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

 

The Fathers of Casino Gambling

Today we tip our hat to the Fathers of Casino Gambling on Father’s Day! This is a look back at those who either invented a game or made it prominent in the industry’s casinos.  Some were inventors, some were just the first or the best at it. Here are some important Fathers of Casino Gambling.

The Father of the Slot Machine – Charles Fey 

1895 was a year of slots invention when Charles Fey represented his own brainchild called Liberty Bell. It is significant to know that the popularity of the slot machine was so astounding that allowed the inventor to open the factory of slots manufacturing in 1896. The first slots were designed and manufactured by Fey himself. They were soon placed into the local gambling establishments on the basis of the 50 rent percent. Hence, in addition to being the first inventor, Charles Fey was recognizable as the first proprietor of the slots.

slots-history-img1

Charles Frey and a picture of the famous “first” slot machine the “Liberty Bell.”

A little know fact is that in 1901, Charles Fey added a Draw feature to his very popular Slot machine. This allowed some of the drums to be held when taking a second spin. This feature greatly increased the popularity of the Slot machines and turned them more into a skill-based gambling machine, and this development set the stage for the future history of video poker.

The Father of Card Counting – Ed Thorpe

It was during his tenure at the MIT that he came up with the thought of using his knowledge of mathematical principles to come up with a model that could help decrease the house advantage. Former mathematics professor Edward Oakley Thorp brought card counting to modern Blackjack in 1962, when he published his book, “Beat the Dealer.” Although it has been succeeded by other methods since it was introduced, Thorp’s Ten Count System is regarded as the first mathematically proven system for card counting made available to the general public.

Ed Thorp’s ground-breaking counting system.

The Father of Casino Gambling – Modern Craps and  John H. Winn

It was American dice maker, John H. Winn, who developed the rules further to allow betting for or against the shooter, thus becoming the father of modern Craps. His influence on the game brought us the game as we know it today, a full table setup in the air-conditioned comfort of a casino.

The Father of casino gambling -Roulette and Blaise Pascal 

So, how did he get that title as the father of Roulette? At 16, Blaise Pascal actually presented a paper about geometry that blew away the best math minds in Paris during that period! He ended up making many math formulas and ideas that are still used today. More importantly to us, he was also the inventor of probability which led to his connection with Roulette. A friend of his, Chevalier de Mere posed a question to him about gambling. Blaise Pascal created a formula to show the probability of two people winning in a casino game, and this has become the essence of probability theory! So, when Blaise Pascal was trying to invent a perpetual motion machine, he invented Roulette instead!

The Godfather of Texas Holdem Poker – Benny Binion.

Benny Binion went to Vegas after the Second World War. Little did anyone know he would change Sin City forever. His motto “If you want to get rich, make little people feel like big people” quickly turned the Horseshoe into one of the best casinos in Las Vegas. But the biggest achievement of his marketing genius was the invention of the World Series of Poker. He, more than anyone else, was responsible for putting the game of Texas Holdem Poker on the world map.

Some recent Fathers of Casino Gambling (Inventors) of casino games:

  1. Sam Torosian (Father of Pai Gow Poker) was the owner of the California Bell Casino in Bell, California, near Los Angeles, in 1985. Sam Torosian had a brilliant idea: he took certain ideas and methods of play from the game of Pai Gow and mixed them with elements of poker to create a brand new casino game: Pai Gow Poker. This new casino game was a perfect blend of old and new, East and West, luck and strategy, and it was an instant hit.
  2. Derek Webb was the first “inventor” of the casino variant for Three Card Poker in 1994 and patented in 1997. He had a vision for a game that combined the excitement of poker and the speed of regular casino games. His version of Three Card Poker is now a staple of casino table games.
  3. David Sklansky is the first person wanting to take credit for the invention of Caribbean Stud Poker. As is noted poker author and player David Sklansky claims he invented a game known as Casino Poker, which is fundamentally the same as Caribbean Stud Poker. However, the dealer exposes his two cards instead of just the one. His version did not include the progressive jackpot feature which Caribbean Stud Poker players know and love today. Never-the-less, the beginnings of this island card game is cloudy at best.  Matter of fact, there are many variants on the origin of the game.
  4. Let It Ride – The game was invented by Shuffle Master founder John Breeding, with the goal of fueling demand for the company’s shuffling machine.

I’m sure there are more, but for now we tip our NETG hat to the father’s of gaming.

That’s all for now.

Binbin

 

6:5 Blackjack IS a Big Deal at New England Casinos

This past week, I was saddened to hear Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods are taking the plunge into lowering BlackJack pay-tables from 3:2 to 6:5 for a blackjack. With increased competition in table games from Twin Rivers & Tiverton Casinos, MGM Springfield and the upcoming Encore Boston Harbor, I thought keeping all of their blackjack tables with a 3:2 payout would be wise – setting them apart for recreational blackjack players and AP’s (Advantage Players) alike.  I guess that assumption was wrong. I guess they believe that lowering the bar to all the other casinos will save them money and the gaming public is too stupid to think it matters. Maybe their right.

