2023’s Blackjack Variants: Which Version do You Prefer?


Today’s Hottest Blackjack Variants to Try

It’s official: the new year is underway, and we’ve all relaxed into it. We’ve seen trends come and go, games released, new versions hit the market, but through it all we keep to some of our most beloved classics.

They’re classics for a reason, after all! Who can resist the allure of the most modern slot games, the excitement of the poker table, or (most interesting to us), the newest variations of Blackjack to hit the casinos.

Whether you enjoy the glitz and glamour of dressing up for a night out and hitting the town (by which we mean your favorite brick and mortar casino) or the comfort and coziness of your very own couch, blackjack has never been more accessible or more popular.

With the rise of online gaming in the past decade, the trend shows no sign of stopping: blackjack continues to delight generations of players.

But an old classic can always experience a revival—and a facelift might be just the thing to pique your interest anew.

We’ve gathered our favorite variations on a theme and created a quick and handy guide to explain the differences between them. Whether you’re an experienced player or an amateur looking to cut your teeth on a new game and perhaps win some cold hard cash, the first step to success is preparation.

A little research today will put you in an excellent position for confident play tomorrow. As companies such as Stakelogic reach new and important agreements with companies such as Paf, blackjack is sure to become more accessible as the year goes on. You definitely want to position yourself at the front of the trend.

The Different Faces of Blackjack

The first thing we want to make clear is that this is by no means a comprehensive list. We’ve simply chosen a couple of our favorites to present to you.

Casinos reserve the right to offer any games they’d like and sometimes this even includes their own variants, complete with different rules and winning structures. In order to make sure your favorite game’s available, it’s worth it to call ahead: any casino customer service agent should be able to reassure you—or help you better anticipate your visit.

If you’re planning to play at home, you have a wide variety of casinos you can try—and you can easily see which versions of your favorite games are available. You can even choose between mobile apps and browser play, tailoring your evening hours to meet your needs.

Blackjack is a perfect example of a game with a ton of flexibility. This makes it perfect for everyone, regardless of experience level. It’s simply a matter of choosing in which way you’d like to play.

The Classic Game of Blackjack

It would be ridiculous to start this list off with any other version: of COURSE we have to talk about the classic form of the game. After all, it’s not only the most basic but also the most widely available, both in land-based and online casinos.

The goal of classic blackjack is simple: you need to get as close to the combined total of 21 without going over it. You’re playing against the house, so it’s a great game if you want a taste of competition but don’t feel ready for an entire table of cutthroat players.

Aces are worth either 1 or 11, depending on your preference. Face cards are worth 10 points. All the numbers in between, naturally, hold their own value. The dealer deals two cards to everyone at the table, and then to their own side.

You can decide to collect another card, based on the ones already in your hand, or stay where you are. If you’re closest to that magic 21, you win. If you accidentally end up with cards totaling over 21, you’ve automatically lost.

It’s important to mention that even classic blackjack has variations in the way bets are cast. The rise of live, authentic gaming with free bets offers more enticing deals to players who don’t want to change the game, but do want to change their betting strategy.

Would You Try Double Exposure Blackjack?

Double exposure is the first “real” variation we want to talk about. It’s a great option for beginners because one of the key differences is that both of the dealer’s cards are revealed at the beginning of each round.

You’re already getting excited, aren’t you?

Yes! In this variation, you have an advantage: You can make an informed decision about your move because you already know what the dealer’s holding.

There’s a catch though: if either of the cards the dealer shows is an ace or a face, they automatically win—and you lose.

Take a European Trip with Spanish 21

We have to warn you: this one’s a little wild. It bears a passing resemblance to Blackjack, but definitely has some differences.

The main one is that Spanish 21 uses a 48-card deck, removing all the tens. We know!

This comes with good news and bad news: the good news is that it’s easier for you to hit 21! Unfortunately, it also has the side effect of increasing the house edge. You have to roll with the punches to play Spanish 21, but it’s as beginner friendly as Classic or Double Exposure.

The British Version: Pontoon

It’s possible that you’ve heard of Pontoon and have wondered what it is—surprise! It’s a variant of blackjack: nothing more, nothing less.

Pontoon originated in the UK and was popularized there as well—but it’s expanded its reach and has gained a beloved status in other parts of the world as well.

In Pontoon, the typical 52-card deck is used, but it still has a couple differences from Blackjack’s classic version. The most significant of these is that players are only dealt two cards, faced own, and then they can split the pairs. You can do this up to three times, for a total number of four hands.

What are you waiting for?

The time has come for you to decide which variant of this oldie-but-goodie you want to play and start building your strategy. Who knows? One might even become your 2023 go-to.


Learn How to Count Cards in Blackjack

Mines GamesPH

Good Blackjack card counting tips include the understanding that higher valued cards work to the dealers advantage while lower valued cards work toward the players advantage. The difference between the two is knowing who has the advantage. Card counting in blackjack allows the player to play the odds. If done correctly and the player can become a master at Blackjack.

How does this work exactly? Counting cards in blackjack is skill that is learned and practiced. If most of the lower cards have been played then the deal has a higher chance of busting. There are several methods of counting cards in blackjack. This article will concentrate on one the better methods of counting cards – Hi/Lo card counting.

Hi-Lo Card Counting

The deck is divided into three sections – Low Cards, High Cards and Neutral Cards. Each group is assigned a numerical value:

Low CardsHigh CardsLow Cards
Low Cards areHigh CardsNeutral Cards

So each time a card is played or laid on the table the play makes a mental calculation. The count starts at zero. If a Jack is played then the count is -1. But if the dealer deals a Q, 8, 2, K then the count is the mathematical equation ( 0-1+0+1-1) = -1. If the dealer deals a 5,K,J,2 then the mathematical equation is (0+1-1-1+1) = 0. The zero at the beginning of the equation is the starting balance. It carries over from hand to hand. If the two hands were played one after the other then the beginning balance of the second equation would be (-1+0+1-1-1+1)= -1.

Running Count

Hi low card counting is simply keeping track of the cards that are played and estimating when higher valued cards may be dealt. A +1 count is more likely to produce a high card, while a low card is more likely to be produced at a -1 count. If the odds favor being dealt higher valued card, it could be dangerous anytime someone has a natural hand count of 12 or more, and the blackjack card counting is +1 . Then more high valued cards are left and hitting may be beneficial but risky. If the hi low card counting is -1 then the odds of having a low valued card dealt are greater. This card counting blackjack tip is designed to allow the player to know when to bet high and when to bet low.

The danger of counting cards in blackjack is getting caught. It is not a crime nor is it illegal to count cards but a dealer who thinks you are counting cards will employ all kinds of tricks to mess up your counting. Some casinos may ask you to leave if they suspect you are a card counter. To overcome the obvious look of counting cards in blackjack requires nothing more then practice to improve your hi-lo card counting abilities. The goal is to blend in with novice players and to achieve that goal you will need to practice until counting cards in blackjack is second nature to you.

Practice with Online Blackjack

For those players interested in becoming more familiar with blackjack it is advisable to play blackjack online. The casinos online that offer blackjack represent an excellent opportunity to get-to-know the finer aspects of the game.

Though counting cards does not work when playing online blackjack, the goal of playing blackjack online is to not only become more familiar with the game but to master the rules of the game. Learning the rules and mastery of the game allows the player to be able to focus better on learning to count cards when playing blackjack at live tables, so it doesn’t appear like you are counting cards while playing.


Top-Rated Blackjack Movies


If you are a fan of movies related to casinos, you have come to the right place. On this page, we will list the ten best blackjack movies of all time. We are positive that you have heard about most of these, however, we also hope that you will manage to find your next favorite counting cards movie. Some of the movies we are about to discuss are available on Netflix, which means that those of you who have accounts there will be able to play them immediately after reading our blog post.

What Are Blackjack Movies and Why Are They Popular

The movie industry is filled with all types of genres – romance, action, horror, comedy, and so on. Gamblers, however, are most fascinated with one particular type of movies, namely those where the main focus is on gambling. If you are someone who likes to play blackjack online, you will most likely enjoy reading this piece.

The reason being is that we will list the ten most popular blackjack movies every casino player should see at least once in their lifetime. We have picked classics that were released many years ago, as well as a few critically acclaimed movies that aired in the last couple of years. Please, keep in mind that not all movies listed here are solely related to blackjack. Some of them are only renowned for particular memorable scenes that include the activity of playing blackjack.

  •  Top-Rated Movies about Blackjack
  •  The Last Casino
  •  21
  •  Croupier
  •  Mississippi Grind
  • ♠️ Holy Rollers: The True Story of Card Counting Christians
  •  Rain Man
  •  The Cooler
  •  The Hot Shoe
  • ♠️ Casino Royale
  • ♦️ The Gambler
Top 10 Blackjack Movies

If you’re looking for inspiration for your next visit to blackjack casinos in PA, for example, you will most likely find it here. On this page, we will talk about ten spectacular movies about blackjack. Most of them are set in the US and feature some truly iconic scenes.

In the following table, we will enumerate all movies we will center on today, as well as the year of their release. As aforementioned, we have made sure to create a list that contains titles suitable for all ages. Therefore, here, you will run into movies that are relatively new, as well as several that are considered classics when it comes to casino movies about blackjack.

