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Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Blackjack Basic Strategy

Blackjack basic strategy is based on the mathematics of the game. It has been tested and refined through computer simulations. When it is followed correctly it reduces the house edge to the minimum, which is usually about one-half of a percent. Minor adjustments are made to basic strategy depending on certain rule variations that the different casinos can chose to use. For example some casinos will allow you to double down after splitting (DOS) and some do not allow it. There are also some changes made to basic strategy for single and multiple deck games.

If you want to be a successful blackjack player you will need to learn basic strategy. Most players start learning by referring to a basic strategy chart. The strategy chart shows you how to play your first two cards based on the dealers up card.

Referring back to the Blackjack 101 article, you know that the house gains its edge by the fact that the player must act first. Since the basic strategy chart only deals with the first two cards, you will also need to learn what decisions to make after taking a hit.

Translate the Chart
The best way to do this is to translate the basic strategy chart into plain English that explains how to play a hand with three or more cards. Let's look at an example:

If your first two cards are and a 5 and a 3 you have a total of eight. The chart tells you to hit. You draw another 3, which gives you a total of eleven. The chart tells you to double on 11 but you can only double on your first two cards. Therefore you must hit.

When we translate the strategy chart into plain English, we use the word "otherwise" when dealing with situations that are different because of multiple cards. If we were to write out the example above it would be: If you have 11 - double, otherwise hit.

I have written out how to handle multi card decisions for hard hands, soft hands and split pairs. I have placed this information into three "How to Play" pages that you can link to below. Here is how to play basic strategy when there are more than two cards involved written out in plain English.

How to Play Hard Hands: -A hard hand is two starting cards that do not contain an ace.

If you have eight or less, always hit.
If you have Nine: Double if the dealer has 3 thru 6 - otherwise hit.
If you have Ten : Double if the dealer has 2 thru 9 - otherwise hit.
If you have Eleven: Double if the dealer has 2 thru 10, Hit if dealer has Ace.
If you have Twelve: Hit if the dealer has 2 or 3, Stand if the dealer has 4 thru 6, otherwise hit.
If you have 13- 16: Stand if the dealer has2 thru 6, otherwise hit.
If you have 17 - 21: Always Stand.

How to Play Soft Hands: - A soft hand is when one of your starting hands contains an ace.

If you have Ace 2 or Ace 3: Double if the dealer has 5 or 6 - otherwise hit.
If you have Ace 4 or Ace 5: Double if the dealer has 4 thru 6 - otherwise hit.
If you have Ace 6: Double if the dealer has 3 thru 6 - otherwise hit.
If you have Ace 7: Stand if the dealer has 2, 7 or 8. Double 3 -thru 6 - otherwise hit.
If you have Ace 8 or Ace 9: Always Stand.

How to Play Pairs

If you have a pair of Aces or Eights: Always split.
If you have a pair of twos or threes: Split if the dealer has 2 - 7, otherwise hit.
If you have a pair of fours: Split if the dealer has 4 or 5 - otherwise hit.
If you have a pair of fives: Double if the dealer has 2 thru 9 - otherwise hit.
If you have a pair of sixes: Split if the dealer has 2 thru 6 - otherwise hit.
If you have a pair of sevens: Split 2 thru 7 - otherwise hit.
If you have a pair of nines: Split 2 thru 6, and 8 or 9. Stand if the dealer has 7, 10 or Ace.
If you have a pair of tens: Always Stand.

Translating the Blackjack Basic Strategy Chart into plain English makes it a lot easier to memorize. You can even make up flash cards to help you learn.

Monday, July 2, 2007

How to Play Craps

How to play craps or shoot dice is rather easy to learn and then progress to more sophisticated methods of play. Craps is all about the number seven which on a pair of dice is made up of 3-4 or 2-5 or 1-6. The shooter or the roller of the dice makes what is called the come out roll. If the dice come up seven or eleven on that first roll, the shooter and all who bet on the pass line will win. It the roll is a 2 or a 3 or a 12, the pass line bets lose. If the roll comes up any other number that number becomes what is called the point. The pass line bet is a winner if the number repeats before a seven is rolled. If the dreaded seven comes up first then the pass line bets all lose.

