Blackjack Strategy for Doubling Down – Plus Resource Links

Blackjack

Blackjack

When I started writing Blackjack Strategy for Doubling Down – Plus Resource LinksI, I remembered a session sitting playing $5 Blackjack table at Arizona Charlie’s in Las Vegas years ago. .  It was the annual trek to VIMFP (the Vegas Internet Mafia Family Picnic) sponsored by the Vegas Gang at VegasTripping. It was late, my bankroll was dwindling. I had to decide to double a $25 bet, with only $100 left. Basic strategy said yes, I did, and I won.  I went to bed with money in my pocket – it was a good thing!

Doubling Down?

One of the toughest decisions beginning Blackjack players face is “Doubling Down.” This is simply placing another wager on your hand which is equal to your initial bet, and for this wager you will receive another card. However, like all Blackjack strategies, you should only use this option when perfect strategy calls for it.

Blackjack

There are many variations in Blackjack rules. Some are even distinct to locale. Atlantic City is known for “surrender” where I first saw it.  The house rules are displayed on a small sign at the side of the dealer and will let you know when you can double down your hand.

888CasinoBlog – A Great Resource

According to 888CasinoBlog, a great blackjack strategy website, “most casinos allow you to double down on any two-card hand (hard or soft), whereas some restrict doubling to specific starting hands, e.g., doubling is allowed only on hard 10 and 11. The best player-friendly doubling rules are when you can double down on any two cards.”

Basic strategy for doubling down is as follows for beginning players at a 6 deck shoe. Taken from Al Moe’s article “Six Keys to Winning At Blackjack”

Hard Hands

  • 9 – double against a dealer 2 through 6 and hit 7 through ace
  • 10 – double against a dealer 2 through 9
  • 11 – double against a dealer 2 through 10

Soft Hands

  • 16 and 17 – double against a dealer 2 through 6, otherwise hit
  • 18 – double against a dealer 2 through 6, stand against a 7 or eight, hit against 9, 10 or ace

Other considerations include:

  • # of decks used
  • dealer’s up card
  • hard hands vs. soft hands ( for example – a soft 18 = A, 7; a hard 18 would be 10, 8)
  • doubling on low pairs (4,4 or 5,5) considering a single deck vs. 4-8 deck shoe.

Blackjack Strategy for Doubling Down – Plus Resource Links

basic_strategy_chart
Basic Strategy Card from BlackjackInstitute.com

As I continued to look at strategy cards & Blackjack websites, I realized that beyond basic strategy of doubling down, I was not the one to give the many viewpoints and advanced strategies needed to know.

So, to complete today’s post, here are websites for those of you beyond the “6 deck shoe basic strategy” play. Enjoy.

The Ultimate Guide to Blackjack by Henry Tamburin at 888CasinoBlog

The Wizard of Odds

Blackjack Institute

Blackjack: The Forum

I hope this has been helpful, or at least, encourages you to check out other Blackjack resources.

Binbin

 

 

Four Formats For Playing Blackjack – Which is Best For You?

Blackjack Table

Blackjack Table

There are Four Formats For Playing Blackjack. Table, cards and chips – real or virtual – are the basic elements for blackjack. Blackjack has come a long way from the days when it first appeared in America as the game we know today. The name for the game however was Twenty-One which has been used in New Orleans since 1823. The game became hugely popular in France after casino owners offered amazing bonuses (for a hand of Jack and Ace of Spades the player got a 10 to 1 payout) which brings us to the origin of the name of Blackjack.

Related Post – Roll The Bones By Dr. Schwartz

Let’s take a look at the modern day formats.

THERE ARE FOUR PHYSICAL FORMATS FOR PLAYING BLACKJACK IN CASINOS:

  1. the traditional live table game with live dealer
  2. stadium game play, with a live dealer, but played with community cards by many players
  3. electronic blackjack, played by up to six players around a blackjack table with a video dealer
  4. video blackjack on a solitary machine, usually the same terminal with video poker, keno, and a few slots.

IGT video blackjack

Is it better to play video blackjack at a video poker terminal or to shimmy up to the table and play the game the way it was meant to be played? (at least before 6/5 BJ and all the enhanced house edge rules.)

It really depends on what you are looking for in your blackjack experience. There are some players out there that refuse to play a video blackjack game. (To be honest, I’d rather play keno than video blackjack.) Some players feel video blackjack can’t be trusted. But, there ARE reasons to play video blackjack?  Let’s compare:

ADVANTAGES TO PLAYING VIDEO BLACKJACK

LOWER MINIMUMS – Video blackjack machines often have a lower minimum bet as little as $1. Compared to traditional tables, even $5 seems low, especially on weekends where limits can start as high as $15 – $25.