The Last Casino2004
Mississippi Grind2015
Holy Rollers2011
Rain Man1988
The Cooler2003
The Hot Shoe2004
Casino Royale2006
The Gambler2014
#1. The Last Casino (2004)

Director: Pierre Gill; IMDb Rating: 7.0/10

The Last Casino is a Canadian drama that was released back in 2004. It is considered one of the best movies about card counting. It tells the story of a Math professor who uses a special strategy when playing blackjack at casinos. However, once professor Barnes is banned from the casino, he figures out an effective scheme that will earn him money without him setting foot at a gambling house.

He forms a small team of students who go to the university where he teaches. In no time, he makes them true experts in playing blackjack. We do not want to spoil anything else because we might ruin your fun of watching the movie for the first time. The counting cards movie has an IMDb rating of 7.
#2. 21 (2004)

Director: Robert Luketic; IMDb Rating: 6.8/10

Released in 2008, the movie 21 received mainly positive reviews. At the moment, it is one of the most popular blackjack counting cards movies. The film is inspired by the events told in the book Bringing Down the House. The plot revolves around a group of blackjack players who use winning strategies to beat casinos. The blackjack movie Netflix users can see at any time is just as good as the book listed above. Kevin Spacey, Jim Sturgess, and Laurance Fishburne are some of the leading actors.
#3. Croupier (1999)

Director: Mike Hodges; IMDb Rating: 7.0/10

Croupier is the movie that has greatly contributed to the popularization of Clive Owen as an artist. This title surely deserves a place in the list of top-rated blackjack films. Everything about it is simply spectacular – the plot, the characters, the setting, and the dialogues. The movie shows the story of a writer who desperately tries to make ends meet.

To succeed, he becomes a croupier at a casino – a job that is not quite appropriate for him as a person. Nevertheless, Jack Manfred becomes drawn to the world of money, hazard, passion, and fraud. His daily life becomes filled with constant adventures that are, most of the time, extremely dangerous. Just like The Last Casino, this movie, too, has an IMDb rating of 7.
#4. Mississippi Grind (2015)

Directors: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck; IMDb Rating: 6.4/10

Unlike most films from our Blackjack Movies list, Mississippi Grind is a comedy drama starring Ryan Reynolds, Sienna Miller, and Ben Mendelsohn. The story revolves around two gamblers that are not quite successful when it comes to their lives. They drink a lot of alcohol, they spend their money at casinos, and their love life is almost inexistent. Both of them, however, become very close friends and embark on a journey filled with laughter, excitement, numerous blackjack sessions, and a few quarrels here and there.
#5. Holy Rollers: The True Story of Card Counting Christians (2011)

Director: Bryan Storkel; IMDb Rating: 6.9/10

Holy Rollers: The True Story of Card Counting Christians is a captivating blackjack movie that shows how innovative people may be when it comes to earning more money. Watchers will get familiar with two individuals who come from devout Christian families. They strive to figure out a way to win more money, and eventually, they come up with the idea of forming a special blackjack team of younger people. In a period of five years, Colin and Ben manage to increase their savings by more than $3 million.
#6. Rain Man (1988)

Director: Barry Levinson; IMDb Rating: 8.0/10

Rain Man is one of the oldest and the most spectacular movies about card counting on our list. The film follows the life of Raymond Babbitt who has autism. He is an individual with amazing talent. Raymond can conduct swift calculations and memorize both short and long sequences of numbers. His splendid ability is appreciated by his brother who uses Babbitt to beat casinos.
#7. The Cooler (2003)

Director: Wayne Kramer; IMDb Rating: 6.9/10

The Cooler is an American romance drama that was released in 2003. Its plot is quite intriguing, which is probably one of the reasons why so many gambling enthusiasts love the film. At the casino where most of the action takes place, there is a person known as The Cooler who is believed to bring bad luck. His role is to come to the table when a player earns a lot of money when playing blackjack, poker, or another casino game.

#8. The Hot Shoe (2004)

Director: David Layton

The Hot Shoe is a top-rated counting cards movie that is considered an absolute masterpiece. It is a documentary featuring interviews with former and current card counters, including members of the well-known MIT Blackjack Team. The film is a must-watch for everyone who wants to become better in the game of blackjack since it reveals some of the most successful strategies for winning.
#9. Casino Royale (2006)

Director: Martin Campbell; IMDb Rating: 8.0/10

Casino Royale is one of the numerous James Bond films. Although the Casino Royale blackjack theme is missing, the movie still has elements of gambling, which makes it an excellent pick for individuals interested in this field. The story brings us back to the beginning of Bond’s career as Agent 007 when he completes missions to earn his license to kill. Some of the most interesting scenes take place at the high-roller’s poker table in Casino Royale in Montenegro.
#10. The Gambler (2014)

Director: Rupert Wyatt; IMDb Rating: 6.0/10

If you like watching blackjack movies or poker movies, you will definitely love The Gambler. It is an American crime drama with Mike Wahlberg in the leading role. In the movie, he is a literature professor who spends every spare minute of his life gambling at casinos. At some point, he ends up owning more than $200,000 to several individuals, and he is in desperate need of finding a way to repay his debt.

Finally, we will provide factual answers to several questions regarding the best blackjack movies of all time. Each answer contains a jump link that will take you to the respective section in our blog post, where you’ll be able to obtain even more information. After all, we wish to grant you the best possible experience on our platform.

Which is the best blackjack counting cards movie?

Unquestionably, the best counting cards movie one can watch is The Hot Shoe. The documentary delivers relevant data about the best card counting strategies a potential bettor may use. Additionally, the film features interviews with some of the best blackjack players of all time.

Where can I see the movie 21?

If you are excited to watch the movie 21 for the first time, we are delighted to inform you that the blackjack film is currently available on Netflix. The gambling movie is an excellent choice for fans of the game. Not only is its plot super interesting, but the story is inspired by real-life events.

When was Rain Man released?

The blackjack movie Rain Man was released in 1988. It is considered one of the best blackjack movies ever made. It follows the story of a person with autism who has an amazing talent for counting and memorizing cards and number sequences, and his brother uses his talent to win at casinos.

What are the top 10 blackjack movies?

Our blackjack movies list contains the ten best blackjack and gambling films ever made. We have provided additional information about each one of them so that you can easily pick a title that is suitable for your interests.

Are movies about blackjack popular?

Even though not everyone likes to watch movies related to gambling, those who love playing casino games are surely fascinated with blackjack and poker movies. The good thing is that the variety is quite decent, and you’ll be able to find all types of genres, including drama, comedy, romance, and crime.


What Are the Best Ways to Play Pairs in Blackjack Mines Games On LuckyCola Casino?

What Are the Best Ways to Play Pairs in Blackjack Mines Games On LuckyCola Casino?

We do know many of our website visitors enjoy playing the occasional few hands of Blackjack when they are playing at our featured casino sites, however we are also fully aware that not all players know what is the best way of playing certain hand combinations that get dealt out to them! With this in mind we have compiled a Blackjack playing guide below that is going to enlighten you on the most strategic ways of playing the many different pairs of matching cards that can be dealt out to you as your initial two hands when playing some of the lowest house edge Blackjack games online. Remember that is it not only important that you play any pair of matching cards optimally but you should also learn how to play every single hand combination that will get dealt out to you when playing Blackjack perfectly. You will find the easiest way to learn how to play each hand perfectly is to get yourself a Blackjack Strategy card for the variant you are playing. Also you are best off only ever playing the Blackjack games with the lowest house edges, for there can be some huge variations in regards to the house edges found on many different online Blackjack games, and many novice and first time players often have no idea as to which variants have been designed to give them the best playing value do to the house edges attached to each different variant. Playing Ten and Picture Card Pair Hands Optimally If you get dealt out any pair of matching 10 cards or in fact any pair of ten valued cards such as a Jack and a King or a 10 and a Queen then you should never make the incorrect playing move, and as such you should stand that pair of cards. Many players who are playing Blackjack for the very first time or those with very little playing experience who have not mastered the fine art of playing Blackjack optimally will often get the urge to split such a pair of ten valued cards, more so if the dealer is showing a low valued card such as a 2 or a 4. But always stand you pair of ten valued cards as that is the correct and most strategic way of playing those types of hand combinations, the only Blackjack game variant that will see you occasionally splitting a pair of ten valued cards is the Double Exposure Blackjack game variant, however as that game has a very high house edge it is not a game you ought to be playing in the first place! How to Handle a Pair of Fives when Playing Blackjack One other pair of cards that you can get dealt out to you quite regularly when playing Blackjack which can be quite a tricky hand to know how to play is a pair of fives. You are going to find that most if not all Blackjack game variants will let you double down on such a hand, and that simply means you are buying one additional card to be dealt out to that hand and the cost of that additional card is the same amount as you wagered on the base hand to set the game into live play. When you have been dealt out a pair of fives and you are playing the low house edge variant of Classic Blackjack then double down a pair of fives if the dealer is showing any card worth from 2 to 9 in value and opt to hit that pair of fives if the dealer is showing an Ace or any 10 valued card. Best and Most Strategic Ways of Playing a Pair of Aces When you are playing any variant of Blackjack, two cards that you will always be quite happy to see being dealt out to you are a pair of Ace cards. Now when you do get dealt out a pair of Aces which you should do quite often when having a fairly long Blackjack playing session you are best advised to split those two Aces into two new hands. This very strategic game playing rule will call for you to be forced to place an additional stake on the extra hand you will end up playing, so make sure that when you are playing Blackjack you have enough cash remaining in your casino account to make a split hand betting decision at all times during that session. There may come a time when you get dealt out a pair of Aces and you have used up your remaining credits on the initial hand which will then result in you not being able to split those Aces, and by not splitting them you will be instantly lowering your chances of winning, so always keep enough funds in your account to perform the split hand betting manoeuvre! Conclusion There are two individual Blackjack games available online which are the most sought after variants, one of these is the Blackjack Switch game which is found exclusively at online casinos that use the Playtech Gaming Platform. This game is unusual in as much as you cannot play it with just one hand in live play you have to play two hands per game, but as soon as you have received your two initial two card hands you are then permitted to swap one card from one hand to the other. Master playing this variant and you will be playing a variant offering a house edge of just 0.16%! If you locate one of our Microgaming Software Powered Casinos to play at, and we have several of them giving away some very large new player bonuses so do check them out, then make sure their single hand Classic Blackjack game is the one you launch, load and play on your computer, for once you have mastered the art of playing this variant the house edge you will be playing against is just 0.13%!


