5 Game-Changing Optional Blackjack Rules

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The house edge is the bane of every gambler. Luckily, a few sharp and motivated players have

put the work in and found unique rules and adjustments that can turn the game around. By asking

around and looking closely, it is possible to find blackjack tables and online games that offer

these special rules. Here are five optional rules to look out for.

1. Decking Down

From the moment card-counting became public knowledge, casinos have been shuffling together

more and more decks in order to throw off card-counters. The less decks, the better, but nothing

beats the single deck game. Blackjack games using only a single deck are the most common at

private events, and very rare inside a casino, online or on land.

2. The Charlie

One optional rule, called the Charlie, declares that the player wins so long as they have a certain

number of cards out and still haven’t busted. The classic Charlie is five cards with no bust, but

casinos may require up to seven. Even stricter Charlie rules are better than nothing, but a table

with a 5-card Charlie rule is a winner.

3. Blackjack Payout

Despite fairly straight-forward rules, no two casinos can agree on how much to reward the player

for a blackjack. Generous casinos pay 2 to 1 for a blackjack, while greedy casinos pay 6 to 5.

Most sit somewhere in the middle, not being too generous or too greedy. Some will only count it

if the blackjack is suited, but this rule is still invaluable. Certain tables will even offer a

consolation prize for a blackjack tie. When both the dealer and the player get a blackjack, the

player earns half their bet back instead of losing everything. With the right context, this rare little

rule may just be enough to tip over the house edge.

4. Adding Up

Some wins are worth more than others. Not only are blackjacks sometimes awarded more than

other wins, sometimes wins with a large number of cards take the ticket as well. If the player has

five or more cards when they win, the winnings might just increase. Unfortunately, receiving

more than five cards without a bust is highly unlikely, so the seven-card rule does not make

much of a dent.

5. Automatic Win

At some tables, it doesn’t matter what the dealer has so long as the player has exactly 21. The

dealer may have 21 as well, and may even have a blackjack, but none of that matters. The player

wins just because the staff was feeling especially nice when they made the rules.

Sometimes only a little tweak to the rules is needed to make a difference for the players. It might

take a little searching, but these games are out there, and they are worth it.


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How to Maximize Your Online Gambling Privacy

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With everyone’s private lives being tagged and posted online, it can be hard to find privacy. In

busy homes, computers are sometimes left on with the profile logged in and the browsers open.

Keeping something personal tucked away, or at least not advertised for the world to see, can be

increasingly difficult. Aside from taking a road trip alone to the casino two towns away, here are

a few minor things that can be done to improve privacy while gambling online.

Go Incognito

Every time someone clicks a link to a website, the name of that page and the URL are stored on

the computer. This is called the browsing history, and it was originally made to help users find

websites that they have been to before. The unfortunate side effect is that anyone with access to

the computer can look through the browsing history and see all sorts of private information. Not

only will they see the gambling website URL but also how many different games the user clicked

on and how much time went by before they opened each new page.

No one wants someone else snooping on what they do in that level of detail. The best way to

avoid it is to use incognito mode, or private browsing. In this mode, the browser does not record

any of the websites the user goes onto. If it’s too late to use incognito mode, it’s not too late to

click “clear browsing history” or “clear browsing data,” and wipe the slate clean.

Keep it Online

Online casinos are full of flashing lights and cheerful mechanical noises, much like their land-

based brethren. Some gambling games are so overrun with cool graphics and sound effects that

the file is too big to play online. Instead, the online casino forces players to download the game

onto their computer. Not only do players now have a gambling game saved in plain view in the

middle of their desktop, the game most likely comes with obnoxious free plugins and the risk of

a virus. If any of all of these things are concerning, consider sticking to no-download games.

No-download games may not come with all the same bells and whistles as the larger download-

only games, but still play exactly the same. Blackjack is still blackjack and craps is still craps.


It’s not uncommon for people to share a computer but have their own phones. If there is only one

desktop computer to work with, it may be time to switch to smartphone gaming. The games for

iPads and tablets are just as large and extravagant as the download-only games for the computer,

and they can be played in private and away from home. There are also numerous choices for

smartphones, all of which can be played in complete privacy.


