Mobile Gaming Taking Online Gambling To New Heights

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Mobile-Casino
Gamble On The Go

If you’re reading this post, there’s a good chance you’re doing so on your smartphone.

While many project what the future of online gambling well hold, it’s becoming more and more clear that mobile gaming is not only a big part of the future, it’s officially become a staple of the present. More prevalent Wi-Fi spots all over the country, better mobile devices, and online casinos becoming more mobile friendly have all helped usher in a new, on the go era of online gambling.

Sports gambling was one of the first aspects to go mobile as people live bet games from their phone and are able to wager in real time. Over the past few years, as more people rely on their phones for everything, players have taken to their phones and tablets to play a hand poker, double down on blackjack, or play the wheel of chance. If you do everything else on your phone, why wouldn’t you gamble on it as well?

While the future may be now for online gambling, there are still some growing pains and adjustments that need to be made by both parties involved in order to create an ideal gaming environment. For casinos, trying to create the same experience on a mobile device as the user gets on their desktop computer can be tricky. In turn, the user must be willing to make some concessions or get used to the fact that they have to adjust to playing on a new device.

We’ve already seen many casinos offer exclusive deals to mobile players as they try and double up with a single user. If they can get a player who’s willing to play both on their desktop and their smartphone, they’ve essentially doubled the amount of time the user will play, and in turn, perhaps doubled their opportunity to make money.

80% of adults own a smartphone and that number expects to increase in the coming years. By the end of 2018, mobile gaming is expected to make up 40% of the online gaming industry – an industry that’s projected to be worth over $100 billion by that same time.

Mobile phones have revolutionized our daily lives and now they’ve revolutionized our industry. With more and more online casinos shifting their focus towards mobile gaming, we may see an even bigger shift in the online gambling landscape over the next few years.

5 Things Most People Don’t Know About Blackjack

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Dealer's Hands

1. Betting Smart

It is possible to double up a blackjack bet after the first two cards have been laid out. It’s simple:

If the starting total looks promising, the player can set down a second set of chips equal to the

first right next to the original pile. The rules vary from place to place, but some dealers only let

players do this when the value of the starting cards adds up to 10 or 11. This means the player

would need to pull a face card or a 10 to win.

2. Counting Draws

When the technique was first studied, counting cards was much more potent than it is today. The

reason is simple: the casinos adapted. Before the 1960’s, dealers only used one deck of cards and

weren’t too concerned about shuffling. These days, a dealer may shuffle together as many as 6

decks, maybe more. It’s pretty hard to count cards when there’s 252 of them. Experts calculate

that successfully counting cards results in a house advantage of about 1%. At least it’s better than

the slots.

3. The Disappearing Deck

Some casino dealers have turned security up a notch and taken random cards out of the pile. This

makes the card-counting challenge extra spicy. Who knows what else dealers have up their

sleeve.

4. The White Flag

In some casinos, the player is allowed to surrender and only lose half the original bet. This is

only allowed under specific circumstances, such as if the dealer pulls an ace as their starting

card. The rules vary on whether the dealer can allow surrender before or after checking if they

have a face card to follow up with it, so it’s a good idea to ask about the rule ahead of time. Not

all casinos offer surrender as an option, but the ones that do offer a bit more of an advantage to

the players.

5. Bittersweet Victory

Most casinos offer a 3 to 2 return on a blackjack win. Any less than this is a rip-off, but

unfortunately not an uncommon one. The Las Vegas Strip in particular has taken to paying only

a 5 to 6 return, meaning a $5 bet will only see a $6 win, or a $1 profit. This unwieldy price can

be avoided, though. Less popular casinos are almost guaranteed to offer a 3 to 2 return.

The Best Blackjack Card Counters of All Time

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1. Edward Thorp

If it weren’t for Edward Thorp, the world may not have even known about the phenomenon of counting cards. Although limited to 1960’s technology, Thorp took what he knew about counting cards and used the developing technology of computers in order to perfect the method. His card-counting skills got him banned from casinos in Las Vegas and Reno. After his money-growing stunts gathered attention, Thorp published his book, Beat the Dealer, which explains the best method of counting cards in order to win at Blackjack.

2. The Four Horsemen

Despite popular opinion, Edward Thorp did not invent counting cards, though he did perfect it with the help of computer technology. The proof lies within a book published in 1957, five years before Edward Thorp’s Beat the Dealer. This book is called Playing Blackjack to Win, and it was written by four mathematicians: Roger Baldwin, Herbert Maisel, James McDermott and Wilbert Cantey. This group’s system of counting cards is not as thoroughly honed as Edward Thorp’s, but it was designed without the help of computers.

