’t simply plump for one software provider. Rather, it picks out the best games from the various different companies. That pays dividends in its mobile suite, where Netent’s basic but highly playable Blackjack game rubs shoulders with Microgaming’s glossier European Blackjack Gold. In all honesty, even with Gold status, the latter doesn’t come with a mass of options or different play-styles. What you get is an extremely polished and visually attractive game. The Netent version is maybe a little more responsive, although not quite as pleasing to look at. Both apps, though, cater very nicely for traditional players, even if we haven’t yet seen any of the casinos produce the huge number of variations on the rules that you see in the standard desktop versions of the web-sites.

BGO, though, has a superb selection of mobile titles already. There’s a nice version of roulette, and the jumbo bag of slots includes the much-hyped Starburst, Da Vinci Diamonds, and Gonzo’s Quest. Some of the graphics are luscious, giving you the most pleasurable experience you can expect on a mobile device. It’s here that you’ll find the majority of the special offers, with one particularly appetising offer letting you win a share of 1,000 free spins on Starburst. Regular free spin offers roll along, as well as the obligatory welcome bonus – this one a generous 200% (up to £200). Overall, BGO is a brilliant mobile experience. Fast, simple, and highly varied, it offers one of the best portable suites anywhere.

Top 30 Hints for Playing Blackjack

Beginners

  • Blackjack can and should be played with optimum strategy – giving the house a mere 0.5% edge over you – so make sure you learn the ropes with a free game before playing the real thing
  • Learn proper strategy by using an app with coaching, such as Blackjack MH (Apple) or BlackJack 21 (Android)

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    Top 30 Hints for Playing Blackjack

  • Once you’re got the rules sussed, try the online casinos, as these give you some great bonuses to start with
  • Before you go to a casino proper, try Live Dealer online. This halfway house gives you much of the excitement and buzz of the real thing, but with less pressure to grasp etiquette

Choosing a Table

  • The precise rules can vary dramatically from table to table. Make sure you know the ones for your table – which cards can you double down on, which cards can you split, and how often etc.
  •  Do you have the option of surrender – and is that early or late?
  • Make sure you know both the minimum and maximum bids for a table before you sit down
  • Ensure that table is playing standard Blackjack – there are many variations, like Perfect Pairs, Super 21, and Progressive Blackjack, and these all have different rules
  • Choose the last seat where possible, allowing you to play directly against the dealer without the distraction of what the other players are doing
  •  If possible, find a table with five decks – six or more decks puts you at a greater disadvantage
live dealer blackjack

Image Source: galacasino.com

Basic Playing Strategy

  • It helps to have a target to aim at, so assume that the dealer’s down card is a 10 – around a third of the cards available are
  •  If a ten will put you above 21 (a ‘bust’ hand), then stick if the dealer is in the same situation – over time, the dealer will go bust more often than you will

When to Hit

  • Hit on 8 or less
  • If your hand totals 9, hit if the dealer is showing 7-9
  • If your hand totals 10, hit if the dealer is showing a 10
  • If your hand totals 11, hit if the dealer is showing an Ace

When to Stand

  • Stand if you have a 17 or higher
  • The exceptions to this rule are when you have a soft 17 (Ace with a 6) or a soft 18 (Ace with a 7). Always hit the soft 17, and hit the soft 18 if the dealer has 8-10
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Top 30 Hints for Playing Blackjack

Doubling Down, Splitting, and Insurance

  •  If the hand is a 10 or an 11, always double down unless the dealer has an Ace
  • Only double down 9 if the dealer is showing 3-6
  •  If you have a pair of Aces, 8s or 9s, always split them
  •  But don’t split them if you have 7s or less
  •  Ignore the insurance option unless you’re a card-counter who knows a lot of high cards are due

Money Management

  • Success in Blackjack is partly a matter of controlling your money, so never bid too much – the maximum bid should never be more than 5% of your bankroll
  • Put only a portion of your bankroll onto the table at one time. That way you’ll be given pause for thought before putting up the rest
  • It’s a moot point whether you should decrease your bet size when you’re doing badly. But you shouldn’t ever be increasing it in such a situation

