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Why Play Blackjack? How Do You Play?

She Knows How to Play BlackjackThe #1 Blackjack Casino Online: Royal Vegas Casino

People new to casino gambling might wonder why blackjack is such a popular choice with gamblers, especially considering the game doesn’t have a big progressive jackpot. The popularity of the twenty-one games can be explained by the excellent house edge offered to the smart player. Few other games in the casino offer an average payback percentage half as good as blackjack.

Blackjack has the best payback percentage of any online casino game. Full pay jacks or better video poker or full pay loose deuces video poker offer a positive expectation, but a gambler would be hard pressed to find this version online. In the absence of these games, classic blackjack and pontoon offer the best odds you’ll find. If you find the right set of rules, these games offer a payback percentage of 99.5% or better.

Payback Percentage and House Edge

People ask me sometimes how the payback percentage works and how it relates to the house edge. A payback percentage is how much of a theoretical 100% of their money players can expect to win back when playing. If you bet $100 and expect to win back $95, then the payback percentage is 95%. Casinos need an advantage to pay the bills and keep their doors open, so almost any casino game is going to pay back less than 100%. When the payback is less than 100%, this is called a negative expectation game, because you expect to lose money. If you expected to win back $100.01 or more when betting AU$100, the game would be called a positive expectation game, because you’d expect to win some money each time you played (though not much). This is preferable, but somewhat unrealistic.

In those vast majority of cases where you play with a negative expectation, then the house edge and payback percentage added together should equal 100. Let’s say you play classic blackjack which pays back $99.52 of every $100 you wager. The payback percentage would be 99.52%, while the house edge would be 0.48%, which adds up to that 100%. In most cases, giving the information on one provides the information on the other.

Why Such Good Odds?

Blackjack’s excellent odds aren’t easy to collect, though. Most casino games require no strategy. That isn’t the case with twenty-one. To receive that nice house advantage, you’ll need to study “basic strategy“. This is a set of suggestions for playing hands in blackjack. Experts calculated with mathematical precisions (using computers) the best way to play each hand. Any given game is going to have its version of basic strategy, so pontoon, double exposure, switch, and Spanish 21 each would have its own basic strategy chart. People can download or print off basic strategy charts online, though they need to be sure to find the printable chart which corresponds exactly to the game rules they gamble under. Even with study, it’s not easy to play optimal blackjack.

How to Play Blackjack

In twenty-one, the strategy of the game is to get as close to 21 without going over. If your hand beats the dealer’s hand, you win. When a hand starts, players are dealt two face-down cards. The dealer also is dealt to cards. In most games, one of the dealer’s card is showing (face card) and the other is dealt face down (hole card).

Once a player has seen the cards, they must make decision to wager more or not, which could include doubling the bet. Also, the player must decide whether to ask for another card (“hit”) and keep what they have (“stand”). To stand, rub your cards gently across the felt. If you play in a casino where you cannot touch your cards (dealt face-up), simply rub your hand against the felt. To hit, make a tapping motion on the felt with your hand.

This continues until you stand. If at any point you bust, you lose. If you don’t bust, then the dealer goes through the same process or hit or stand. Each table has its own dealer rules. A common rule is to stand on a hard 17 (or more), but hit on a soft 17 or a hard 16 (or less). If the dealer busts, you win. If neither you nor the dealer busts, then the winner is whoever has the highest hand. If both are the same, you push.

Players at the Table

In a live casino environment, up to seven players play at each table. The dealer deals card from his or her left one at a time, until everyone holds two cards. In these situations, gamblers need to follow a certain etiquette. Good manners involve common sense issues like not touching other players’ cards. Also, you shouldn’t comment on their tactical decisions or style of play. Another case of table etiquette, which I’ll get into later on the blackjack manners page, is to tip a proper amount for dealers doing their job. (See our article about rouilette etiquette, too.)

Other methods of playing twenty-one exist. Video blackjack is available in many land-based casinos these days. This game is quite similar to the form of twenty-one played at online casinos, since a random number generator is used to determine the outcome of the game. This game doesn’t have nearly the good odds of the traditional game, though.

Smart Gambling Tips

So we come full circle. Blackjack is such a fun game because it offers gamblers the best chance in the casino to walk out with more money than they walked into the casino holding. That doesn’t mean your are going to win–the odds are still stacked against you. Also, with a few online exceptions, players aren’t going to walk out of the gaming venue with a big progressive jackpot. Most bets pay 1-to-1 odds, so you won’t get rich playing blackjack. Still, twenty-one is a game players flock to play, because while it might not offer you riches, 21 isn’t likely to leave you in rags, either.

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