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Which Is the Best Mines Games On LuckyCola Blackjack Betting System?

Which Is the Best Mines Games On LuckyCola Blackjack Betting System?

Close up view of cards on a blackjack table
The Need for a Blackjack Betting Strategy

Strategy is what separates the beginner from the pro in blackjack. While beginners may rely heavily on luck, pros use effective betting systems to make informed decisions and maximize their chances of winning. In essence, betting strategy is applying mathematical probability to predict the odds and carefully plan your bets. In an online blackjack live dealer game, a well-executed strategy can mean the difference between leaving the table with a win or a loss.

Basic Blackjack Betting Strategy

Understanding basic strategy is essential, not just for blackjack but for all casino games. Take, for instance, heads-up poker, a game of skill and strategy that involves one-on-one play and the ability to read your opponent. Similarly, becoming proficient in mixed games poker requires a keen understanding of different poker variations and the ability to adapt.

But where should you start? The flat betting strategy is a great system to begin with, as it’s relatively simple to understand and implement. Players decide on a fixed bet size and then stick to it regardless of whether they’re winning or losing.

This system gives players stability. And while it might limit potential losses, it’s not likely to deliver massive wins.

Advanced Blackjack Betting Strategies

Like in roulette, several blackjack betting systems are designed to give you an edge against the house. Some of the more advanced strategies include the Martingale, the Paroli, and the 1-3-2-6 betting system.

The Risky Martingale System

The Martingale system is one of the most commonly used approaches in live dealer blackjack. Here, you double your bet after every loss. So when you win, you recoup all your losses and make a small profit.

This strategy can be highly effective if you’re willing to stomach the risk, but you’ll need a substantial bankroll and resilience to potentially significant losses.

The Progressive Paroli System

The Paroli system, on the other hand, is a positive progression betting system where you double your bet after each win.

This betting system relies on the momentum of winning streaks, and its effectiveness largely depends on luck and timing. When it works, it can result in substantial profits. Remember, though, that a losing bet resets you to your original stake.

The Balanced 1-3-2-6 Betting System

Lastly, you have the 1-3-2-6 betting system. This system involves betting a specific sequence of units in a cycle of four hands. The first bet is one unit. If you win, the next bet is three units. Win again, and you bet two units. Winning this hand leads to a six-unit bet. If at any point you lose, you revert to the start of the cycle and bet one unit. 

The 1-3-2-6 betting system offers a more balanced approach, allowing more considerable earnings while mitigating potential losses. Its efficacy requires strict discipline and the ability to stick to the betting cycle despite the occasional loss.

Pros and Cons of Each Strategy

Each blackjack betting strategy has its own merits and potential drawbacks to consider.

Martingale System

Pros: The Martingale strategy in blackjack can help you recuperate losses and make a small profit every time you win.

Cons: It requires a significant bankroll and can lead to substantial losses if you hit a losing streak.

Paroli System

Pros: The Paroli system capitalizes on winning streaks, potentially resulting in impressive profits if you’re on a roll.

Cons: A single loss resets your bet to the original stake, which can be frustrating and potentially costly if you’ve already doubled your bets.

1-3-2-6 Betting System

Pros: This system keeps the risk low and aims for consistent, smaller gains rather than high gains.

Cons: There is no guarantee of success, and it’s essential to set a limit to prevent any major losses.

Choosing the Best Blackjack Betting Strategy for You

It’s essential to choose a betting strategy that aligns with your risk tolerance, budget, and gameplay style:

  • If you enjoy taking risks and going for the big wins, then you should consider giving the Martingale system a try.
  • However, if you’re more of a cautious player who wants to minimize your losses, the Paroli system might be a better fit.
  • If you prefer a low-risk approach to your blackjack gameplay, the 1-3-2-6 betting system could be your perfect match.
How To Win at Blackjack

Mastering the art of Blackjack boils down to three key focus areas. First, it’s about immersing yourself in the game and truly getting to grips with the rules. This isn’t just about absorbing the information; it’s about understanding it to the point where it becomes second nature. Next, there’s practice. As with anything in life, the old adage rings true: practice makes perfect. The more you play, the more attuned you become to the blackjack’s nuances and subtleties.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, it’s about predicting what could happen next in the game. This skill comes with time, patience, and experience. When you master these core elements, you can dramatically improve your odds of stepping away from the blackjack table with a victory in your pocket.

Online Casino Betting With BetMGM

Whether you prefer the steady and conservative 1-3-2-6 betting approach or the high-risk, high-reward Martingale strategy, there are a variety of highly effective strategies in blackjack to consider. With some research and experimentation, you’ll soon discover the best betting strategies for your gameplay.

LuckyCola provides a platform to elevate your online gambling knowledge and experience. By engaging in casino online betting, you get the opportunity to flex your strategic muscles as a blackjack enthusiast, a poker aficionado, or a fan of any other casino game.

Register with LuckyCola today and step into the vibrant world of online gambling.


Confidence at the Mines Games On LuckyCola Blackjack Table: A Guide to Success

Confidence at the Mines Games On LuckyCola Blackjack Table: A Guide to Success

People sitting at a blackjack table, with playing cards and casino chips arranged on a table
Understanding the Basics of Blackjack Games

Before you sit down at the blackjack table, it’s essential to understand the basics of the game. The objective of a blackjack game is to beat the dealer’s hand without going over a total value of 21. The game involves multiple players, but each player competes individually against the dealer. Each player receives two cards, and the dealer receives one card face up and one face down.

Players can choose to hit (receive another card,) stand (keep their current hand,) double down (double the initial bet and receive one more card,) or split (if they have two cards of the same rank.) The value of each card is determined by its number or face value, with face cards being worth 10, and aces worth either 1 or 11.

Learning Basic Strategy and Building Confidence

One of the most important things you can do to feel confident in a blackjack game is to learn basic strategy. Basic strategy is a mathematically proven method that tells you the best move to make in every situation based on your hand and the dealer’s upcard. Following a basic strategy will help you reduce the house edge and increase your chances of winning.

There are many resources available online to learn basic strategy, including charts for learning how to calculate payouts and simulators for practicing different types of blackjack. Spending some time practicing blackjack techniques helps you gain control of your decisions at the table. It provides a strong foundation for confident gameplay and builds a solid understanding of how to play blackjack strategically.

Managing Your Bankroll

As in everyday life, managing your bankroll effectively is another important aspect of feeling confident. Whether you’re at the casino’s blackjack table or enjoying online casino games, it’s essential to set a budget before you start playing and stick to it. Only bring to the table what you can afford to lose, and never chase your losses.

Avoid making big bets or taking risks that can quickly empty your bankroll. A good rule of thumb is to never bet more than 5% of your bankroll per hand. If you’re feeling anxious or stressed, take a short break. Stepping away from the table for a few minutes can also help you regain focus and composure and help you avoid doing anything wild.

Maintaining Composure and Table Etiquette

Confidence at the blackjack table goes beyond strategic decisions. It’s also important to maintain composure and practice proper table etiquette. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Avoid getting emotional or showing frustration: Don’t get boisterous, even if you’re on a losing streak. Remember that everyone is there to have fun and enjoy the casino’s games.
  • Be respectful of the other players and the dealer: Avoid antagonizing or criticizing others for their playing decisions, and avoid touching your chips or cards after the initial bet.
  • Follow the casino’s rules and regulations: Avoid distracting behavior like using your phone or talking loudly. It’s also important to understand the different blackjack table rules in various casinos.
  • Know the unspoken blackjack table rules: Understanding the norms, such as hand signals and bet placement, will help you blend in and feel more confident.
Dealing With Winning and Losing Streaks

Winning and losing streaks are common in blackjack games; knowing how to deal with them is crucial. Remember that winning and losing streaks are a natural part of the game, and they will even out over time.