BETTER RULES – Video blackjack games can have better rules than any live blackjack game that can be found in the same casino. Check the rules and you may find standing on all 17’s, offering surrender, doubling after the split and split up to 3 hands, better rules than many traditional games offered in several casinos.

BETTER COMPS – Comps, the free perks casinos give to players, are calculated higher for machine players. Some casinos won’t even rate you if you play under $25, and those that will rate you will give you very little in the way of comps, and making some promotions available to you that only apply to slot machines since your play on video blackjack machines will count as a slot machine.

NOT A SOCIAL PLAYER? – Many of us have played at those serious tables of NFB (No Fun Blackjack).  The dealer might be grumpy, the players may be serious strategy or card counters, and heaven help you if play the wrong way (according to basic strategy).  Some players can be very intimidating, if not down-right nasty.  It is a belief that the wrong play will effect the other players’ hands.  Over time, this has been proven not to be true.  Your next mistake may actually help them win – but you’ll never hear a thank you for that.

Stadium Gaming Blackjack

This a hybrid that that crosses all lines  First, for solitary players, being social at the table isn’t necessary. You still have a live dealer, so it’s slower than video BJ, but still faster due to automatic payouts  Having other games immediately available gives more variety and not having the pressure to play every hand. Skipping hands, or socializing with friends around you it a less-stress situation and more fun. Stadium gaming can be lots of fun with friends, something a live table game can provide also. Besides blackjack, bacarrat and roulette are also usually provided. New England casinos that offer Stadium Gaming include Mohegan Sun, Foxwoods, Twin River Casino & Hotel, Tiverton Casino and Hotel. Plainridge has table game terminals, but is not allowed live dealers as a slots-only facility.

RULEs and Rewards

Points accrued at a standard table game is basically earned according to the the following:

  • Amount of Wager per hand
  • Time spent at the table
  • Table game house edge being played
  • Average hands played per hour.

But any video format, including stadium gaming, is more like slots and video poker, where your play and your points are decided by the casino software.

Four Formats For Playing Blackjack – DISADVANTAGES TO PLAYING VIDEO BLACKJACK – 

NOW A WORD OF CAUTION FROM OUR FRIEND, THE CASINO ANSWER MAN JOHN GROCHOWSKI:

CHECK THE PAYOFFS –  “Given basic strategy for a single-deck game, the house edge is about 2.5 percent. If you got the full 3-2 payoff on blackjacks, it would be a 0.24 percent game, but even-money pays on two-card 21s add 2.27 percent to the house edge. That’s equivalent to a slot payback percentage of 97.5 percent, so yes it’s a higher payback than on penny slots. Returns vary from game to game, casino to casino and jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but penny slot paybacks almost always are less than 90 percent.

FASTER PLAY – A word of caution: video blackjack plays a lot faster than table blackjack. The video game doesn’t need time for dealing cards to other players, settling bets, stacking chips in trays, buy-ins and cash outs of multiple players, shuffles or cuts. As a video player, you can play just as fast as you can make decisions and hit the buttons. At a full table, you might play only 50 to 60 hands per hour. If you’re betting $10 a hand, you’re risking $500 to $600. At your video blackjack game, it’s easy to get in 500 hands per hour. Even with $1 bets, you’re betting $500 per hour.

Your hourly wager total is right up there with the $10 table players, and you’re playing against a house edge that probably is much higher than the table edge. On a six-deck game where the dealer hit soft 17, you may double on any first two cards including after splits, may split any pair up to three times and blackjacks pay 3-2, the house edge against a basic strategy player is 0.62 percent. If your budget extends only to $1 bets and you’re going to set a low loss limit, then you can have some fun at the blackjack machines. But for extended play, the table usually is the better play.

ADVANTAGES TO PLAYING LIVE BLACKJACK

A fun time was had by all!

WHILE VIDEO BLACKJACK HAS MORE OF A BEGINNER FOLLOWING, THERE ARE CERTAINLY ADVANTAGES TO A LIVE DEALER AND LIVE ACTION.

DRINK SERVICE – If you would like good drink service, you will get served more drinks in the table games pit than you will in the slot area where video blackjack games usually are located.

BETTER COMPS FOR HIGHER ROLLERS – If you are going to average $25 or more a bet then you will get noticed in the pit and you are likely to get better comps.

COUNTING CARDS – If you are going to count cards it will be much easier to do so at the table games. It is impossible to count cards on some blackjack machines. A full table game of blackjack will likely be faster than a video blackjack game because novice players are more likely to be on the machines.

SMOKE FREE TABLES – If smoke bothers you then table games might be best for you too. Casinos will often make a table smoke free upon request. That cannot be done in the slot area.