3. Ken Uston

There have been many card counters since the method became known mainstream in 1962, but Ken Uston had a heavy hand in changing how casinos worldwide handle card counters. After being banned from casino after casino for the same set of tricks, Uston decided to retaliate. He successfully sued an Atlantic City casino for banning him. After all, he was just using his skills, not cheating at cards. To this day, Atlantic City casinos are not allowed to ban players for counting cards. On top of this, casinos all around the world have adopted using multiple card decks and shuffling often so that card counters do not bring down the business.
4. Keith Taft

With all of the extra card decks and near-constant shuffling, counting cards became much harder by the time Keith Taft came into the picture in 1970. To overcome this problem, Taft designed a portable computer that keeps track of cards as they are used. Because no one had tried it before, there were no casino rules against using such technology, but the casinos still wouldn’t let him come in with it, but he managed to find a way to smuggle the computer in and make money.

5. Tommy Hyland

Why play by yourself when so much more can be gained by teaming up? Tommy Hyland did just that when he brought together a group of card-counting blackjack players and set to work making a fortune. It’s unknown how much money the team has accrued, but Hyland claims the group jumped from $4,000 to $60,000 in the first month.

The Best and Worst Casino Game Odds

Posted by & filed under blackjack, bonus rounds, casino, Craps, Entertainment, Roulette, slots.

craps

The fun in gambling has never been in the statistics. If you enjoy gambling and have found a way to keep it balanced, whether it’s blackjack or slots or anything in between, don’t let the numbers tell you off. The statistics are just that: the odds set up to ensure the money moves from the players to the house. If you still want to keep reading, here are the facts.

The Best:

Roulette

By betting exclusively on either reds or blacks, players secure an almost 50/50 chance of winning. That means that for every time they win a game, they lose another. American Roulette tables have two green squares, however, meaning the odds are just slightly worse than one in two.

The main problem with playing Roulette this way is that it can be slow and tedious. The odds of having a specific number rolled are slim, but a 36 to 1 win is far more exciting than continuously breaking even.

Blackjack

Unlike Poker, Blackjack has a fairly simple set of rules, and the only person players need to worry about is the dealer. Most players will win at least 4 in 10 games, but not even counting cards will bring the odds of winning above 50%.

Craps

Normally, playing craps results in fairly poor odds, but there is a way to break even. This is done by layering bets. When players places multiple bets on the same number, (up to 10 is allowed), the dealer awards winning based on the exact odds of that win occurring. If a gambler places ten times odds on one number and plays for an eternity, they will walk out with the same amount they started with. Any other setup, and they will lose in the long run.

I recommend learning craps here. You can do so for free and learn the ins and outs and test every option.

The Worst:

Slots

Slot machines and Wheel of Fortune provide many things: flashing lights, buzzing noises, and the cheerful clatter of spinning dials. What they do not provide is any decent chance of winning. The absolute worst odds come from penny slots. For devoted slot machine users, the best odds come from the maximum bet on the most expensive slots, but winning is most likely not on the menu.

Keno

If it’s even possible, there is a way to gamble which promises to waste even more money than slot machines. The name of the game is keno. Instead of winning one and losing one, for every game a gambler wins, they will lose more than two. If anyone is getting rich playing this game, it’s the dealer.

There you have it, the best and worst odds for casino gambling. The short version of the story is, is if you play, play for fun.

Why You Should Be Playing Blackjack

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Image via Flickr by Images_of_Money

 

If you’re interested in playing card games, blackjack is a good place to start. It will teach you the fundamentals of placing bets, making decisions, and following rules. Here are five more reasons that you should be playing blackjack.

1. The Rules Are Simple

Blackjack has some of the simplest rules of any casino card game. You can play the game fairly well just by knowing that you want your cards to equal a number close to 21 without going over 21.

Even the more advanced rules are straightforward. Each player gets dealt one card face down and one card face up. If the player has a pair, he or she can split it into two hands. Players can decide to take extra cards from the dealer, or stick with what they have. Perhaps most importantly, players aren’t competing with each other. They just need to beat the dealer.

2. Blackjack is a Fast Game

Since blackjack involves so few cards, you can play hands quickly. This makes it a good training tool for other games. A hand of poker can take half an hour or more. By the time you reach the end, you’ve probably forgotten how the hand started. With blackjack, the game is over within a few minutes.

3. Blackjack Teaches the Fundamentals of Decision-Making

Gambling involves luck. Even experts lose hands because they catch a bad break. However, card games do involve some level of skill. Knowing how to make decisions based on odds will benefit you in blackjack and other games.