Stay Disciplined

Stick to your basic blackjack game strategy regardless of the outcomes, and take a break if you need to. Winning streaks can be exciting, but it’s important not to get too carried away. Equally, frustrating losing streaks in casino blackjack can easily trigger a downward spiral, but staying calm and avoiding rash decisions is vital.

Know When To Walk Away

If you’ve been playing for a while and are not feeling confident, or you’re on a losing streak, it may be time to take a break from the table and try a different casino game. Don’t keep playing just because you feel like you have to or want to win back your losses. Taking a break can help you clear your mind and come back refreshed and ready to play again.

Practice Your Blackjack Game

Many casinos offer free or low-stakes blackjack games where you can practice your blackjack skills and strategies without risking a lot of money. Some casinos also have different blackjack table rules than others, like allowing players to surrender or offering a 6-5 payout instead of the standard 3-2 payout. Take advantage of these opportunities to gain experience and confidence before playing at a higher-stakes table.

Focus on Long-Term Results

Remember that blackjack is a game of skill and strategy. Keep up to date with the latest strategies and practice blackjack techniques so you can continue to improve your skills and increase your chances of winning. In the long run, refining your basic strategy and practicing discipline will produce more favorable results.

Double Down and Find Your Confidence With LuckyCola

Feeling confident at the blackjack table requires a combination of knowledge, practice, and discipline. Practice makes perfect, and online casino games present the perfect opportunity to hone your craft. LuckyCola offers a variety of online and live dealer blackjack games to choose from. You can also read a number of blogs similar to this one for more information and tips for playing blackjack and many other casino games. For all that and much, much more, just register with LuckyCola and put your skills to the test at the blackjack table.


How to Get the True Count in Mines Games On LuckyCola Blackjack

How to Get the True Count in Mines Games On LuckyCola Blackjack

Card counting is one of those rare gambling strategies that can actually work. Most so-called gambling strategies are just systems relying on the gambler’s fallacy, and in the long run, they fail.

But counting cards actually gives a demonstrable, mathematical edge over the casino.

And the casinos know it.

As a result, they’ve instituted countermeasures to make it harder to get an edge. One of these countermeasures is the use of multiple decks. It’s harder to get an edge when facing eight decks in a shoe.

And the use of those additional decks requires you to convert the running count to a true count. This post focuses on how and why you need to convert the running count to a true count.

But first, I’ll explain some of the basics of card counting.

The process is deceptively simple, but it takes practice and discipline to make any money with it. For purposes of introducing these concepts, I’m going to use the “Hi Lo Count,” which is the most widely used card counting system. It’s also one of the easiest to understand.

If you’ve ever read an actual book about blackjack or counting cards, you’ve probably seen some reference to it. Harvey Dubner first introduced this system in 1963, but it’s as effective now as it was 50 years ago.

Stanford Wong covers the Hi-Lo System in his book Professional Blackjack, and Don Schlesinger goes into more detail about the system in Blackjack AttackBeat the Dealer by Ed Thorp features a card counting system that’s almost the same as the Hi-Lo System, too.

Being able to convert the running count to the true count is a skill necessary for any counter using any system — but only if they’re playing in a game with multiple decks.

How and Why Counting Cards Works

Most gambling systems involve raising and lowering the size of your bets based on what’s happened on previous outcomes. Most of them don’t work.

Here’s why.

Almost all games feature independent, random trials. The probabilities don’t change based on what happened during the previous trial.

For example, you roll a pair of dice. The probabilities are based on the number of sides each die has.

Once you’ve rolled the dice, and you’re ready to roll them again, the dice still have the same number of sides.

The formula for an event’s probability is the number of ways that event can happen divided by the total number of possible events.

When rolling dice, for example, you have 36 possible outcomes. Only one of those outcomes totals 2, so the probability of rolling a 2 on a pair of dice is 1/36.

If you roll a 2, then roll the dice again, the probability of rolling a 2 on the next roll is still 1/36. It doesn’t go up or down based on what happened on the last roll.

But in blackjack, the probabilities change as the cards are dealt because the number of possible outcomes changes.

Here’s an Example.

  • You’re playing blackjack from a single deck. The probability of a card being an ace is 4/52, or 1/13.
  • You deal out two hands, and each of those hands has an ace.
  • The probability of getting an ace on the next card has changed.
  • For one thing, now there are only 48 possible outcomes — that’s how many cards are left in the deck.
  • There are also only two aces left in the deck, so the probability of getting an ace drops to 2/48, or 1/24.

There’s a big difference between a 12 to 1 shot at an ace and a 23 to 1 shot at an ace.

Why the Aces and Tens Are Important

I used aces in the previous example, but I could have also used 10s. There are 16 cards worth 10 points in a blackjack deck — four each of 10s, jacks, queens, and kings. The probability of being dealt a card worth 10 is 16/52, or 4/13.

The 10s are as important as the aces, but you’re more likely to get a 10.

Here’s why that’s important.

When you win at blackjack, you get paid off at even money most of the time. The exception is when you have a two-card hand that totals 21.

Natural Blackjack With 3 to 2 Pay Out And Dealer Busting

That’s called a “blackjack” or a “natural,” and that pays off at 3 to 2.

Since the decks are shuffled and randomized, the aces and 10s might be disproportional based on where they fell in the deck. If a lot of the aces and 10s have already been dealt, your probability of getting a blackjack decreases.

But if you have a higher-than-usual proportion of aces and 10s in the deck, your probability of getting a blackjack increases.

If you bet more when you have a better probability of getting a 3 to 2 payout, you’ll wind up with a mathematical edge over the casino.

And counting cards enables you to track that ratio.

How and Why to Use the Hi-Lo Count as a Beginner

The Hi-Low Count, or the High-Low Count, assigns a value of +1 to the lower-valued cards in the deck and a value of -1 to the higher-valued cards in the deck. Mid-sized cards have a value of 0.

As you see these cards get played, you adjust the count according to which cards have already been dealt.

  • When you see a 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6, you add 1 to the count.
  • When you see a 10 or an ace, you subtract 1 from the count.
  • For counting purposes, you ignore the 7, 8, and 9.

This gives you an idea of your edge at any given time, until the casino dealer shuffles the cards back in the deck.

When the count is positive, you have a proportionally higher number of favorable cards in the deck.

When the count is 0 or negative, you have a proportionally lower number of favorable cards in the deck.

You raise the size of your bets when the count is positive.

You bet your minimum when the count is 0 or negative.

It’s almost just that simple, too.

You’ll find different guidelines for how much to bet based on the count, but the easiest system I learned was to start with a single unit — your minimum. Then decide what your betting spread will be, keeping in mind that the bigger the spread is, the more aggressive you’re being.

The more aggressive you are, the more likely you are to catch heat from the casino.

Then you add the count to 1 to decide the size of your bet.

Here’s an Example.

  • You’re playing at a table with a minimum bet of $5.
  • You decide you’re going to use that as your base betting unit, and you’re going to have a betting spread of 1 to 4 units, based on the count.
  • You’ll be betting in amounts of $5, $10, $15, or $20 — 1 unit, 2 units, 3 units, or 4 units, respectively.
  • When the count is 0 or less, you’ll bet $5.
  • When the count is +1, you’ll bet $10.
  • When the count is +2, you’ll bet $15.
  • When the count is +3 or higher, you’ll bet $20.

This works fine as long as you’re playing in a game being dealt from a single deck.

But if you’re playing in a game being dealt from multiple decks in a shoe, you need to know how to convert the running count to the true count.

Converting the Running Count to a True Count

Converting the running count to a true count isn’t as hard as many people think. It’s just a matter of estimating how many decks are left in the shoe. You divide the running count by the number of decks left to get the true count.

Most people get hung up on being too accurate. All you need is an estimate. Rounding off is your friend here.

Take a look at the example below.

The running count is +9, and you estimate that there are four decks left in the show.

9 divided by 4 is 2.25, but you can just round that off to 2 and make your decisions based on a true count of +2.

You’ll find card counting systems which eliminate the need to convert to a true count, but I don’t think they’re necessary. If you’re able to keep up with the running count accurately, you’re also smart enough to convert that to a true count.

Another advantage to doing the true count conversion is that it reminds you to start over at 0 when the dealer reshuffles the cards. One time, I was drinking while I was counting cards, and I was also chatting with my wife while we were playing.

I bet according to the count, even though the dealer had already shuffled.

Your edge is too small when counting cards to let small mistakes like this slip into your game.

The counting systems that eliminate the need to convert into a true count are usually unbalanced systems. They have a different number of positive and negative values, so if you counted through a single deck, you’d wind up with something other than 0.

With these other counting systems, you’ll also often start your count with a number other than 0. This is to compensate for the number of decks in play.

In these unbalanced systems, you have to jump through so many hoops that you’re better off just doing the true count conversion.

Here’s an Example.

  • With the Hi-Lo System, a single deck of cards has 24 cards worth +1 and 24 cards worth -1.
  • They even out.
  • But with an unbalanced system, you might have 24 cards worth +1 and 26 cards worth -1.