Mind ManagementImage1

  • Cool nerves are essential. Don’t drink before you play!
  • Take regular breaks – this is crucial
  • Stop playing as soon as you feel your concentration wavering
  • There’s little benefit to card counting online – the software generally reshuffles the deck with each hand

 

The Art of Picking the Right Blackjack Bonus

We’re all told that there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Well, in the world of Blackjack, there is. Or at least, the lure of it. Many casino sites run promotions designed to get punters signed up and playing their games. Delicious carrots are often dangled in front of users (both new and old). But are these pure gold, or rotten to the core. Let’s have a look at the options.

Welcome Bonuses

Most ‘welcome’ bonuses work in a similar way. You deposit a certain amount of money, and the casino ‘rewards’ you by giving you a bonus equal to a certain percentage of your original deposit. A 100% bonus, for example, would mean that a £100 deposit resulted in an actual playing balance of £200. There is a catch, though..

You’ll generally be expected to stake a certain amount of money before you can withdraw that bonus. For instance, you might be asked to ‘rollover’ 25x your deposit and bonus. In the case of that £100 deposit with its 100% bonus, you’d be expected to play through 25 times £200, or £5,000. If you had anything left in your account by the time you had placed £5,000-worth of bets, you’d be able to withdraw it. However, the casinos know that’s unlikely to be the case.

The point is that, in Blackjack, the casino has a built-in edge (assuming you’re not employing a strategy like card counting). It’s a very small edge in this particular game – 0.5% or less with proper strategy – but it does exist. Over a few hands, the house advantage is unlikely to make much difference. But if you’re working through £5,000 of bets, for instance, placing one pound chips every time, that amounts to 5,000 bets in total. Stretched over a long sequence like that, the casino’s slight edge means your money will gradually trickle away. If you drop to smaller stakes, you’re effectively extending the number of bets you participate in, which renders the casino’s advantage over you even more unbeatable. The edge in Blackjack is very small, but it’s still present, so, unlike sports betting, it’s hard to turn blackjack bonuses into genuine cash.

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However, we shouldn’t dismiss them out of hand. You’re still getting ‘free’ money, so if you want to have a night at the cards, it’s generally better to have the bonuses than not. With Blackjack’s low edge, you’ve got more of a chance of success in this game than in almost any other.  You can also try out strategies knowing that you’ve got, perhaps, double the chips. They’re unlikely to be a path to riches, then, but there’s little advantage to turning them down. Do note, though, that Blackjack’s low house edge makes it a less appetising option for casinos. Many offers either exclude Blackjack altogether, or insist that money can only make up 5% of the total towards any rollover requirements – effectively making it unplayable. So pick carefully if you’re looking for hot Blackjack action.

Look for a low rollover where possible. The more hands you have to play, the more decisive the house edge will be on your play, so go low where possible. Betfair Casino lets you get a lower multiplier when you deposit larger sums. If you deposit between £35 and £499, for instance, you have to play through the bonus and deposit 25 times. If you deposit as much as £1,000, though, the rollover multiplier drops to 15x. Admittedly, the lower amount does come with a larger bonus (of up to 200%) attached. But with that high 25x rollover multiplier, we can see why Betfair are keen to seem generous. Some sites may also offer a ‘sticky’ bonus. In this scheme, you won’t ever be able to withdraw the bonus, although you would be able to withdraw winnings on it. Accordingly, rollovers can be lower.

No Deposit Bonuses

These are often very similar to Welcome Bonuses. The big difference is that you don’t have to deposit any money with the site. Accordingly, the wagering requirements tend to be rather steep. Winner.com, for example, lets you play with $30 without making a single deposit. You do, though, have to rollover this bonus 40x, making $1200, before you can make any withdrawals. As with many firms, it’ll take you longer still to pay off this rollover while playing Blackjack. You may also be given the chance to make as much money as possible in a small period of time (30 minutes, for example). Many of the best no deposit schemes don’t hang around for long, so it’s a good idea to check on the web, or to join a service like the free No Deposit Bonus Newsletter (http://www.nodepositbonus.cc/newsletter).