You don’t have to fully understand the math behind blackjack to know what action you should take when you and the dealer have certain cards. Plenty of card sharks have already worked that out for you.

For instance, if your hand totals eight, then you should always take another card. If your hand totals 17, you should never take another card. You can use this chart to help you decide when to hit, stand, or double down.

4. Many Blackjack Tables Have Low Limits

Beginning gamblers should take caution when playing with real money. It’s best to start out with small bets before moving on to bigger games with higher stakes.

Most casinos have blackjack tables where you can play for as little as $3 per hand. This low buy in gives you a chance to gain experience without losing your whole bankroll. It also gives you a chance to observe other people and learn the casino’s etiquette. It’s better to embarrass yourself at a $3 table than a $50 table.

5. Blackjack is Easy to Play Online

Blackjack is a game between the player and the dealer. That makes it easy for gamblers who have never played at online casinos. Once you get used to playing this simple game online, you will feel more comfortable participating in multi-player games like poker.

Many gamblers will simply tell you to play blackjack because it’s fun. Well, that’s certainly true but there are other reasons to play as well. Why are you interested in blackjack? Is there something special about it that you don’t get from other games?

4 Black Jack Tips the Pros Don’t Want You to Know

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Image via Flickr by colleensullivan93

 

When it comes to playing Black Jack, most people think they only need a working knowledge of the basics in order to play. Unfortunately, there are many factors that go into a proper round, and if you don’t know them, you might be left in the dust. Here are a few tips the pros don’t want you to know about playing Black Jack

Pick the Right Seat

You might not think that where you sit is a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but it can actually play a big part in your success during the game. By sitting in the end seat, on the far right of the dealer, you’re basically only playing against the dealer with less interference from other players.

The fewer contributing factors during your game, the better your chances of winning. So when deciding on a table, add this to the list of things to be on the lookout for.

Save Your Winnings

Anyone who has played Black Jack knows how engrossed you can get once you hit a winning streak. But don’t let the high of being on top cause you to make short-sighted choices. You should have a spending limit when you start a game, anything you make over that amount, cash it out and don’t touch it.

This approach will limit how much you’ll lose, and you’ll walk away a winner every time.

Know What Game You’re Playing

There are a lot of variations in the game and each table may be operating under different rules and limits. When deciding on a table, make sure you know a few things before sitting down.

First, make sure you’re at a standard Black Jack table, and know what the maximum and minimum required bets are for each hand. This will save you money and embarrassment when the game starts. You should also be aware of in-game rules like which cards you can split and double down. You should also know if you’re able to surrender during the game

The more information you have going in to a game, the better you will be at making decisions during the game.

Find a Good Dealer

If you’re playing in a brick-and-mortar casino, choosing a good dealer can have a big effect on your game. They should be welcoming and friendly, and make your game an enjoyable experience. If you don’t get along with your dealer, this can affect your attitude and decision making during the game, and lead you to make poor choices.

If you find that playing with a real dealer isn’t ideal for you, online Black Jack is a great alternative. You still get the rush of the game and all the subtle nuances that make it so thrilling, without having to tip or make small talk.

Black Jack may seem like a simple game, and even though you know the basics, there’s always something left to learn. Do yourself a favor before your next game and keep these handy tips in mind. What are some of your tips for playing a good hand of Black Jack?

Understanding Black Jack

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Image via Flickr by Travis Isaacs

 

Black Jack looks like a simple game with simple rules. Once you get involved, though, you might find that other players use terms you haven’t heard before. This list of Black Jack terms should help you understand the game so you can keep up with everyone else.

Advantage Player – A player who uses mathematical strategies to gain an advantage over the house. This requires exceptional skill. Most casinos ban advantage players because they are “cheating.”

 

Image via Flickr by Travis Isaacs

Ante – A bet required of all players to enter the game.

Bankroll – The amount of money that a person has to bet. It could refer to the total amount, including any money currently involved in a wager, or the amount of money the player still has to bet with.

Black Jack – The highest hand in the game: an ace paired with a 10, jack, queen, or king.

Burn Card – A card that gets pulled from the deck to help prevent cheating. It’s usually the first card of a deck after it has been shuffled and cut. Some casinos also burn a card each time a new dealer takes over a table.

Bust – Going over 21. The person who busts automatically loses the game.

Bust Card – The card that causes a dealer or player to exceed 21.

Double Down – This is when a player doubles her original bet to get another card. In certain circumstances, it’s a smart move that can double a player’s winnings.

