The classic game of 21 is perhaps one of the most common casino staples around the world, but is especially popular within American casinos where players come onto the floor expecting to find several of these tables available to them. It's also perhaps unfortunately one of the most commonly misunderstood games on the casino floor. Yes, there's quite a bit of earning potential behind the game of blackjack, but players need to know how to use it in order to get the most out of their experiences on the felt.
Let's take a moment to review how the game is actually played before we address some of the common misconceptions surrounding it. As a whole, the objective of Blackjack is to be dealt cards that reach a close enough deal to 21 without going over (or “busting”). Players do this by first placing their bets and receiving two face up cards where the face value of each card represents the numeric value of the hand in play. From there, players may choose to “hit” in order to receive another card and may continue to hit until they choose to “stand” in order to stop the play – or bust in the event they go over 21. This process repeats itself for every player the table, which is then followed by the dealer's actions.
The dealer plays similarly to players, but must stand on any value at 17 or above. This means players can easily oust the dealer if he stands on 17. However, this doesn't necessarily mean players should stop on any value above 17, which is actually a very common misconception that players seem to have within the online casino world. While it does afford them with a safety net, those who stand a chance to increase their value closer to 21 should always do so when there is a reasonable expectation to do so. Of course, you'll be the one to make this final call since only you will have the exposure to the table at that point in time. It is usually a good idea to press on when there's a chance to though.
There is also a unique action available to players on their first action, which is known as a “double down”. This increases a player's bet to double its original value and forces the player to stand after receiving another card. It's a very common technique to always double down on 10 or 11, but these are also misguided. While there isn't any chance of a bust, players might be dealt a low value card that puts the dealer in a far safer place in the long run. This is why it's important for you to check the live cards that are in play. If there's quite a few aces, kings and other 10s on the table, then a double down might not be the safest option as you stand a far greater chance of getting a low value card. When it seems safe, then a green light should go off in your mind.
Players also have the option to purchase insurance when there is the chance of dealers hitting a blackjack. This is treated as a separate bet altogether and will pay 2:1 in the event that a dealer actually hits a blackjack, but is immediately surrendered to the house if the dealer isn't holding a blackjack. This is sometimes a good move for players to make, but it can become quite costly in the long term. This is again why it's important to check the live cards around the table and gauge the statistical likelihood of the dealer holding a blackjack before purchasing insurance. If there's a high chance of the dealer hitting a blackjack, then it should be a maximum bet in order to recover the initial bet made on the table (should it have been a table limit).
One of the most popular methods of “beating the system” in blackjack involves the concept of counting cards: keeping track of the cards that have been exposed to the table in order to determine statistical odds of hitting 21 or receiving a blackjack in order to make the most informed choices and highest bets at the most opportune times. This sometimes works in brick and mortar casinos, but it is less likely to work on the Internet. This is because of the completely random nature of card deals from a theoretically unlimited amount of decks in play. Counting cards can have some place online, but is unlikely to be a successful long term strategy over conservative play.
Excessive double down bets can lead to considerable losses over a long period of time. This is sometimes used when the player is experiencing an upswing in wins in order to capitalize on their earnings, but any upswings should be considered luck as opposed to computer programming in play. It's highly unlikely you're experiencing any sort of personal or mechanical bias, so it's always wise to avoid making substantial bets you can't afford to lose.
It shouldn't be all that surprising that you'll find almost every single US based online casino offering blackjack. It is a quick, rapid fire game that ensures a steady stream of income to the house with minimal investment on their behalf in terms of resources. However, there's a few telltale signs that you can look out for when you're trying to find the best blackjack option on the Internet today.
The first thing you should take notice of are the number of online players within the blackjack community. Obviously a higher volume of players means an overall safer experience since the casino community at large is always looking for the best returns on its investments. This could also be a tribute to the casino's overall popularity and hold on the market share though, so those who are gravitating towards the largest names in online casinos shouldn't use this as an exclusive measure of choosing a solid blackjack table.
When the table numbers are restricted, which is especially the case with the growing popularity of live dealer casinos, then you should pay particular attention to the number of blackjack tables that are on offer. If there's a high amount of tables within a live dealer experience, then the casino expects to bring in players specifically for blackjack. This is a sure sign of an overall good gaming experience and, when combined with the necessary information regarding site security and overall player safety, could prove itself to be the best blackjack option for US players.
Finally, you can turn to the community itself for first-hand insight into what's going on. This is important when there aren't all that many players on the platform playing blackjack. If there's a feeling of hesitation within the community, then it's usually best to turn elsewhere since there are far too many options available to American casino players to be wasting time on an inferior platform. When players have access to better, more reliable blackjack games, which is definitely the case here, then players should migrate to those as soon as possible.
Author: Steve Mitchell