Loyalty Schemes

Rather than a big one-off welcome bonus, you might want to look for sites that allow you to amass loyalty points that can then be converted into real cash. The more you play, and the larger the sums, the more points you’ll earn. 32red.com lets you exchange every 1000 points for 10 free casino chips, for example, although you may have to play through this bonus if you’re not a member of their invitation-only Club Rouge. Intercasino.com’s Loyalty Points system lets you earn money for every 100 points gained. Admittedly, Blackjack doesn’t pay well on this site (just as it doesn’t on Maxcasino.com’s ‘Complimentary Points’ scheme), but you’re still getting a chance to make some free money at no risk. You may also get additional monthly bonuses through their My Bonus 4 Life scheme, provided you’re an active player.

Alternative Payments

Occasionally, sites let you make money just from using a different payment option. Winner.com, for example, will pay you an extra 15% on your deposit when you use certain e-Wallet accounts, like Skrill/Moneybookers. You do have to satisfy a 12x rollover to receive this money, though, and most varieties of Blackjack contribute no more than 20% towards paying that off.

Bonus or Booby Prize

It’s best not to take many of these bonuses too seriously. They’re generally a way of adding a few more chips to your account that you may or may not see again. Certainly, as a means of making an easy few hundred, they’re unlikely to come good, although Blackjack’s low edge and rollover requirements of 15x or lower would give you a fighting chance. Essentially, you’re being given free money, and services like the Loyalty Schemes are particularly good at putting a few extra chips into your pocket while not distracting you from your main pastime of playing Blackjack. As such, you should keep an eye open for such deals. Do be careful to read the small print though.

 

Famous Blackjack Players You Should Know About (Part -1)

Blackjack is one of the most common and popular casino games. Some of us enjoy a game of blackjack every now and then for a bit of fun however over the past few years certain individuals took it to the next level, studied the game and made a lot of money from it. We have combined a list of the most well known blackjack players who have devoted a big part of their life to this game and have become millionaires.

Edward O. Thorp

Edward Thorp is and American mathematician that was born in 1932. Hes is  most well known in the blackjack world for writing the book “ beat the dealer”. Beat the dealer focused on beating the casino’s house advantage by using the card counting strategy.

Edward O. Thorp

When Edward Thorp was testing the theory of card counting, casinos at that time didn’t even realise it was possible but they were all proven wrong. Thorp put his theory to practice with his partner Claude Elwood Shannon and started making a lot of money by visiting different casinos in Las Vegas. Beat the dealer is the first book ever written about card counting and many professional players still refer to it today as the best book for beginners.

 

 

Ken Uston

Ken Uston was born 1935 and he’s on the most famous blackjack players that is most well know for commercializing “team play” in blackjack. Ken always thought of himself as a very good business man and not a professional gambler.  He had a lot of success in the stock market industry before he quit his job and devoted his life to playing blackjack.

Ken Uston

It all happened when Ken Uston met a man named Al Francesco, a professional blackjack player. They became very good friends and soon Ken joined him and learned how to play the game with team play. They had a team of several people playing at blackjack tables and counting cards, once the odds were in their favour they would “signal” an other player to join the game and drop a lot of money. This system worked really well for them as casinos at that time were not clued up on card counting methods. After years of using this method and making a lot of money casinos finally caught up with all the card counting methods and banned Uston from certain casinos. This didn’t stop him as he hired a make up artist and used several different disguises in order to continue playing his favourite game. Apart form his career as a professional blackjack player Ken Uston also wrote several best selling books including “The Big Player” and “Million Dollar Blackjack.

Stanford Wong

Stanford Wong also known as John Ferguson was born 1943 and he is a famous blackjack player as well as a well know author. Wong enjoyed playing games from an early age and one of his hobbies was looking into blackjack probabilities and creating strategies for better odds. As many other blackjack professionals wong read Thorp’s book and began counting cards.After studying Thorps theories Wong came up with his own unique card counting strategies that were very complicated but precise. The most well know strategy is called “Wong Halves”.Stanford Wong

Wong soon realised that his hobby was making him more money than his full time job as a teacher which resulted in him quitting his job and pursuing a career in professional blackjack. He became a very successful player and his also a member of the blackjack hall of fame. Apart from his gambling career he also went on to write several best selling books including “ Professional Blackjack” which is one the most popular blackjack books ever written.