Edge – Also known as the House Edge. It’s the statistical advantage that dealers, or the house, has over the players.

First Base – The player sitting at the dealer’s left. She receives cards first.

Hit – Means that you want another card.

Insurance – A betting strategy where players will wager money that the dealer has a Black Jack.

Last Base – The person sitting to the dealer’s right. She always receives cards last. Last Base is also called the Anchor.

Pat – A hand with at least 17 points. It could potentially win the game, but taking another card will almost certainly lead to a bust.

Push – When the dealer and a player have the same points. In this case, the player does not win any money, but she does get to keep her bet.

Stand – When a player wants to keep her cards without receiving any additional cards.

Split – When a player is dealt a pair. She can choose to split the cards into two separate hands, but she must place another wager to do so. Most experts advise that players always split when they can.

Stiff – A difficult hand that cannot win without another card but will likely bust if another card is added. For instance, a player with a 9 and 6 has 15 points in her hand. This almost certainly cannot win the game. Any card valued over 6 points, however, will put the hand over 21 points.

Have you heard other Black Jack terms that aren’t listed here? Ask about them and a more experienced player will certainly help you understand the term better.

Become Bilingual: Learn the Language of Blackjack

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Image via Flickr by Aaron Jacobs

Ready to learn the exciting game of blackjack? Just like any game, before you can learn the rules, you have to understand the terminology. Here’s a quick primer to words you’ll hear when you sit down at the blackjack table.

Hit and Stand

These two words are used as you are building your blackjack hand. When you say, “hit,” you are asking the dealer for another card. On the other hand, “stand” means that you are satisfied with the cards you are holding. Players usually stand on a hand totaling 17 or more.

Double/Double Down

After you place your initial bet, the casino may let you double it after you’ve received your first two cards. Doubling down is a great way to increase your winnings if you’re holding a favorable hand. It’s a good idea to consider the dealer’s up card before doubling your bet, however. Most casinos have very clear rules about when and/or which two cards players may double down.

Split/Splitting

When you are dealt a pair in your original hand, you can split them, and play them as two separate hands. Splitting automatically doubles your bet, of course, but it also gives you an extra chance to beat the dealer. As a general rule, you should always split pairs of aces and eights.; these two cards have a higher probability of becoming winning hands.

Insurance

When the dealer’s face up card is an ace, most casinos let players place an even-money bet equal to half of the initial bet that the dealer will get blackjack. The insurance bet seems like a good idea, but in practice, it’s not really a good idea. You still have to play your hand and initial bet, and if the dealer doesn’t get blackjack, you risk losing twice. Experienced blackjack players rarely place insurance bets.

Hard Hand/Soft Hand

A hand is considered soft or hard based on whether or not it contains an ace. A hand with an ace is considered soft, because the ace can be counted as either 11 or one. A hard hand is not as flexible as a soft hand because the card total is fixed. A player with a soft hand has more options to get to 21.

Surrender and Bust

Both of these terms mean you’re out of the game. A player surrenders when he doesn’t like the cards in his hands. A player who surrenders loses only half of his bet. Surrendering is a good decision in certain cases, but many novice players surrender far too often. A player goes bust when a hit pushes his card total over 21. The entire bet is lost when you go bust.

Cashing In

This is one of the most important words to learn and remember when playing blackjack. When a player cashes in, he exchanges his chips for cash, and ends his play. Successful blackjack players set limits for themselves about the amount of money they will risk at any session, and when they will cash in their winnings.

Now that you know the language of blackjack, learning the rules are a snap. With a little practice, you’ll play like a pro.

Living the Dream: A Retrospective of the MIT Blackjack Team

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Image via Flickr by acaben

If you saw the movie “21,” you know it’s based on the true story of MIT’s legendary group of card-counting blackjack players. Like all “true story” films, many of the events in the movie version were added as plot devices, but several of the scenes actually happened. Here’s the real story of the MIT players.

Counting Cards

The MIT blackjack team was made up of a group of math whizzes who realized that they could beat the house at blackjack if they could find a way to accurately count cards. Card counting, which refers to keeping track of which cards have been played and which cards remain in the shoe, is not technically illegal. It is, however, considered cheating, an activity that gets players banned from the casinos. So the challenge for the MIT team was to find a way to accurately count cards and discreetly signal the actual players when to bet big.

