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If the dealer has a ten, the insurance bet pays In most casinos, the dealer then peeks at the down card and pays or takes the insurance bet immediately. In other casinos, the payoff waits until the end of the play. In face-down games, if you are playing more than one hand, you are allowed to look at all of your hands before deciding.
This is the only time that you are allowed to look at the second hand before playing the first hand. Using one hand, look at your hands one at a time. Players with a blackjack may also take insurance, and in taking maximum insurance they will win an amount equal to their main wager.
Fully insuring a blackjack against blackjack is thus referred to as "taking even money". There is no difference in results between taking even money and insuring a blackjack. Insurance bets are expected to lose money in the long run, because the dealer is likely to have a blackjack less than one-third of the time. However the insurance outcome is strongly anti-correlated with that of the main wager, and if the player's priority is to reduce variance , they might choose to make this bet.
The insurance bet is susceptible to advantage play. It is advantageous to make an insurance bet whenever the hole card has more than a one in three chance of being a ten. Card counting techniques can identify such situations. Note: where changes in the house edge due to changes in the rules are stated in percentage terms, the difference is usually stated here in percentage points , not percentage.
The rules of casino blackjack are generally determined by law or regulation, which establishes certain rule variations allowed at the discretion of the casino. The rule variations of any particular game are generally posted on or near the table. You can ask the dealer if the variations are not clearly posted. Over variations of blackjack have been documented.
As with all casino games, blackjack incorporates a "house edge", a statistical advantage for the casino that is built into the game. This house edge is primarily due to the fact that the player will lose when both the player and dealer bust. This is not true in games where blackjack pays as that rule increases the house edge by about 1. The expected loss rate of players who deviate from basic strategy through poor play will be greater, often much greater.
Surrender, for those games that allow it, is usually not permitted against a dealer blackjack; if the dealer's first card is an ace or ten, the hole card is checked to make sure there is no blackjack before surrender is offered. This rule protocol is consequently known as "late" surrender. The alternative, "early" surrender, gives player the option to surrender before the dealer checks for blackjack, or in a no-hole-card game.
Early surrender is much more favorable to the player than late surrender. For late surrender, however, while it is tempting to opt for surrender on any hand which will probably lose, the correct strategy is to only surrender on the very worst hands, because having even a one in four chance of winning the full bet is better than losing half the bet and pushing the other half, as entailed by surrendering.
In most non-U. With no hole card, it is almost never correct basic strategy to double or split against a dealer ten or ace, since a dealer blackjack will result in the loss of the split and double bets; the only exception is with a pair of aces against a dealer 10, where it is still correct to split.
In all other cases, a stand, hit or surrender is called for. For instance, holding 11 against a dealer 10, the correct strategy is to double in a hole card game where the player knows the dealer's second card is not an ace , but to hit in a no hole card game.
The no hole card rule adds approximately 0. The "original bets only" rule variation appearing in certain no hole card games states that if the player's hand loses to a dealer blackjack, only the mandatory initial bet "original" is forfeited, and all optional bets, meaning doubles and splits, are pushed.
Each blackjack game has a basic strategy , which prescribes the optimal method of playing any hand against any dealer up-card so that the long-term house advantage the expected loss of the player is minimized. An example of a basic strategy is shown in the table below, which applies to a game with the following specifications: .
The bulk of basic strategy is common to all blackjack games, with most rule variations calling for changes in only a few situations. For example, to use the table above on a game with the stand on soft 17 rule which favors the player, and is typically found only at higher-limit tables today only 6 cells would need to be changed: hit on 11 vs. A, hit on 15 vs. A, stand on 17 vs. A, stand on A,7 vs. Regardless of the specific rule variations, taking insurance or "even money" is never the correct play under basic strategy.
Estimates of the house edge for blackjack games quoted by casinos and gaming regulators are generally based on the assumption that the players follow basic strategy and do not systematically change their bet size. Most blackjack games have a house edge of between 0. Casino promotions such as complimentary match play vouchers or blackjack payouts allow the player to acquire an advantage without deviating from basic strategy.
Basic strategy is based upon a player's point total and the dealer's visible card. Players may be able to improve on this decision by considering the precise composition of their hand, not just the point total. For example, players should ordinarily stand when holding 12 against a dealer 4. However, in a single deck game, players should hit if their 12 consists of a 10 and a 2. The presence of a 10 in the player's hand has two consequences: .
However, even when basic and composition-dependent strategy lead to different actions, the difference in expected reward is small, and it becomes even smaller with more decks. Using a composition-dependent strategy rather than basic strategy in a single deck game reduces the house edge by 4 in 10,, which falls to 3 in , for a six-deck game. Blackjack has been a high-profile target for advantage players since the s.
Advantage play is the attempt to win more using skills such as memory, computation, and observation. These techniques, while generally legal, can be powerful enough to give the player a long-term edge in the game, making them an undesirable customer for the casino and potentially leading to ejection or blacklisting if they are detected.
The main techniques of advantage play in blackjack are as follows:. During the course of a blackjack shoe, the dealer exposes the dealt cards. Careful accounting of the exposed cards allows a player to make inferences about the cards which remain to be dealt. These inferences can be used in the following ways:. A card counting system assigns a point score to each rank of card e.
When a card is exposed, a counter adds the score of that card to a running total, the 'count'. A card counter uses this count to make betting and playing decisions according to a table which they have learned. The count starts at 0 for a freshly shuffled deck for "balanced" counting systems. Unbalanced counts are often started at a value which depends on the number of decks used in the game.
Blackjack's house edge is usually between 0. Card counting is most rewarding near the end of a complete shoe when as few as possible cards remain. Single-deck games are therefore particularly advantageous to the card counting player. As a result, casinos are more likely to insist that players do not reveal their cards to one another in single-deck games.