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The 10 Luckiest Names

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Parents choose names for many different reasons. Sometimes a name carries a family tradition,

or children are named after a beloved relative. Other times, parents choose a name because it

represents something. A name is like a wish. When a parent picks a name for its meaning, that

parent is saying that they hope their child will carry a certain quality that will help them in life.

What better quality than natural luck, something to help out in every situation?

10. Faustina

It might mean “lucky,” but this name has a dark history. The masculine version, Faust, is the

name of the protagonist of a German play who felt his life was too dull and sold his soul to the

devil for knowledge and pleasure. The name, Faustina, has seen more success as the name of two

different saints and the wife of an emperor.

9. Edmund

Meaning “fortunate protector,” this is another boy’s name. The name has been in stories

throughout time from Shakespeare to Charles Dickens. Though not always as lucky as their

names, these characters have brightened the imaginations of children throughout the centuries.

8. Evangeline

A girl’s name, Evangeline means “bearer of good news.” The name has the same root as the less

popular word, Evangelism, and is related to the even less popular name, Televangeline.

7. Chance

Though normally reserved for dogs, this boy’s name takes the literal route. There is no need to

look this one up. If “good luck” had a better ring to it, children would have that as a name


6. Felix

This elegant boy’s name is fit for a king, or perhaps a statesman. The ancient Roman statesman,

Sulla, liked the name so much that he took it for himself, feeling like he was fortunate and

prosperous to deserve the name.

5. Ventura

It may sound like the name of an adventurer, but this is actually a Spanish name meaning “luck”

or “fortune.” There is also a boy’s version, Venturo, but it doesn’t mesh as well in English.

4. Asher

This rare boy’s name is making a comeback. Being from the Bible, this mean does not just mean

“lucky” but “blessed.” It belonged to one of Jacob’s 12 sons who went on to be a very influential


3. Halona

An unusual case, this girl’s name is used by several Native American tribes across the eastern

United States. Some sort of fortune from the meaning of this name must have rubbed off on it to

cause it to spread so far and wide.

2. Madoc

This Welsh name carries the luck of the Irish both in origin and meaning. For the full package,

the child can be named Madoc and the grandchild named Maddox, which means “son of


1. Laskshmi

The name of a Hindu goddess, this name is a promise of many wonderful things. It carrries

feminine qualities like beauty, grace, and charm, but also a promise of worldly comfort and

prosperity. In all, her name means “lucky omen” and promises to be one.

Have a friend with a lucky name? Bring your friend with you to the next online tournament.

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Hit the Slots with a Smart Watch

Posted by & filed under blackjack, slots.


In this day and age, most casinos worth their salt have an online presence. Many successful

casinos operate entirely online, much like the news websites of the 21st century. As land-based

gambling turns obsolete, a new wave of technology is headed our way: gambling by smart


It is common for online casinos to have a mobile version. Our friends at Silver Oak Casino are

set up for gameplay on any device that plays flash. This means Androids and tablets as well as

desktop computers. Slots of Vegas is available on the iPhone and the Android, and is available at

the app store. Mobile apps can play any game a gambling website can, from slots to blackjack to

video poker, and on and on. There is an app for all things including bingo and keno, and all of it

is accessible with a quick search for available apps.

While the smartphone market has expanded and become commonplace, the smart watch business

is just beginning task manager online. The first smart watches were very simple. Their primary function was telling

the time and sending notifications. It was essentially a device for reminding the user to use their

phone more. Now the market is finally gaining momentum. Smart watches can play music, open

apps, and operate simple controls. The next thing in line is a watch that takes control of an app

from afar.

The main problem with the modern smart watch is it does not do much without the phone it is

linked to. It is an accessory for a device that does more than the watch can do on its own. There

are some apps, however, that don’t need a large screen or a lot of buttons. There are certain

games that can be played entirely on the smart watch, with the accompanying phone plugged in

yards away. In particular, these are blackjack and slot machines.

When playing blackjack, all the user needs to know is what cards they and the dealer have. The

only buttons they need to press are “hit” and “stand.” At a slot machine, the player can pick how

much they want to bet and when they want to spin, everything else is just decoration and

background noise.