Count through a deck with this system, and you’ll end up with -2 instead of 0.

Why the Number of Decks Matters

When I first learned about card counting, I couldn’t figure out why the number of decks would matter. After all, the ratio of aces and 10s to the other cards is the same regardless of how many decks there are, right?

This is true before you deal any cards, yes. With eight decks, you have 32 aces and 516 totals cards, which is still 1 in 13.

But the ratios change as the cards are dealt, and with more cards in the deck, the ratios are different.

Here’s an Example.

  • You’re playing in a single-deck game, and all four aces have already been played.
  • Your probability of getting an ace is now 0.
  • Later, you’re playing in an eight-deck game, and you see four aces come out.
  • Your probability of getting an ace isn’t 0, because there are still 12 aces left in the deck. The probability isn’t as good, but it’s not 0, either.
  • That’s why the number of decks matters.
  • The numbers you’re using to divide by when determining the ratio are bigger.
Changing Your Basic Strategy Based on the True Count

Changing the size of your bets isn’t the only way to get an edge when playing blackjack. Skilled counters also know when to deviate from basic strategy.

In blackjack, there’s a correct mathematical play in every situation. That’s the play with the best expected return. In some situations, the expected return is negative no matter which choice you make. In those situations, you want the expected return that’s the least negative.

The first and easiest basic strategy deviation for the card counter is insurance. Basic strategy says you should never take insurance. After all, it’s a sucker bet.

But when the true count is +3 or greater, insurance becomes a positive expectation bet.

That’s because as the ratio of high cards changes, the dealer has a better probability of getting a blackjack, too. When that probability gets high enough, insurance becomes a positive expectation bet.

When you have a hard 16 versus a dealer’s 10, you also have a strategy change to consider. The correct strategy play is to hit because of the likelihood that the dealer has a high total. You’re still likely to bust, but it’s still the correct play.

But if you’re counting cards and the count is positive, you should stand instead of hitting. Even a slightly higher positive count results in a higher probability of busting with that extra card.

When you have a hard 15 versus a dealer 10, you also have a basic strategy adjustment to make, but you only make the adjustment if the true count is +4 or higher. This is another hand where you would normally hit if you’re following basic strategy.

But if the count is +4 or higher, you’ll stand instead.

If you’re following basic strategy, you also know that you never split 10s.

But if the dealer is showing a 5, and if the true count is +5 or more, the correct play is to split those 10s. That’s because you have such a high percentage of getting an ace or a 10 as your next card that it’s worth your while to get two really strong hands into play against the dealer.

After all, the dealer has a lousy hand with that 5 showing.

A pair of 10s versus a dealer 6 is the same, but the true count only has to be +4 to split instead of +5.

Blackjack Hand Splitting 10s With Dealer Showing 6 Of Clubs

If you have a hard 10 when the dealer is showing a 10, you’ll deviate from basic strategy if the true count is +4. Normally, in that situation, you’d hit, but if the count is this positive, you’ll double down instead.

If you have a hard 12 versus a dealer 3, you’ll deviate from basic strategy if the true count is +2 or higher. Ordinarily, you’d hit this hand, but if the count is this positive, you’ll stand, hoping that the dealer will bust when she gets a 10.

A 12 versus a dealer 2 is the same thing, but the true count needs to be +3 or higher before you deviate from basic strategy.

If you have an 11 versus a dealer’s ace, you’ll deviate from basic strategy when the count is +1 or better. Normally, you’d hit this hand, but when the count is positive, you’ll double down.

If you have a 9 versus a dealer 2, you’d usually hit, but if the count is +1 or higher, you’ll double down.

Those are the ten most important basic strategy deviations based on the true count. You can find more basic strategy deviations by searching for phrases like “Illustrious 18” and “Fab 4.” (The “Fab 4” describes when you should surrender based on the count.


Counting cards can be a lot of fun and can get you an edge over the casino.

But if you’re playing in a game with multiple decks, you’ll need to know how to get the true count.

Luckily, it’s easy to do.

You just divide the running count by the number of decks left in the shoe.

And don’t forget, an estimate is all you need. You should just round off.


How to Choose the Best Blackjack Games in the Best Mines Games On LuckyCola Casinos

How to Choose the Best Blackjack Games in the Best Mines Games On LuckyCola Casinos

You’ve probably heard this a million times already:

Blackjack offers the best odds in the casino.


Blackjack has the lowest house edge of any game in the casino.

What you don’t hear as often is the importance of choosing the right blackjack game. As it turns out, blackjack isn’t just a single game—it’s multiple games that share similarities.

In that respect, you can compare blackjack to video poker or poker. You have a broad type of game (blackjack, poker, or video poker) that’s actually comprised of multiple games with different rules.

In video poker, the differences from one game to another have more to do with how much the various hands pay out. Also, sometimes various video poker games have wild cards.

In poker, the differences from one game to another are often more extensive. Some games allow you to discard and draw replacement cards, while other games have community cards, and all games can be played with varying numbers of cards.

In blackjack, the rules are what separate one game from another.

Single deck blackjack has such dramatically different odds from 8-deck blackjack that they ought to be considered different games. In fact, you don’t even play the game the same way—in a single deck game, you get to hold the cards in your hand, but in a multi-deck game, you’re not even allowed to touch the cards.

This post looks at the differences from one blackjack game to another and how important those differences are (or aren’t). This way, you can choose the best blackjack game for you.

Keep in mind that different casinos offer different games from one table to another, but they almost all offer different rules from one casino to another. Finding the right game conditions can be the difference between a losing casino vacation and a winning casino vacation.

The House Edge in Blackjack

The reason blackjack remains popular is threefold:

  • Blackjack has a reputation for being a game that an intelligent player can beat.
  • Blackjack is a game where your decisions actually affect the odds you’re facing.
  • Blackjack has the lowest house edge of any game in most casinos.

Blackjack’s reputation for being beatable might be overstated. I remember watching Vegas Vacation and giggling when Clark Griswold announced that blackjack is the only game in the casino where the player can get an edge if he plays smart.

The implication was that you could get an edge over the casino at blackjack just by playing your hands with the correct strategy.

It’s true that there’s a correct basic strategy in blackjack, but memorizing this strategy and playing strictly according to it won’t give you an edge over the casino. To actually get the mathematical upper hand against the casino requires more than just playing every hand correctly. It usually requires counting cards, although some players use other advantage play techniques to get an edge.

And of course, your decisions affect the mathematical expectation. It’s obvious why a player who hits a total of 19 or 20 is going to lose more money to the casino than others. The probability of busting such a hand (getting a total of 22 or higher is an automatic loss) becomes huge, regardless of what cards the dealer is holding.

I’ve written in other gambling posts about the concept of “agency” as it applies to gambling. This is the idea that the decisions you make actually matter to your outcome. You have no agency to speak of when playing a game like roulette or a slot machine. Those games are entirely random, and the house edge doesn’t change based on your decisions.

Finally, the house edge in blackjack is something that merits serious discussion. The best way to measure one blackjack game or variation against another is by its house edge.

What’s the house edge?

It’s the mathematically expected amount you’ll lose on every bet you make in the long run—on average.

In other words, if a game has a house edge of 1%, you’d expect to lose an average of $1 for every $100 bet you make on that game.

It’s important to understand that the house edge doesn’t make a game less random. It’s a function of the probabilities of winning or losing compared with the amounts you’ll win or lose. In the short run, the house edge almost doesn’t matter. It’s impossible to see short term results that mirror the house edge.

If you’re playing blackjack and betting $100 on a hand, you’re either going to lose $100, win $100, or win $150. None of those results look like a $1 loss.

That $1 loss is a theoretical average you should see over time if you play enough hands to get to the “long run.”

Most casino games have a simple gimmick affecting the game which gives them an edge. For example, in roulette, all the bets would be break even propositions in the long run if the 0 and the 00 weren’t on the wheel. Half the numbers are black, but you lose if any red OR any green number comes up. (The 0 and the 00 are both green.)

In blackjack, the gimmick that gives the casino its mathematical edge is the order in which the players and the dealer play. Since a player loses instantly when she goes bust, the house gets its edge by playing its hand last. If you bust, and the dealer also busts, it’s not a push. You already lost your bet before the dealer ever played her hand.

But other variations in game conditions affect the house edge, too. That’s what the rest of this post covers—which game conditions you should look for. It also explains how important each game variation is by comparing that change in condition to its effect on the house edge. The more a rules change adds to the house’s edge, the worst that rule is for the player.

The house edge is a percentage of each bet that the casino expects you to lose on average over the long run. As a general rule, the lower the house edge is, the better the game is for the player. If we say that the house edge for a game is 1%, that’s better than a game where the house edge is 2%.

The Payout for a Blackjack

The standard rule in a blackjack game is that if you get a blackjack, you get paid off at 3 to 2 odds. If you bet $100 and get a blackjack, you win $150 instead of $100.

A blackjack (also called a “natural”) is a 2-card hand totaling 21.

You can only get a blackjack with an ace and a 10—no other combination of cards will work. (By “10,” I mean any card worth 10 points, which includes the jack, queen, and king.)