How They Did It

Bill Kaplan, the Harvard Business School graduate and legendary blackjack champion, recruited players from MIT for his intensive blackjack training program. Training consisted of learning how to count eight-deck shoes with near-perfect play. Members could be spotters (card counters) or big bettors at the blackjack tables, so the team also had to learn a constantly changing set of code words that signaled when high cards were coming up, how “hot” the cards were so the player could bet appropriately, and when the shoe was played out and the bettor should move to another table.
A three-member team played at a table: a spotter, a controller, and a big bettor. The spotter counted cards, and the controller consistently placed small bets, wasting money and verifying the spotter’s card count. When the controller verified a positive card, he signaled the big bettor, who would place a huge bet and win big. This team approach gave the MIT players a two to four percent edge over the house.

How Successful Were They?

Kaplan ran the team like a business, and his first investor offering yielded an $89,000 stake. In his “prospectus” to investors, he expected players to win $170 per hour of play, which would be split equally between the player and investor. After his first 10 week run, players averaged about $165 per hour of play, which worked out to $80 per hour for the players and a return on investment of over 250 percent.

Throughout the 80s and 90s, the team, which at some points numbered 80 players, won millions and millions of dollars for its members and investors, with earnings often exceeding $400,000 on a single Vegas trip.

Where Are They Now?

Of the team members portrayed in the film, Jeff Ma went on to start a number of successful tech startups. Jane Willis studied law, and is a partner at the prestigious Boston firm Ropes & Gray. Mike Aponte won the 2004 Blackjack World Series, and then founded the Blackjack Institute. John Chang is still playing blackjack, although he has to remain heavily disguised in Vegas. Bill Kaplan, the man who started it all, retired from blackjack and founded a successful email marketing company.

Although these players won big with card counting, there are plenty of other ways to increase your earnings at the casino. Do you have a favorite game to win big on? Leave a comment below.

5 Ways to Beat the Dealer in Blackjack

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Image via Flickr by acaben

Are you looking to take your Blackjack skills to the next level? Try these sure-fire ways of getting the upper hand on any dealer.

1. Learn Some Basic Card Counting Skills (These are Super Easy)

You don’t have to be a Mensa to learn some simple card counting methods. The first is called Ace/Five. Begin at zero. Add one for every five card dealt, and subtract one for every Ace dealt. If your count is above two, double your previous bet. If it is below two, bet the minimum.
The other method is called Hi/Low, and is slightly more complicated. Start at zero. For every card dealt between 2-6, add one point. Subtract one point for every card dealt between 10 and Ace. Count nothing for numbers in between. The higher the count, the more confident you can be placing higher bets.

2. Learn a Few Simple Dealer Tells (Yes, These Exist Even in Casinos)

Casinos train dealers not to exhibit tells, and since the dealer has no financial interest in winning or losing, you can’t depend on the same tells in Blackjack that you can when playing other people. However, there is one fact that remains consistent, even among the most experienced dealers. It’s harder to read smaller number cards 2 through 6, and easier to read 7s through face cards, so dealers raise the cards just a bit higher and glance just a bit longer at the lower cards. Learn to read this tell, and it helps your win percentages measurably.

3. Learn When to Hit and When to Stand (These Simple Rules Can Save You Big Time)

There are two types of hands in Blackjack: hard hands and soft hands. A hard hand is one with no Ace, or an Ace that must count as 1. A soft hand is one with an Ace that can count as 11.

When you have a hard hand, follow these rules:

  • If holding a 5-8, hit against any card the dealer shows.
  • If holding 9, double your bet against a dealer’s 2 through 6. Hit if he’s showing 7 through Ace.
  • If holding 10, double your bet against a dealer’s 2 through 9.
  • If holding 11, double your bet against the dealer showing 2 through 10.
  • If holding 12-16, hit against the dealer showing 7 through Ace. Stand if he’s showing anything else.
  • If holding 17-21, stand every time.

When you’re holding a soft hand, follow these rules:

  • If holding 13-15, always hit.
  • If holding 16 or 17, double your bet against the dealer showing 2 through 6. If he’s showing anything else, hit.
  • If holding 18, double your bet against the dealer showing 2 through 6. Stand if he’s showing 7 through 10 or Ace.
  • If holding 19-21, always stand.

4. Learn When to Split Your Hands (Yes, There are Tried and True Methods)

Splitting your hands increases the chances of winning, if you know the right splitting techniques.

  • Always split 8s and Aces.
  • Never split 4s, 5s, or 10s.
  • Split 2s, 3s, and 7s if the dealer shows 2 through 7.
  • Split 9s if the dealer shows 2 through 6, 8, or 9.

A friendly hand is always a better hand. Be nice to your fellow players and to the dealer. An easygoing temper might not give you winning hands, but it will allow you to have a better round, and is less likely to get you kicked out when you are beating the house.