Blackjack baby! I love this game. Most players I've come across are only familiar with the general variety played. But, that's not all there is. Blackjack is a diverse game with a rich history. As such, they are different variations of the game-even if subtle ones.
Before playing any game of Blackjack (or any casino game) it's important to know the rules and the payouts. Nothing could be worse than having a huge bet out there and being told that you can't do something, like split Aces and hit. That's the pits. Know the game before you play. Ask if you must. Online Blackjack is easier, because all the rules are usually just a click away. And the rules are vital if you plan on playing some sort of system. Not all systems are universal.
One variation of Blackjack is European Blackjack. It's played with two decks. Unlike some places on the Las Vegas Strip (unless they offer this variation), the dealer must stand on a soft 17. Oh, and here's a big difference. You can only double down on 9 and 11. That's right. So, if you have an Ace and an 8 with the dealer showing a 6, you can't double.
For most people, this limitation is no big deal. But, it can be tough to swallow for the more aggressive player. Another aggressive player killer is the fact that you can't double down after a split no matter what. In this version of Blackjack, the house has a 0.39% advantage.
Moving on, we come to Atlantic City Blackjack. This version of Blackjack is always played with eight decks via a shoe. As with Euro Blackjack, the dealer must stand on soft 17. And that's how Downtown Las Vegas plays it too. Splitting is allowed, but only up to three hands. And you can double on the first two cards after splitting too.
Another interesting option is late surrender, which is allowed in the Atlantic City version. The house advantage is slightly lower at 0.35%.
And that brings us to Double Exposure Blackjack, which is a crowd favorite-at least at first. You can see both dealer cards. Easy win right? Not so fast. The dealer wins all ties. Yep, no pushes, you just lose. It's the price to pay for knowing what the dealer has.
Another feature that I don't personally like is Blackjack payouts only paying even money. There's no bonus at all, which kind of ruins the game for me. The game is played with a shoe that holds 8 decks and the dealer hits on soft 17.
Even though the dealer shows both cards, the house advantage nearly doubles the previous two versions we talked about. It's 0.69%.
The Famous People In Gambling
Gambling is a recreational activity prevalent in society today. Young and old alike, people are getting hooked to what today's society calls as the game of the lucky ones.
Generally, gambling refers to any form of activities that involves taking the risk of betting the money or any kind of tangible items of value, which sometimes depend on chance or the skill of somebody to manipulate the game.
Since its inception, the profitability that gambling can offer to an individual is endless. That is why gambling had continuously dominated the world of chances.
However, even if gambling like blackjack, poker, and slot machines are so popular these days, people still don't have any idea how it started and who started it.
Here's a list of the people who, in some way or another, contributed to the development of gambling.
1. The first ever slot machine, known as the Liberty Bell, was invented by Charles Fey in 1985. Fey was a car mechanic in San Francisco when he thought of inventing the Liberty Bell.
The first form of slot machine was made of three spinning wheels that had three featured shapes: spades, diamonds, and hearts plus a "cracked" Liberty Bell drawn at each reel.
It was on 1907 when an arcade-like machine maker based in Chicago had thought of reproducing machines similar to that of Fey's. The manufacturer was named Henry Stephen Mills. The machine was called Operator Bell.
It was from this point that the slot machines have evolved until today's form.
2. In card games such as blackjack, nobody can ever tell how the game started and who started it. This is because nobody tried to record it for the purpose of history.
However, there were people who conceptualized the basic strategy for playing blackjack.
It was in 1958 when Cantey, McDermott, Maisel and Baldwin had devised a strategy that caused such commotion with both the statisticians and the gamblers themselves.
These four people have created the basic strategy in playing the game all using their hand calculators. After which, they created a book known as "Winning Blackjack," which is now considered as one of the most valuable strategies in playing blackjack.
In turn, this gave birth to what modern gambling now calls as the "card counting techniques."
These are the people who have made the gambling world truly a phenomenon. Though, there are people who do not accept them as great inventors because of the negative effects of gambling in the society today. Nevertheless, they have contributed a lot in gambling.
Free Casino Chips And Honest Online Casinos
An understanding of the relevance of free casino chips must be put into its proper context: are the offers of the free chips coming from honest online casinos?
The first online casinos opened 10 years ago, and now there are hundreds that can be found online. Estimates vary as to the number of people who gamble online, but recent estimates suggest that a figure of around seven million worldwide would not be too far out. Taking that into account, and with a further estimate of more than $12 billion spent in online casinos alone (not including physical land-based casinos), offers of free casino chips may understandably be seen as something of a drop in the ocean.
Add to that the question of whether or not these free chips are being offered by honest online casinos, and we enter an area worth some study or serious research.
Firstly, let us consider what these free casino chips are really worth to the individual online casino player. Free casino chips are of four main types:
No Deposit Bonus. This is simply free money. Honest online casinos will offer free casino chips with no strings attached, simply to attract people to play at their virtual tables. There will sometimes be minor strings attached. For example, the casino may ask for credit card details up front. Always read the terms.
Matching Deposit Bonus. This is where the house will match your deposit. Often this is done in multiples. For example, a 200% bonus will mean that if you were to deposit $100 then the casino would add $200 in free casino chips to your account. Very nice! Especially useful for new players starting out.
Uncashable Bonus. This is the so-called 'sticky' bonus. This can never be cashed, but its usefulness lies in that fact that it stays in your account and enables you to use the bonus account to 'leverage' higher wagers. These free casino chips stay latent in your account simply to allow you to do things which you otherwise could not.
Loyalty Bonus. This is exactly as it sounds. All honest online casinos, and offline ones too, want to keep hold of their good returning customers, and will offer loyalty bonuses, including free casino chips, as a result.