In some games, though, a blackjack pays off at 6 to 5 odds instead of 3 to 2 odds. Some casinos even post about this payout as if it were some kind of bonus, and some players fall for it. The line of thinking is that 6 is bigger than 3, so a 6 to 5 payout is obviously better than a 3 to 2 payout.

Don’t fall for that. The payout is a ratio, and a $100 bet that hits a blackjack at a 6 to 5 table only results in a win of $120, not $150.

Some casino blackjack games have lots of favorable rules for the player, but they only pay even money when you get a blackjack. This is true of most video blackjack games, for example. That’s even worse for the player, and the casino doesn’t even have a way to spin it to make it sound like it’s good for the player.

What does such a rules change do to the house edge?

The effect is massive. A 6 to 5 blackjack game adds 1.4% to the house edge for the game. A game that only offers even money adds 2.3% to the house edge.

Let’s think about what that does to your expected loss per hour for such a game.

We’ll assume you’re betting $100 per hand, and you’re averaging 50 hands per hour. You’re putting $5000 per hour into action.

Let’s say you’ve found a good game where the house edge is 0.5%. With $5000 in action per hour, your expected loss per hour is only $25. That’s not bad when you’re betting that kind of money.

Take that same game and make one change to it—the payoff for a blackjack is now 6 to 5 instead of 3 to 2. The house edge goes up to 1.7%.

Now you’re losing $85 per hour instead of $25 per hour.

And at a 3rd game, blackjack pays even money, so the house edge of 2.8% results in an hourly loss of $140.

That’s a huge difference in expected hourly loss based on a single rules change.

In fact, the payoff for the blackjack is the first and most important thing you should look for when choosing a blackjack game. Just say no to any blackjack game where you get 6 to 5 or even money for a blackjack. Almost no combination of favorable rules will make up for the massive percentage change in the house edge that such a change causes.

Also, keep this in mind—if you can find a game that pays more for a blackjack, 2 to 1, for example, you’d have a hard time not making money from that game. Unless there’s a massive number of rules changes to compensate, a game which offers 2 to 1 for a natural probably has a positive expectation for the player.

Single Deck Games versus Multiple Deck Games

If you’ve done some reading about card counting, you probably already know that it’s easier to get an edge over the house if you’re counting cards against a single deck. In fact, the entire reason casinos started dealing blackjack from multiple decks was to prevent card counters from getting an edge.

A single deck blackjack game subtracts 0.5% from the house edge, though.

That’s a major difference. Every deck of cards that the casino adds to the game makes the house edge a little bit higher, though.

You shouldn’t play a single deck game if it has a 6 to 5 payout for blackjack, because the difference from the lower payout is more than enough to compensate for the lower number of decks.

But if you’re choosing between a single deck game and an 8-deck game, and both games pay off the same for a blackjack, always go with the single deck game. Even if you’re not counting cards, the odds are better for you in the single deck game.

Why does the number of decks change the house edge?

The answer, again, has to do with the natural.

Suppose you’re dealt an ace as your first card. What’s the probability that you’ll get a blackjack in a single deck game?

We’ll assume that it’s a fresh deck, so there are 16 cards left in the deck which will complete your blackjack. There are 4 of each of the following cards in the deck:

  • 10s
  • Jacks
  • Queens
  • Kings

There are 51 cards unseen, so the probability of getting a blackjack becomes 16/51, or 31.4%.

Now let’s assume you’re playing in an 8-deck game, and you get an ace as your first card. What’s the probability of getting a blackjack?

You have 128 cards worth 10 in the deck, but you also have 415 cards left in the deck. 128/415 is the same as 30.8%.

That’s a difference of 1.6% in your probability of getting a blackjack in that situation. Anything that reduces your probability of getting a blackjack increases the house edge, just like anything that increases your probability of getting a blackjack reduces the house edge.

This, in fact, is why card counting works. When you have more 10s and aces left in the deck, you bet more because you have a higher probability of getting a 3 to 2 payout.

Does the Dealer Hit on a Soft 17 or Not?

Everyone who knows anything about blackjack knows that the dealer always stands on a 17 or higher and always hits on a 16 or lower.

But that’s not entirely true at every casino.

A soft 17 is a hand where there’s an ace and a 6—or any other combination of an ace and other cards that gives you a total of 17.

But since that ace can be counted as 11 OR as 1, it’s impossible to bust a hand with a total of soft 17.

And indeed, in some casinos, instead of the dealer standing on soft 17, the dealer takes a hit. The downside is minimal here for taking a hit, so it improves the house edge by 0.2% when the casino has this rule in place.

If you’re looking at a hierarchy for the 3 rules conditions we’ve discussed so far, you’re looking at these 3 factors in order:

  • Payoffs for a blackjack
  • Number of decks
  • Does the dealer hit a soft 17
Rules for Splitting and Doubling Down

You can always split pairs, but what you’re able to do after that changes based on the game you’re playing. This is usually one of the less obvious rules. After all, if the blackjack payout is different, it’s posted there at the table on a placard. The number of decks is obvious, too—you just look at the game and you can usually tell.

And if the dealer hits a soft 17, it’s posted there, too.

But the splitting and doubling down rules are less obvious. They’re still important, though, for reasons which are obvious to old hands and less obvious to newer players.

For one thing, once you’ve split a pair, are you allowed to split again if you get another pair?

For Example

If you get AA and split them, and you get another A dealt on top of one of those aces, can you split again?

It’s obviously to your advantage to be able to re-split aces.

At most casinos, you’re not allowed to double down or re-split aces after splitting. In fact, at most casinos, a 21 after splitting only counts as 21—it doesn’t count as a blackjack. At some casinos, you can’t even hit the hand again after splitting aces.

The more generous the casino is with these rules, the better. Being able to re-split aces or being able to count a 21 after splitting as a blackjack is worth about 0.2%.

The Availability of Side Bets, Progressive Jackpots, and What-Have You

Side bets in blackjack should always be treated as something separate from the rest of the game. The most obvious example of a side bet is the insurance bet, which everyone already knows is a sucker bet. Don’t ever place an insurance bet.

Since these are separate bets, they should be analyzed separately, because they have a different house edge than just the regular game by itself does.

Here’s an example of a common blackjack side bet and its house edge:

There’s a popular bet now called “21+3.” It’s based on your 1st 2 cards and the dealer’s face-up card. Those 3 cards are treated as a 3-card poker hand with payoffs as follows.

  • Suited trips are worth 100 to 1.
  • A straight flush is worth 40 to 1.
  • 3 of a kind is worth 30 to 1.
  • A straight is worth 10 to 1.
  • A flush is worth 5 to 1.

The house edge for this bet is over 6%, making it far worse bet than just playing blackjack without the side bet.

Even a side bet on a progressive jackpot is almost certain to have a huge house edge.

It’s harder to say with a progressive jackpot, though, because if the jackpot gets large enough, the house edge disappears altogether. In fact, with a large enough jackpot, that side bet becomes a positive expectation bet.

The problem with a progressive side bet in blackjack is the same problem with any other progressive bet. You won’t win it often enough for the positive expectation to matter.

Other Rules Which Favor the Player

You can find plenty of quirky rules which also favor the blackjack player, but most of them are rare. My favorite of these unusual rules is the casino which offers a bonus payout for hands totaling 21 that have a certain number of cards in them, or hands with a certain number of cards in them that don’t bust.

For Example

In some casinos, if you get a 5-card hand that doesn’t bust, it’s an automatic winner AND it pays off at 2 to 1. That’s worth 0.25% in expectation for you.

You can sometimes find casinos that offer a 2 to 1 payoff if you have a suited blackjack. In other words, if the ace and the jack are both of spades, you’d get 2 to 1 instead of 3 to 2. That’s worth 0.6% in expectation, but it’s an unusual rule.


Finding the best blackjack games isn’t that hard. You want to find a game with a 3 to 2 payout dealt from a single deck where the dealer has to stand on a soft 17. As far as the other rules go, the more flexibility the casino offers you in terms of how you play your hand, the better the odds are. For example, if you’re able to re-split pairs after splitting, that’s going to make the house edge lower.


The Top 10 Do’s and Don’ts of Blackjack Mines Games Easy Win

The Top 10 Do’s and Don’ts of Blackjack Mines Games Easy Win

Everyone knows by now that blackjack is a game of skill and the casino game with the lowest house edge.

But those truisms only apply if you understand the game and how to play it correctly.

If it’s your first time in the casino, no one would blame you for being a little confused about how blackjack works. Even if you’ve been playing for a while, you might be making some big mistakes.

This post is meant to clear things up for you so that you don’t make the big mistakes that cost you the most money.

It’s organized into a list of 5 things you should do and 5 things you shouldn’t do at the blackjack table.

With any luck, you’ll learn as much from this “top 10 do’s and don’ts of blackjack” post as I learned writing it.

It doesn’t look like a long post, I know. Most people can finish reading it in less than 20 minutes, in fact.

But it took a lot longer than 20 minutes to write. In fact, when you consider the time I spent playing blackjack and reading books about how to play, you might say that this post took over 20 years to write.

1 – DO Learn the Rules before You Sit Down to Play

Blackjack seems like a simple enough game. You get 2 cards, the dealer gets 2 cards, and you both decide to hit until you decide to stand. Then whoever has a total closer to 21 without going over wins the hand.