SOCIAL – Table blackjack games also tend to be more social than video blackjack machines. No, it’s not the fun commeradeie of the craps table, but with the right people, it can bring a bit of “the players vs. the casino” excitement.

Related Post – Blackjack Not a Team Game

BAD VIDEO BLACKJACK MACHINES – BEWARE

The machines that can be played advantageously are multi seat machines where blackjack pays 3 to 2. Some video poker machines such as Game Kings and Game Makers have a heads up blackjack game on them. These are terrible blackjack games. These games typically pay even money on blackjack. They typically do not allow doubling after the split either. Some of these machines do not allow doubling at all. It is best to avoid these games. Some multi seat games are single deck games that pay 6 to 5 on blackjack. Avoid these single deck machines as well.  Believe it or not, some video blackjack terminals include even money in blackjack.

One more word of caution concerns multigame machines.  Usually, the rate of  comps depends on the game of with the tightest house edge, and that includes the rest of the games on that machine-including the rest of VP, Keno, Slots and yes, Blackjack. Find video blackjack on machines with poorer VP pay tables to ensure the highest amount of earning comps.

CONCLUSION

There are advantages to playing both live and video blackjack. Each player has their own goal as to what they would like to get out of a blackjack game. Blackjack can be fun whether it is a video blackjack game or a live blackjack game; it is up to the player to decide which they enjoy more.er hour. Even with $1 bets, you’re betting $500 per hour.

Binbin

 

Blackjack Not a Team Game

Blackjack Not a Team Game, but Craps Is. This post is in response to all those whining blackjack players who play at low limit tables and complain about players strategy.  Where else are beginning or recreational gamblers supposed to play? Help when asked for is fine, but shaming one’s strategy and blame for your lack of success is just wrong.  If you want better strategy played, I hear you can reserve a table in High Limit…..

Blackjack Not a Team Game vs the Casino

Tension at the blackjack table

This is a tale of two table games, Craps and Blackjack.  Some consider both games “us against the casino.”  Team games.  But only one comes with that kind of fun and camaraderie……and it’s not blackjack.

Craps players tend to band together.  They have the most fun.  The shooter is the warrior, the attacker for the group.  His throw of the dice will determine his followers success – at least those betting pass line. Craps is the only “one for all and all for one” table game…..and that doesn’t include any of the carnival games that can be found.

Now, Ever hear this?

“You know what really drives me crazy about blackjack? …You sit down and get a good game going, and then some idiot sits down at third base and starts messing up the cards. What do you do about that?”imageI am so tired of superstitions and myths believed by even the best players.  Remember what we say at NETG, “Embrace the math, not the Myth.”The whole idea that blackjack players band together under the same strategy to beat the dealer is preposterous. The table isn’t a team, it’s one on one against the dealer’s hand.

Blackjack – NOT A Team Sport

Ken Smith is a well-known blackjack player. If you want to know more about him, try going to BlackjackInfo.com.  In Blackjack Forum, 2013, he wrote the following:  “Other players have no appreciable affect on your results. That’s right… Johnny Clueless from Buffalo who sat down at your table had nothing to do with your losing streak.  Now, if you already knew this to be true, you probably know what happens next in the conversation. Trying to explain that other players can’t screw up your results invariably leads to that blank stare. You know the one. It’s where you can almost see them thinking: “This Kenny guy doesn’t know squat about blackjack! How did he ever make any money?!”

Generally, I don’t even bother trying to dispute their notion. Instead I’ll just nod my head as if these kinds of players bother me too, and change the subject as soon as I can,……. let me make a concerted effort to explain why this is a myth. “

Win or Lose, Play Your Own Blackjack Hand

Bottom line is you can win as much as lose from players and their poor strategy – short or long term.imageOnce, I was playing video poker. I was dealt two tens, but only kept one….three hours of playing will cause that sometimes.  On the draw, I was dealt the rest of the Royal Flush. It was my mistake in strategy, but I didn’t give back the $1000.

Moral of the Story

I’d like to complain about high table minimums at blackjack.  I’d like to blame the sightings of 6:5 blackjack pay tables.  But, to be honest, it’s the lack of fun and height of intensity at the blackjack table that keeps me away.  I don’t find it at craps, or Pai Gow poker, and especially with my own personal video poker terminal. The last time I played blackjack was at Ellis Island, Las Vegas, with a great dealer, great atmosphere, kind players and a $5 minimum. Ah, those were the days….

Related Post – 12 Tips For Blackjack Beginners

So, don’t bitch about something that doesn’t exist, don’t play $5 tables and expect highly skilled players. Take the good with the bad, and embrace the math, not the myth.

Binbin