If a game is simple enough, the entire experience can fit on a square inch screen on the player’s

wrist. It doesn’t work for every game, that’s for sure. A bingo card will never fit on a smart

watch screen, and there are too many options in a game of roulette for the playing experience to

be smooth enough. It takes a simple game with quick rules and easy gameplay.

As smart watches continue to find their place in the modern market, we can except to see a shift

in the smart watch’s independence. There will be several things that are quicker and easier on the

watch, even if it does have a tiny screen and no memory to speak of. In good time, there will be a

little something for the gamblers who want to play a quick game.

4 Things You Need to Know About Jackpots

Posted by & filed under slots.

Slot Machine GuideWinning a jackpot at a slot machine or in the lottery is the dream. Everyone who has enjoyed a

gambling game yearns to one day win the big money and live a new, grander life. The story is

well-known, but there are some things about jackpots that most people have no idea about. The

next time you spin the dial of a slot machine, take a look at this short list of little-known facts.

Who knows when it might come in handy.

1. Jackpots are paid over time.

The Mega Millions jackpot is not paid all at once, but in pieces over the years. 30 years to be

exact. This means that the money is not going anywhere, and even if you manage to spend the

whole thing, there will be another installment next year. There are upsides and downsides to

everything, but this essentially means that buying a mansion off the bat is out of the question,

and purchasing all the shares in a favorite company is also going to take a while.

2. The taxes are enormous.

The federal tax on a jackpot is 25%. This means that if a jackpot is a straight million dollars,

only $750,000 gets to the winner, and this is before state taxes kick in. The best states to win the

lottery in are California, Delaware, Florida, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, South Dakota,

Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming. In These 10 states, there is no tax on lottery

earnings. The worst state to win the lottery in is New York followed by Maryland and

Washington, D.C. In these states, more than a third of the total winnings go to taxes.

3. There is still time.

There is a reason that it is common practice for lotteries to offer the winners a full year to show

their winning tickets. Sometimes the winning numbers are called and no one comes forward.

Sometimes someone buys a lottery ticket and goes off to do other things without checking to see

if they won. Other winners know that they won right away but take the time to talk with a

financial advisor before claiming their prize. If a lottery goes by and no one claims the prize, it’s

time to go outside on a windy day and see if the winning ticket hits you in the face.

4. Everyone will know.

When someone wins the lottery, their name becomes public knowledge. The moment the winner

comes forward with the winning ticket, the lottery broadcasts that person’s name and possibly

their picture, backstory, and life dreams. Get ready to be famous, because everyone you know

will know you won.


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4 Terms to Know for Online Gambling

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Before hitting up an online casino, it’s good to know how to speak the language. There are things

to be found in an online casino that have no equivalent in a land-based version, even if the two

are land- and web-based versions of the same casino. Some things are the same no matter where

gambling takes place. Others are similar and have the same purpose but aren’t quite the same.

Here is a little of everything to help in using and discussing online casinos.

1. Web Wallet

Where the money goes. Instead of exchanging money for chips, online casinos have their players

deposit their money into an account on the website. This is the best part of the online casino

because most will offer a bonus for making a deposit. Players make large deposits into their web

wallets so they get bigger bonuses.

2. RNG

The random number generator picking the next card, die roll, or result. Instead of using a literal

wheel or shuffling cards, online casinos use software to come up with what happens next. It’s

clean and random and very hard to take advantage of. A random number generator is not just for

online casinos. It’s also used in all electronic gambling machines such as slot machines, video

poker machines, and keno machines. Counting cards is history now that fate is in the hands of an


3. Active Player

The player who is taking their turn. In online gambling games with multiple players, sometimes

it’s necessary to take turns. For one, there are turn-based table games like hearts and poker, but

turn-taking is a factor in plenty of different gambling games. For example, in games like roulette

and craps where all the players make bets on the same spin or die roll, there needs to be a way to

make sure everyone has time to take their turn. Sometimes the next roll is on a timer and it will

take place whether everyone has time to place a bet or not. Other times, the game waits for

everyone places their bets, until there is just one active player that everyone is waiting for.