Conceptually, that IS simple.

But in actual practice, blackjack is more complicated than that.

For one thing, you have more decisions at your disposal than just hitting and standing. Let’s take a look at those potential decisions and what each one of them means:

  • Hitting is the most basic move. It just means to get another card from the dealer, which increases the total score for your hand.
  • Standing is tied with hitting for being the most basic move. It just means to decline the opportunity to take more cards. Once you’ve stood, you don’t do anything else but wait for the dealer to play his hand and see if you won.
  • Doubling down means to double the size of your bet while simultaneously taking one more card. You’re not allowed to hit again after this card if you doubled down.
  • Splitting is only allowed when you have 2 cards of the same rank. When that happens, you’re allowed to post a 2nd bet, and play 2 hands. The first card of each hand is one of the 2 cards you had in your original hand. You play each of the split hands separately.
  • Surrendering means giving up half your bet but also losing any right to win the hand later in the round. It’s comparable to folding in poker. It’s not a move you’ll make often, but it’s still important to know what it is.

Understanding the card values is another important part of the rules. Most people get this aspect of the rules pretty fast, but here it is if you don’t know how it works:

All cards in blackjack have a point value equal to their rank, except for aces and face cards. Aces can count as 1 or 11, depending on which would be better for your hand. Face cards (the jack, queen, and king) are worth 10 points each.

Also, most of the time, when you win, you get even money. Bet $100 and win, and you get a $100 payout.

But if you get a 2-card hand totaling 21, which is called a “blackjack” or “natural,” you win 3 to 2 on yoru money—at least in most casinos. Some casinos have lowered payouts for this hand, and we’ll talk about that later in this list of do’s and don’ts.

2 – DON’T Tell Other Players How to Play Their Hands

Blackjack is supposed to be fun. It’s a gambling game you play in a casino, and the last time I checked, that was the entire point to playing these kinds of games.

One of the surest ways to spoil the fun for other players is to correct their play.

And if you spoil someone else’s fun, you’ll have less fun, too—unless you’re some kind of weird sociopath.

Some players operate under the mistaken impression that the other players’ actions can somehow affect the luck for the other players at the table.

This isn’t true.

Your odds stay the same regardless of what the other players do.

Most of the obnoxious players who are correcting others’ decisions at the table operate from that assumption.

But they’re wrong.

Now you know better.

3 – DO Play in Single Deck Games When You Can

Blackjack is a game with a low house edge—that’s just the mathematical advantage that the casino has over the player.

But different blackjack games have different conditions. One of those conditions is the number of decks in use.

The rule of thumb for the player is simple:

Everything else being equal, the more decks in play, the higher the house edge.

Your goal is to face the lowest house edge possible.

With more cards in the deck, as in an 8-deck game, your probability of being dealt a blackjack goes down, which increases the house’s mathematical edge over the player.

You should never give the casino any opportunity to get a higher mathematical edge over you, if you can at all help it.

Of course, the number of decks isn’t the only factor of a blackjack game’s conditions that a casino can change.

4 – DON’T Play in 6/5 Blackjack Games

One trick casinos often use to get a higher edge is to offer a single deck blackjack game, but that game might only pay off at 6 to 5 for a blackjack.

Remember how we talked about the rules for blackjack, and how a natural pays off at 3 to 2?

That means if you bet $100 and win, you get a payoff of $150 for a blackjack.

That’s a ratio of 3 to 2 on your money.

Some casinos offer games where the payoff for a blackjack is done at a ratio of 6 to 5.

If you bet $100 and win in such a game, you get a payoff of $120.

The casinos try to bill these games as superior to standard blackjack, and some people are so mathematically illiterate that they fall for this trick.

The casino might have a sign up that says “Now offering 6/5 payouts!”

When they announce it like that, it sounds special, doesn’t it?

They’re hoping that some of the less thoughtful and attentive patrons will see the 6 and think that it’s bigger than 3, so they’re getting a better deal.

A lot of players fall for that, too, but not you. You know that the 6 is relative to the 5, which means a $120 payout on a $150 payout on a $100 bet.

That’s a big difference. It gives the house another 1.4% in house edge, which is a LOT.

Just say no to 6/5 blackjack, please.

5 – DO Follow Basic Strategy on EVERY Hand

Most of the people who read my blog already know what basic strategy is in blackjack, but if you’re a new reader, you might not have been clued in yet.

In blackjack, you’ll face a finite number of situations. You can only have so many totals, and you can only face so many dealer up-cards.

When you compare a total in your hand with the dealer’s up-card, you have a limited number of options. Each of those options has a mathematically expected average result.

This expected result is called “expected value,” or EV, for short.

Basic strategy is just the move with the highest expected value in every situation.

Some situations in blackjack are lousy, and the expected value is negative no matter how you play your hand. In those cases, the correct move is the one which results in the lowest average loss. That IS the highest expected value play in that situation.

Most people learn basic strategy using a table or chart. On the left hand side of the chart, you have a list of the possible hard and soft totals in the game. (A soft total is a total that includes an ace. It’s “soft” because you can change what you count the ace as based on the situation to avoid busting.)

Across the top of the chart, you have a list of the dealer’s possible up-cards.

You cross-reference your total with the dealer’s face-up card on the chart, and it tells you how to play the hand—hit, stand, double down, etc.

It sounds horribly complicated, but it’s easier than you think, because some totals play the same as some other totals. And how you play a specific hand against a dealer’s up-card doesn’t change much—a lot of times, the same decision applies to any dealer up-card of 6 or less or any dealer up-card of 7 or more.

Basic strategy was originally derived by having a computer play hundreds of thousands of simulated hands and seeing what the results were like.

Modern computers are able to handle more complicated algorithms, so they just calculate the expected value for each move.

Either way, you get the same set of guidelines for how to play your hands, although they might change slightly based on game conditions.

You should always play using correct basic strategy.

6 – DON’T Pay ANY Attention to Your Hunches

Some people adjust how they play based on their gut feelings. Unfortunately, confirmation bias reinforces this behavior.

Your hunches have no effect on the outcome of the game.

You’re not able to tell the future, even when it comes to a deck of cards.

Random chance will make it look like you’re right with your hunches once in a while.

Your brain is programmed to notice those occurrences and put stock in them.

Don’t fall for it.

Stick with the math.

The idea is to be an educated gambler getting the most action for your money.

You can’t do that by being superstitious and thinking you’re psychic.

Stick with basic strategy regardless of your hunches and gut feelings.

7 – DO Learn How to Count Cards

Counting cards is a fine skill to learn. More than anything else, learning how to count cards will increase your understanding of and enjoyment of the game.

You might think it’s not worth it to learn how to count cards in this modern casino era. After all, many casinos now use automatic shuffling machines and shuffle the cards before every hand, making it impossible to get an edge by counting cards.

Those aren’t the only ways casinos thwart card counters, though. Even in a casino where they’re not shuffling every hand, they can stop and re-shuffle the deck anytime, making it harder to get an advantage. Or one of the casino employees can just start talking to you—asking questions and just being friendly. It’s hard to count cards and carry on a conversation at the same time.

You don’t have to make a living counting cards for it to be worthwhile, either. Counting cards can just be a fun hobby. Who doesn’t want to get one over on the casino?

You just need to be willing to do some scouting to find the good games. Some of this might involve doing some legwork of your own. It’s also a good idea to spend some time getting to know other blackjack players and card counters on the internet.

You can find forums where card counters and blackjack players compare notes about specific casino conditions. Use them wisely, friend.

8 – DON’T Think You’ll Get Rich Counting Cards

Don’t forget that counting cards only nets you a small edge over the casino. The bigger the stakes are where you’re playing, the less likely you are to get away with it. Also, the more time you spend at a casino, the more likely you are to get caught.

Let’s look at how much you might realistically expect to earn by counting cards. We’ll assume that you’re really good at counting and that you’ve found great game conditions. You have a 2% edge over the casino.

You’re playing for an average of $25 per hand, and you’re getting in 80 hands per hour. This means that you’re putting $2000 into action per hour. With an edge of 2%, you’re looking at a predicted hourly win rate of $40.

$40/hour might sound pretty good if you’re a minimum wage employee somewhere, or even if you’re an entry level retail employee or office worker.

But that hourly wage doesn’t tell the whole picture.

There’s no way you can count cards for 40 hours a week on a consistent basis 50 weeks out of the year.

If you could, then sure, you could be making $80,000 a year counting cards, but that’s not realistic.

For one thing, the more time you spend at a specific casino or playing with a specific dealer, the more likely you are to get busted.

For another, that amount of time spent counting cards is far more mentally grueling than you could probably imagine.

If you could pull this off for 15 or 20 hours per week, then you could make $30k or $40k a year counting cards, but you don’t get any kind of benefits package with this deal, either.

Sure, counting cards can be a fun hobby, but it’s not a realistic way to make a living.

9 – DO Take Advantage of the Casino’s Comps Program

The slots club at the casino isn’t just for the slot machine players. Table game players can take advantage of these comps, too. To take advantage of this, you just present your players club card to the dealer when you sit down and start to play.