Other important considerations in blackjack such as penetration, the number of decks in the shoe, and dealer rules will be in future posts. If you are new to the intricacies of blackjack rules, try our related posts below:

Blackjack – Which Casino Format is Best For You?

12 Tips For Blackjack Beginners

Introduction

Competition among casinos has always been thought to be good for the consumer.  According to the FTC (Federal Trade Commission), “Competition in America is about price, selection, and service. It benefits consumers by keeping prices low and the quality and choice of goods and services high.”

Translated to casino terms, competition should:

  1. keep prices low  – such as dining, hotel expenses, show prices, amenities, parking
  2. keep the quality and choice of goods and services high – good gambling rules, great casino service on casino floor, good hotel service and rooms that are well kept and enjoyable to stay, dining and drink quality high

But what if EVERYBODY raises prices and cuts back on the quality of the casino experience?  Then, there IS NO competition – just a joint greed to rake their patrons over the coals – nickel and diming them much like the airlines have done over the years.

Sure, there are cost of living and inflation changes that come along that are expected. Casinos do compete with little pockets of offers such as rewards clubs tier matching, kiosk swipes and promotions to get you through their casino door. But compared to the negatives – paid parking, resort fees, raising the house edge on gaming rules and payout tables – competition doesn’t seem to be a friend of the gambling consumer.

Black Jack Changes

Which brings me to today’s post – good gaming rules continue to be compromised. It seems casino bean-counters don’t believe the mantra from the gambling masses – “Give us good rules and we will gamble.” So, to my dismay, when I started to hear the erosion of blackjack rules locally, I just couldn’t understand it….. but alas, it’s true.

Foxwoods recently added more tables in their Fox Casino, only to offer $10 black jack exclusively with 6:5 BJ payout, to accompany another terrible payout with it’s $1 6:5 BJ, with $.25 commission per hand. Cedars and Grand Pequot casino offers both. $25 is the cutoff to get 3:2 Blackjack. The Stadium Blackjack is 6:5 also. Rumors of even money coming to electronic blackjack has already showed its ugly face in New England on many video poker machines.

Mohegan Sun raised the minimum limit tables to $10 some time ago – no $5 BJ tables anymore. Much like Foxwoods, they have taken out slots to add more table games and especially blackjack tables with 6:5 payout.

MGM Springfield opened with the same 6:5 Blackjack tables at lower denominations of $10 & $15, with the $25 tables offering 3:2. On the Vegas Strip, MGM is one of many casinos that have put good table games rules on the endangered species list, along with casino “fun books,” free parking and keno.

6:5 Black Jack and House Edge

You get a BlackJack around 1 in 21 hands. So does the dealer. So around 5% of the time, you will be paid $3 less on a $10 bet. So around 15 cents per hand, or 1.5%. Under the proposed changes to 6:5 payouts, the House Edge will be 2.019% vs. the current 0.35% – a pretty big jump in edge from 3:2 to 6:5.

1.5%-2% is still pretty decent odds for a table game, considering the house edge in roulette and carnival games the likes of Caribbean Stud & Let It Ride. For a non-counting average player it’s probably not noticeable. But it certainly screws over Advantage Player’s, especially with other poor rules as mid penetration, no surrender, and dealer hitting on soft 17. Obviously these differences get magnified over the long term, as serious bettors make thousands of wagers over time.

Is this what casinos are counting on to weed out the counters, and keep the recreational gambler and newbie.?  The thing that casinos don’t get is that they will not make more money! The same amount of people will lose the same amount of money, just faster. And AP’s won’t bother with anything below $25 games anyway.

Here’s an very simplistic example. Newbie Norm knows basic strategy and plays for recreation. His usual bankroll is $200 which usually lasts 3 hours.  With the simple change to 6:5 games, his bankroll now only lasts 2.5 hours. Eventually, he finds his money doesn’t last as long and stops visiting all together. How can changing to 6:5 at lower denominations make a difference at the $5, $10, and $15 level?

No Judgement here – play what you want But Vote with Your Wallet

If you want to maximize your odds of having a good turn at the blackjack table, be on the lookout for 3:2 tables.  Spread the word to friends and family, educate them on the difference.  Let them know they have a voice and a vote with every dollar they wager. Let casino staff and dealers know why you play less at that particular casino. Better yet, switch your loyalty to a casino that has preferable rules to you . It’s your choice – no judgement here. Just be an informed consumer before you decide to spend your money wherever you want. You might be surprised how much longer your session will last and how much more fun playing blackjack can be as a recreational gambler.

Binbin