In games with more decks of cards, casinos limit penetration by ending the shoe and reshuffling when one or more decks remain undealt. Casinos also sometimes use a shuffling machine to reintroduce the exhausted cards every time a deck has been played. Card counting is legal and is not considered cheating as long as the counter is not using an external device,  : 6—7 but if a casino realizes players are counting, the casino might inform them that they are no longer welcome to play blackjack.
Sometimes a casino might ban a card counter from the property. The use of external devices to help counting cards is illegal in all US states that license blackjack card games. Techniques other than card counting can swing the advantage of casino blackjack toward the player. All such techniques are based on the value of the cards to the player and the casino as originally conceived by Edward O. Shuffle tracking requires excellent eyesight and powers of visual estimation but is more difficult to detect since the player's actions are largely unrelated to the composition of the cards in the shoe.
Arnold Snyder's articles in Blackjack Forum magazine brought shuffle tracking to the general public. His book, The Shuffle Tracker's Cookbook, mathematically analyzed the player edge available from shuffle tracking based on the actual size of the tracked slug. Jerry L. Patterson also developed and published a shuffle-tracking method for tracking favorable clumps of cards and cutting them into play and tracking unfavorable clumps of cards and cutting them out of play.
The player can also gain an advantage by identifying cards from distinctive wear markings on their backs, or by hole carding observing during the dealing process the front of a card dealt face down. These methods are generally legal although their status in particular jurisdictions may vary.
Many blackjack tables offer a side bet on various outcomes including: . The side wager is typically placed in a designated area next to the box for the main wager. A player wishing to wager on a side bet is usually required to place a wager on blackjack. Some games require that the blackjack wager should equal or exceed any side bet wager. A non-controlling player of a blackjack hand is usually permitted to place a side bet regardless of whether the controlling player does so.
The house edge for side bets is generally far higher than for the blackjack game itself. A side count, designed specifically for a particular side bet, can improve the player edge. Only a few side bets, like "Lucky Ladies", offer a sufficient win rate to justify the effort of advantage play. In team play it is common for team members to be dedicated toward counting only a sidebet using a specialized count.
Blackjack can be played in tournament form. Players start with an equal numbers of chips; the goal is to finish among the top chip-holders. Depending on the number of competitors, tournaments may be held over several rounds, with one or two players qualifying from each table after a set number of deals to meet the qualifiers from the other tables in the next round.
Another tournament format, Elimination Blackjack , drops the lowest-stacked player from the table at pre-determined points in the tournament. Good strategy for blackjack tournaments can differ from non-tournament strategy because of the added dimension of choosing the amount to be wagered.
As in poker tournaments, players pay the casino an initial entry fee to participate in a tournament, and re-buys are sometimes permitted. Some casinos, as well as general betting outlets, provide blackjack among a selection of casino-style games at electronic consoles. Video blackjack game rules are generally more favorable to the house; e. Video and online blackjack games generally deal each round from a fresh shoe i. Blackjack is a member of a large family of traditional card games played recreationally all around the world.
Most of these games have not been adapted for casino play. Furthermore, the casino game development industry is very active in producing blackjack variants, most of which are ultimately not adopted for widespread use in casinos. The following are the prominent twenty-one themed comparing card games which have been adapted or invented for use in casinos and have become established in the gambling industry.
Blackjack is also featured in various television shows. Here are a few shows inspired by the game. Examples of the many local traditional and recreational related, blackjack-like games include French Vingt-et-un "Twenty-One" and German Siebzehn und Vier "Seventeen and Four".
Neither game allows splitting. An ace can only count as eleven, but two aces count as a blackjack. It is mostly played in private circles and barracks. The popular British member of the Vingt-Un family is called Pontoon , the name being probably a corruption of "Vingt-et-un". In , professional gamblers around the world were invited to nominate great blackjack players for admission into the Blackjack Hall of Fame.
Seven members were inducted in , with new people inducted every year after. Members include Edward O. Thorp , author of the s book Beat the Dealer which proved that the game could be beaten with a combination of basic strategy and card counting ; Ken Uston , who popularized the concept of team play; Arnold Snyder , author and editor of the Blackjack Forum trade journal; Stanford Wong , author and popularizer of the "Wonging" technique of only playing at a positive count, and several others.
Novels have been written around blackjack and the possibility of winning games via some kind of method. An almost identical theme was shown in the Canadian film The Last Casino. In The Hangover , an American comedy, four friends try to count cards to win back enough money to secure the release of their friend from the clutches of a notorious criminal they stole from the previous night while blacked out. A central part of the plot of Rain Man is that Raymond Dustin Hoffman , an autistic savant , is able to win at blackjack by counting cards.
Read our casino review and casino offers pages. Doubling down has come into popular parlance to describe people reaffirming their belief in a statement or decision in some way, but to double down is originally a blackjack side bet. To double down is to increase your initial bet the one placed on you vs the dealer in the nearest to 21 duel , by up to per cent.
In return you have to stand after taking exactly one more card. Find out more about the blackjack double down bet and when to go for it. In blackjack, splitting is a betting opportunity that comes into play after your first two cards have been dealt. If they are of the same value, eg two sevens, then the player has the opportunity to split them into two hands. To do so, you must place a bet on the newly created second hand that is of the same value as your original bet.
In some forms of blackjack further splitting is allowed. Learn more on when it makes sense to split in Blackjack. This bet involves the first two cards dealt to the player and the first card the dealer deals themselves. The bet provides insurance against the increased likelihood of the dealer having blackjack a two-card hand with a value of The player sacrifices half their stake, but gets half their stake back and ends their involvement in the hand.
Had your interest in blackjack side bets sparked? Underage gambling is an offence. Please gamble responsibly and only bet what you can afford.
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