 

Keep an eye out for part 2 as we will be looking into the lives of more famous blackjack players and celebrities

The most popular variations of Blackjack

Blackjack is one the most popular games played at casinos and also at home were its also known as 21. As most other games when playing blackjack especially at online casinos you will notice some game variations that might apply in some casinos but not all. Generally speaking if you follow the basic strategy and rules which we have explained in our “blackjack strategy” section here you could join and play at any casinos, however there are some rules you need to look out for that could help you improve your chances of winning. For that reason we have decided to do a post on the rule variations of blackjack you might come across when playing online or at brick & mortar casinos.

Classic rules

This is the classic version of blackjack were each player is given 2 cards and is playing against the dealer. The main objective is to get as close as possible to 21 by adding the value of each card, if you get 21 you win however if the sum of the values of your cards is more than 21 then you lose.

The basic rules are explained in more detail in our “how to play” section on our homepage.

American blackjack

With this blackjack variation the rules are bit more flexible than the European version however many players prefer the European game. The dealer is handed one card facing up and one card facing down compared to the European version were the dealer only has one card facing up. Also players are given the option to use the “surrender” rule anytime throught the game. Players are also allowed to double down on any hand and are not restricted to double down only for specific cards like the European version(9, 10 &11).

European Blackjack

European blackjack in one of the most popular versions that’s slightly different due to the following reasons. The game is always played with two decks of cards and the dealer must “hit” if the value of his cards equals to 16 or less. With this variation you can “split” however you can only do it once.  You can also double down only when you have 9, 10 or 11. The dealer is dealt only one card facing up and the surrender rule is not allowed in this version.

Single Hand Versus Multi Hand Blackjack

Single hand is played with one deck of cards and only one hand is played each time. If you are starting out in blackjack we recommend you play single hand as it’s easier than the multi hand version.

The Multi hand version of blackjack is aimed to more advanced players that are comfortable  and experienced at playing the classic version of blackjack. The main difference with this variation is that you are mutlitasking  and playing five hands at the same time, you are given 10 cards in total.  By playing this game you have more chances of winning money unless the dealer has a blackjack which will result in you losing everything. The game is confusing enough as it is and therefore in order to make it less confusing certain rules are applied that don’t apply to single hand blackjack. You can’t re-split at any time, you cant double up aftre splitting or double up when you have 9-10-11, you cant surrender and as for the dealer, he needs to stand on a soft 17. If you are a begginer you could give this a shot however we suggest you play a demo version of the game instead of depositing money as it’s quite a confusing game that requires experience and a lot of concentration.

Blackjack Switch

This is quite an interesting variation of blackjack that’s been popular recently.

When playing blackjack switch you are dealt two hands instead of one or five for the multihand version and you are allowed to switch cards from one hand to another which results in a very low house edge. Specifically players are allowed to swap the second card in order to get a better result. One of the main differences is that if a dealers hand is equal to 22 then this counts as a pushed hand and therefore you don’t win or lose unless you have a blackjack which means you win that hand. It’s dealt face up and its usually played with 6 or 8 decks of cards.

Pontoon

Pontoon is a british version of blackjack, the main objective is the same as the players hand needs to be 21 in order to win or as close as possible to 21 and not over. The main difference when playing pontoon is the number of cards you have, obviosuly if you exceed 21 then you get burned however if the value of your cards is 21 then you win and this is called a pontoon instead of a blackjack. The number of cards in  a single hand overides the overall card value. A hand of 5 cards that equals 21 of less will beat a blackjack, A hand of 3-4 cards that’s is equal to 21 will also beat a blackjack. So in other words the more cards you have the better as long as you don’t exceed 21.  Also another imprortant difference is that a player has the option of buying a card to increase the stake if the value of the cards is less than 21.