How do they keep up with your action at the blackjack table, though?

We know how they track your play on the slot machines, but what about at the blackjack table?

The pit boss and the dealer get together and decide what your average bet size is and rate you. They know how many hands per hour you’re playing on average, and then it’s just a matter of multiplication.

In that card counting example above, we assumed you were averaging $2000 per hour in action. They just multiply that by their rewards rate to determine how much free stuff to give you.

The trick, and if you’ve read Max Rubin’s Comp City, you already know this, is to look like you’re betting more money per hour than you’re actually putting into action.

How do you do that?

For one thing, you bet more per hand during your first 15 minutes or so at the table. You can scale back after that, but you want them to think you’re putting more money into action than you are. Start by betting $50 or $100 per hand before scaling back to $20 or $30 per hand. Mix it up enough that you look like a gambler, but not so much that you’re obviously counting cards.

The casino assumes you’re an average blackjack player for determining comps, so they’re assuming that their edge against you is around 2.5%. If you’re using perfect basic strategy, you have that number well below 1%.

You can easily come out ahead against the casino by just using perfect basic strategy and getting the most out of your comps as possible.

10 – DON’T Cheat

First, let’s make a distinction between advantage play and cheating.

Advantage play doesn’t involve changing the conditions of the game. You’re just playing with optimal strategy for those game conditions. Counting cards is advantage play, not cheating.

You’re cheating when you change the conditions of the game. If you’re using a computer to count cards, for example, you’re cheating. If you’re changing the size of your bets after you’ve seen your cards, you’re cheating.

The problem with cheating at casino games like blackjack is that it’s a crime.

Do you really want to go to jail (and possibly prison) and have a criminal record because you were trying to get an illegal edge against a casino?

It doesn’t seem worth it to me, although I’ve read numerous stories about casino cheats who get caught repeatedly and return to prison over and over again.

If you have that type of personality, my warning not to cheat is probably falling on deaf ears.

But if you think you’re going to cheat just on a lark, well…

Don’t do it.


Having a good time at the blackjack table isn’t hard to do when you keep these things in mind. Learning the rules is something you can do in less than an hour. There aren’t that many rules to begin with.

Mastering basic strategy is something you can do in an hour or 2 if you commit to focusing on it and studying. Heck, you can practice at your kitchen table.

You don’t have to learn to count cards to have fun at the blackjack table, but it sure doesn’t hurt. Counting cards is another skill that you can learn at your kitchen table in just a couple of hours. All it takes is some focus and determination.

And what could be easier than signing up for the players’ club at the casino and presenting the card when you sit down to play? I can’t think of anything.

And most of the suggestions for what not to do are common sense.


Dealer Tells and Hole Carding in Mines Games Easy Way Blackjack

Dealer Tells and Hole Carding in Mines Games Easy Way Blackjack

Hole carding in blackjack can be a tricky skill to master. If you can reliably use this advantage play method, though, then you will have a major edge over the casino. You can also gain an edge by taking advantage of dealer tells.

Relying on hole carding and dealer tells can be difficult to do at the top blackjack sites. Computers are not prone to the same errors as human dealers. But, as long as you stick to live dealer games, then these skills can still be used during online games.

Keep reading to learn how to use hole carding and dealer tells to your advantage in blackjack. Mastering these techniques will take time, but the payoffs will be worth the effort.

What Is Hole Carding in Blackjack?

Hole carding is arguably the hardest advantage play method to use consistently. Like all advantage play techniques, the aim of hole carding is to gain an edge over the casino. However, this method does not rely on math or memorization like other techniques.

Instead, hole carding relies on your ability to see the dealer’s face-down card. Since you cannot see through cards, your best bet for this method is to catch a glimpse of the card when it is dealt.

If you are too obvious about your attempt to peak at the dealer’s card, then you will get caught. While it may not be strictly illegal to look at the dealer’s card, the casino will likely kick you out. You may even be banned from that casino if you are caught trying to use this sneaky blackjack strategy.

When you do successfully see the dealer’s hole card, then you will know their entire starting hand. This knowledge, combined with what you know about your own hand, will give you an advantage. You will know how aggressively to play the hand, whether to take the insurance bet, and more.

More Dealer Tells to Look For

Hole carding works best with a sloppy dealer who is not careful about hiding the cards they are dealing. Catching a peak of the dealer’s hole card is not the only way to take advantage of their mistakes. Here are three other dealer tells you can look for when playing blackjack.

Fidgeting With Cards

Every dealer is different, and most casinos train their staff not to show any tells. But one sign that your dealer may have a good hand is if they are constantly fidgeting with their cards.

For example, many players who look for tells argue that frequently checking their hand could be a sign the dealer has a high card. There is not a lot of scientific evidence to back this theory up. However, if you notice that your dealer touches their cards more when they have a high hand, it could be a tell.

Smiling When Looking at Cards

As I mentioned above, dealers are usually trained not to have any reaction to the cards in their hands. It can still be hard sometimes, though, not to react when you have a strong hand, especially if you have a natural blackjack. Inexperienced dealers are more likely to have this issue.

Once again, physical tells, like smiling at a good hole card, will vary from one dealer to another. Any facial reaction, good or bad, could be the sign that you need. Watch your dealer for these reactions and look for a pattern based on the hands that follow them.

Placement of Cards After Checking Them

Last but not least, some players believe that where your dealer puts their hole card after seeing it could be a tell. Placing their hole card slightly to the right could be a sign that the dealer is planning to hit when given the chance.

Noticing small changes in card placement can take practice. But the chances are that you will be watching the dealer’s hands anyway, especially if you are using hole carding techniques. Watching for tells based on card placement after trying to see the dealer’s hole card could help you kill two birds with one stone.

Other Forms of Advantage Play in Blackjack

Hole carding and looking for dealer tells are not the only ways to gain an advantage in blackjack. Other common advantage play methods include shuffle tracking, card counting, and edge sorting.

Shuffle Tracking

Many blackjack advantage play strategies require you to pay close attention to the deck itself. No strategy embodies this concept more than shuffle tracking. The goal of this method is to try and track cards’ positions in the deck.

You do not need to know the exact position of all 52 cards in the deck. But, if you know in general where most of the high-value cards are, then you could have an advantage. When more high-value cards are near the top of the deck, advantage play strategies say you should increase your stake amount.

Card Counting

Counting cards is the most infamous advantage play method in blackjack. This strategy can be difficult to do if you are playing a blackjack game that uses multiple decks.

Simply put, your goal in counting cards is to determine when the ratio of high-value to low-value cards is favorable to bet on. You are more likely to get a natural blackjack when the ratio of high-value cards is in your favor. Increasing your stake amounts during these periods can lead to bigger wins.

Edge Sorting

Another method for players with keen observational skills is edge sorting. This advantage play strategy requires you to pay close attention to the cards themselves. You want to spot any physical imperfections that will allow you to identify the card.

Armed with this information, you can guess the dealer’s hand without needing to see the face of their hole card. This is hard to do, though, as casinos frequently switch out their decks. Also, it can take a while for damaged cards to be sued again in multi-deck blackjack games.

More Online Blackjack Tips

Using hole carding, dealer tells, and other advantage play methods can help you be a more successful blackjack player. Here are three more tips for winning money from online blackjack games.

Practice With Free Blackjack Games

This tip may sound counterintuitive at first. After all, you cannot typically win money from free casino games. But being a winning blackjack player requires practice, and a lot of it.

Practicing your blackjack skills is necessary, but it can also become expensive. Luckily, many of the best real money casinos, including Ignition Casino, have free versions of their blackjack games available. You can use free games to practice new strategies before you risk any money on them.

One important note about free games is that they are usually limited to random number generator (RNG) style games. You will not find free-to-play live dealer games online. You may not be able to practice advantage play methods for free, but you can master other strategies and practice your bankroll management skills.

Use Blackjack Bonuses

Another great tip for players who want to be successful at online blackjack is to take advantage of casino bonuses. Specifically, look for casinos that offer bonuses exclusively for blackjack players.

BetUS, for example, has a special weekly cashback offer for blackjack players. During Blackjack Mondays, you can get up to $500 in cashback. Your total bonus will depend on how much you lost during the previous week.

Since this is a weekly bonus, you can claim it every Monday as long as you had $50 or more in losses the previous week. Offers like this can help you keep your blackjack bankroll well-funded.

Play on Your Mobile Devices

A third and final tip for players who want to improve their blackjack skills is to play on mobile blackjack apps. The best way to improve as a blackjack player is to play as many hands as possible. By using your mobile device, you can play blackjack from anywhere.

Depending on the casino you choose, you may even be eligible for exclusive mobile bonuses. These can give you even more funds for practicing blackjack.

The convenience and potential bonus options of mobile apps both lead to one thing, the potential for playing more hands. Your skills and potential winnings will both depend on playing as many hands as possible. The right mobile app can help you with both,

Have You Ever Tried Hole Carding in Blackjack?

Hole carding in blackjack is tricky to master, but it can pay huge dividends when done correctly. Other advantage play methods, like looking for dealer tells, can also be extremely helpful. Check out the blog above to see how to use these blackjack strategies to your advantage.