4. Lobby

The place for browsing gambling games and picking what to play. Also known as the home

page, the lobby is the online casino’s version of a front door. Interestingly enough, the entrance

to a land-based casino can also be called the lobby.

With some new terms under your belt, you are ready to go forth and gamble. Be sure to check

the lobby before using the RNG as the active player and adding some chips to the web wallet.

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Gambling, Hope, and the Fixed Income

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Dealer's Hands

Craig is a retired citizen with a fixed income and very little means. He spends his money very

carefully, knowing it will not be coming back. He buys simple foods from the grocery store and

attends free events for the retired community. He has not bought a movie ticket since the last

Harry Potter film came out in 2011, and has not gone out to eat since the anniversary of his

wife’s death this spring.

Once per week, Craig takes five dollars down to the casino and plays roulette. He makes smart

bets and leaves a tip when he can. When luck takes a turn, he dusts himself off and goes home.

When luck is in his favor, he takes the money home and buys something nice from the grocery

store, sometimes cheese from the deli and sometimes flowers from the porch. Whatever he takes

home, there is a smile on his face, and more importantly, a sense of accomplishment.

After suffering from a stroke and losing most use of his legs five years ago, Craig retired early

with little to his name. Since that time, Craig has had problems with his memory and has had

trouble taking care of himself. There is not much left for Craig to rely on, but there is one way

that he can affect his fate, and that is inside the casino.

To Craig, gambling is not an addiction or an obsession. He has no illusions that he will suddenly

become a millionaire, and he bets within his means every time, even if that means isn’t much.

The casino offers Craig something that he can no longer offer himself: a semblance of control. It

doesn’t matter what happens to the $5 once it passes through the doors. He has made the decision

to take a risk, and that decision belongs to him.

There are one thousand and one reasons to gamble, and this is just an example. For every Craig

out there, the casino is not a parasite. It is a path to liberation. For everyone that can no longer

carry a bucket or fill out an Excel form, there is a way to take control and sometimes come home

with something nice to show for it. What is the reason that brings you to the casino? If that went

away, what would be left in its place?

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6 Quick Blackjack Tips

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Anyone can play blackjack. It may seem nerve-wracking at first, but blackjack is actually a fairly

simple and exciting game. By freshening up on a few simple rules, it is possible to be a blackjack

success even without counting cards. Follow these 6 simple rules, and the game is in your


1. Always hit a soft 17, but stand on a hard 17.

A soft 17 is an ace and a 6, a rare but classic combination. With the ace in the mix, there is

plenty of room for another card, but without, keeping things as is stands a much better chance of

winning. Holding more than 17 also means it’s time to stand.

2. Always split aces and 8s.

Aces should be split because they’re valuable. Turning one hand into two means that there are

two chances to draw a face card and win right away. 8s should be split for the opposite reason:

two 8s together are up to no good. No one wants 16 in their hand if they have a choice. There is

too high of a risk of pulling too high or low of a card and losing it all. It’s a much better idea to

split and try for cards to complement the 8s.

3. Keep 5s and 10s together.

When holding a pair of 5s or 10s, it is best to keep them together and let them do their thing. It is

better to shoot for 20 than hope for an ace to turn it into 21.

4. Always hit 12 through 16.

With numbers like these, drawing almost any card has a chance of winning, certainly more of a

chance than if the player stands.

5. Keep a clear head.

Blackjack is not exactly a party game. Drinking may be all well and good for the slot machines

and craps table, but blackjack players need to think quickly and clearly through stress and

background noise. Stay hydrated and well-fed, and take a break when you start to feel tired or


6. Keep the tips in your pocket.

It may be tempting to give the dealer a tip. Many players feel that dealers will give them help and

advice in exchange, and this may be true or even beneficial for new players, but tips cut deeply

into potential winnings. Don’t worry, the dealer is not about to start pocketing the aces.

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Is the World Ready for Gambling in Virtual Reality

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Ready or not, virtual reality is here. The infamous Oculus Rift is hitting shelves in the spring of

2016, but the market is already flooded with similar headsets, each one sporting the same ski

mask look. One charmer is a cardboard box fitted with lenses with a slot to slip a smartphone

into. It’s a $20 cardboard box and it holds the power to seal in the 4th wall of entertainment once

and for all.