The first simple strategy is to take advantage of the odds offered in a craps game. A player makes their first bet on the pass line and either wins, loses or gets a point. If a point number is rolled, the player should take behind the line odds on the point. Each casino has its own rules as to what they will accept on a behind the line bet. Just ask the stick man or a dealer what their limit is and then bet it. If the table gets hot, the dice will roll many numbers and few untimely sevens. A really hot table will also roll many hard way numbers like four, six, eight and ten. These are called hardways, as the dice are pairs of twos, threes, fours or fives.

A table of dice payoffs is the next thing that a player should learn as this is where the money is made when a dice table gets hot. (these payoff numbers can be obtained on the Internet or on many online casino sites) When a table is showering the players with numbers, the player should be making all of these number bets at odds.

These bets can be of two types, all day bets and single roll bets. All day bets stay up in play until a seven is rolled. A single roll bet either wins or loses on the next roll. The better bet unless the player has a strong hunch is the all day bet.

If a player knew nothing about craps except to bet the pass line and take the max behind the line bet on all points, then they would play better than most craps players. When a player adds to this betting on the come line and placing bets, they have most of the reasonable bets covered that the craps table offers to a player.

The rule in craps is to push the devil out of a hot table and parlay bets, take the odds and keep all of the number bets covered until the table cools down. More money can be made on a hot craps table faster than any other casino game. Players who know how to play craps make a killing when they find a hot table.

The secret to recognizing a hot table early is each shooter holds the dice for a number of passes. Certain shooters hold the dice for much longer than normal and throw many numbers in a row before making their point. Hardways become common and all of this is going on without many sevens being rolled. The lack of sevens is another clue that the table is moving in favor of the craps players.

Be alert to these runs of numbers and which shooters seem to be lucky. Then make the bets and watch your stack grow as the table goes from warn to hot.

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Online Casino, What To Look.

When comparing online casinos, there are several elements that should be looked at by the player. These include: kind of site, games offered, large player count, deposit and withdrawal methods, does you favorite game seem popular, wager levels and specials offered to customers. There are real differences between sites and these comparisons will make it very clear where you should play.

What the site offers should cover all areas that you may play in and at a level that you will feel comfortable with. If you are a horseplayer and a poker player, then these should be offered at levels you can play at and with a choice of poker games. A large player count on the site will usually mean that you can get the game of your choice at all hours of the day or night. This is important in poker choices, as the number of players will determine the games being played and the type of games that are live. This should be checked at different times of the day.

Deposit and withdrawal methods should be easy and convenient to use. Some sites offer few choices for withdrawal and this may mean delays or added expense when getting your funds returned. Make sure this is checked before sending any money in to the site.

Wager levels on any type of gaming should cover the levels that you feel comfortable playing at. The fact that the game is being offered will be of little consequence if the betting level is too high or too low for your taste. Make sure that your favorite game is played and at betting levels and limit levels that you can live with. Playing at a level you are not happy with is a path to losing

Bonuses and special rewards for play are another area that separates the sites that are player friendly and just places to play. A site should have a new player bonus on the first deposit as well as bonuses each month for new deposits. There should also be a reward program that benefits players who regularly use the site. Rewards for play at certain levels are often found on sites that are very popular with gaming patrons. Special bets on table games are another plus on sites that offer casino gaming. You see these special betting programs on table games like pai gow poker and some games of blackjack.

When comparing online casinos, there are sites on the Internet that do a good job of showing what different sites offer and how they differ from one another.
Just type in what you are looking for in any search engine and you will be shown the sites that compare online casinos. Once you have a list of sites that seem to meet your criteria, then check them out individually for yourself. Make sure that what was said about the site was accurate and the play is what you are after.

Some very popular sites only offer selections of slot games. If this were not your passion, then you would be wise to look further than popularity. Some sites that offer table games do not offer poker or sports betting. However there are sites that offer every form of gaming that a player may wish to play. There are many online casinos available to the betting Internet player. It is just a matter of what is your fancy and what wager level do you want to play at. Check out a few and use some of the online comparison sites to find the one or two sites that you feel will fit your needs.