There are already online casinos out there which are set up for virtual reality. The Occulus Rift

may have red-lined pornography, but gambling is still running strong and showing no signs of

stopping. The question is whether virtual reality gambling will live up to the hopes of all the

gamblers out there.

Land-based gambling has always had some perks that, despite its own advantages, online

gambling could not hold a candle to. For one, gambling in a real-life casino lets people meet up

with friends and even meet other people. Could this happen in virtual reality? The quick answer

is not yet. Even if a casino was recreated for virtual reality complete with a server for multiple

people to log in and play together, this virtual casino would need to be populated with tons of

players. Each of these players would need an avatar inside the casino, and every little movement

the players made would need to be rendered. The processing power just isn’t there to support a

virtual casino as large and busy as the casinos out in the real world.

While technology catches up with the casino dream, players can enjoy a mostly realistic

experience at a gambling table. A croupier, real or virtual, can stand on the other side of the table

leading the game. The players can look around, see other players and what they’re up to, and

watch the game as it progresses. All of this is possible. The only problem is the dreaded uncanny

valley, the place in which game characters look almost real but not quite real enough. The

uncanny valley can be avoided by making characters look fake (like bobble-headed cartoon

characters or talking animals), but it cannot be overcome. The people inside the gambling

simulation can either look like Muppets or very, very creepy people.

Even if it’s not all there yet, virtual reality is an exciting change to online gambling. The

headsets coming out this year and the next create a more immersive, more enjoyable experience

because they bring players closer to the action. The virtual reality dream may be out of reach for

now, but good things are brewing behind online casino doors.

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Why do Online Casinos Give Bonuses

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When it comes down to it, online casino bonuses are free money for players. How can casinos

afford these bonuses? Why don’t land-based casinos have the same reward systems? Find out

why online casinos can afford to offer such great prizes, and why it is such a good deal for them

to keep providing these bonuses.

From online casinos to mobile apps, computerized gambling sources are saturated with ads for

free money. Some generous casinos such as Silver Oak offer more than five times the amount when the user

deposits as a bonus. Other incredible deals like the deposit bonus of $777 at Royal Ace give

players a large chunk of money, larger than seems possible.

How can online casinos afford to offer such tremendous bonuses? The bonus is the hook that

gets players turning to that casino and no other. When people get a nice bonus when they first try

out a casino, they come back to that casino again and again for more good deals.

Another factor is players aren’t always getting as much as they think they are. No-deposit

bonuses that seem like just a pile of cash actually require several rounds of betting before the

money sees the light of day. Say the casino only offers a $20 bonus, the player has to bet that $20

thirty times before finally being able to withdraw it. Huge wins do happen, but the most likely

scenario is the player bets away a portion of the $20 before being able to withdraw. For example,

if a player chooses to place just safe roulette bets like odd, even, black, or red, they will lose

about 3% of the bonus every time they bet and end up with around $8.50 at the end. The player is

still going home with free money, but the casino is willing to take the chance that most players

will keep playing.

What about the extravagant and expensive bonuses of hundreds of dollars? How do casinos

afford these. There is a good chance the explanation falls under advertising. Some online

casinos, especially mobile games, display video ads between games. These ads are usually not

the big money-makers for a casino, but they don’t hurt either. Whenever an online casino can

afford to offer a worthwhile bonus with no strings attached, they are likely sealing the gap with

these advertisements.

A third and trickier reason that casinos can afford the bonuses they do is how easy they make it

to break the terms. Each bonus only works if the player follows the rules, from how they qualify

for the bonus to how they withdraw it. Every game has its rules, and breaking these rules means

the bonus never reaches the player. Casinos count on a certain percentage of players breaking the

agreement, so this is something to watch out for.

The most important use for large online casino bonuses is competition. In land-based gambling,

there is hardly any competition. Casinos are few and far between except in gambling-dense cities

like Las Vegas. Online, players can go to whichever casino they wish at any time, so online

casinos do what they have to: offer the players a prize for picking them out. Competition is fierce

between online casinos, and it’s a good thing, too. The biggest bonus gets the most customers, so

there are dozens of amazing deals out there.