Remember that online casinos can afford to do this because they simply do not have the overhead that their brick and mortar land-based counterparts have. Equally, there is no excuse for an online casino NOT to be honest for exactly the same reason. They can offer free casino chips AND be an honest online casino in circumstances where their physical equivalents would find the financial burden impossible.
So how do we go about identifying which are the honest online casinos and which are not? Well, a lot has changed since the earliest online casinos set up shop in their offshore locations in 1996. Self-regulation (at best dubious) led to accreditation of bodies like ECOGRA (E-Commerce Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance). Look out also for evidence of good customer care, positive feedback from online casino forum members and decent helpline facilities. The more honest online casinos will offer (will actively boast) 24 hour live chat and live email support as well as toll-free telephone help. Does it have a mailing list you can join to keep in contact with the latest tournaments and special offers? Trust lies at the heart of any subscription process (or people would not subscribe) so that in itself is a good indicator of an honest online casino.
Transparency of accounting systems is another good indicator of honest online casinos. When testimonials are published make sure that it is from more than a set of initials, and make sure they have a state or country. Free casino chips may be 'virtual' in concept, but they are used by real people!
But the best indicator of an honest online casino is by personal recommendation. This also includes affiliation of such casinos into trusted casino websites and portals. If an offer of free casino chips is made by an online casino on such a site then it can probably be trusted.
Choosing Best Online Casino Is Difficult But Rewarding
There's nothing easier than choosing a place to gamble, you say. I mean, googling 'online casino', clicking on a link, downloading software and depositing money via VISA or Neteller is a pretty simple task to do. Finding a decent online casino is piece of cake, you think. Well, you had better think again.
Let's assume that online casino is a product and you want to buy it. So, what do you do? You will go out there and do some researching (maybe it is one of the reasons you are reading this article here, mate?), you compare the prizes, you may even try some of them out and register play money account.
Some casinos offer free casino cash (or no deposit bonuses, as some say) for new players, so they could try the casino out. I recommend you to watch out with that kind of bonuses. Those offers exist only because there are plenty of players who come back for more after they have spent their bonus money.
After you have selected best prizes - I assume that your choice was affected by the number of sign-up bonus percentage and by the payout rate - you have the most difficult task waiting for you. You have to find out which one of these online casinos is the most reputable one. I mean, 99% of online casinos is operated by offshore companies which means that if one of them rips you off, there's almost nothing you can do about it. Except crying in watchdog forums and hoping for a miracle.
Did I mention online casino watchdogs? Yes, there are plenty of them out there and all of them have online casino blacklists. If you go through some of them, you pretty soon notice some kind of a pattern there...
If you are looking for extra safety and guarantees, you should keep reading. Some online casino webmasters (I am one of them) offer their visitors extra guarantee - if player decides to choose online casino through their site, gambles there, wins some, but online casinos refuses to pay them - these webmasters guarantee to pay back player's last deposit from their own pocket. Of course, there is an exception, if webmaster finds out if the player has cheated. Believe me, it is a huge extra work for a webmaster to offer this bonus, but is rewarding for all sides of the business.
If you consider yourself high roller, you like to bet big and you play long hours, do not hesitate to contact online casino webmasters, who invited you to play or casino itself, because there is a possibility that you can get extra bonuses and comp points for playing there. If they are not willing to spoil you... well, to hell with them, there are plenty of places who care about you! Good luck!
The Basics Of Blackjack
First starting out in France in the 1700's, blackjack has come along way and is, perhaps, the most popular game of chance. With the advancement of technology, however, blackjack is not only popular in casinos, but online blackjack is one of the most popular forms of online entertainment. The individual that does not play blackjack is often the individual who simply does not know how to play. The fact is blackjack is one of the simplest games to play.
The goal of blackjack is to get the total points of 21 in the hand of cards you are dealt. The most important blackjack rule is to not go over 21 points. If this happens, you bust, or in other words, lose the hand. You must also remember that in this game, unlike many other games, your opponent is not the other players sitting at the table. Your opponent is the dealer and only the dealer.
Play begins with all of the players receiving two cards, both face down. The dealer, of course, deals in clockwise. The dealer then will receive two cards; however, one of the dealers will be dealt face-up. This is called the up card. This blackjack rule will vary according to the amount of decks being used, as well as vary from casino to casino. All of the face cards (Kings, Queens, and Jacks) are worth 10 points, the Ace is worth 1 or 11 points (whichever works best for the player), and all of the remaining cards are worth their face value in points.
In this original hand, if a player receives the first two cards and they are an Ace and either a 10 or a face card, the player automatically wins and the payout is 3 -2. This is called a natural or blackjack. If the dealer has the same hand as the player, however, there is a standoff. If only the dealer gets blackjack, he or she wins all of the player's bets as is.
The following are some blackjack terms you should know when playing the game. Again, it is important to remember that a blackjack rules can vary from casino to casino.
Choosing To Hit or Stand
If you want to get a higher total, you will want to take another card from the dealer. The correct terminology is to hit or draw another card. For example, if you were to receive an original hand of a 4 and a 5, you would have a total of 9. You would want to "hit" the hand and even if you received a face card, you would not go over 21, otherwise called bust.
If on the other hand, both cards you receive are face cards, totally 20, you'll want to "stand" or in other words, not take anymore cards and stick to your original hand. If you take a hit and you bust, your bet is lost.
The dealer, when choosing to hit or stand, has to draw when his cards total is less than 16. The dealer has to stand when he has 17, or more. However, this blackjack rule varies, as in some casinos, the dealer has to draw on a soft 17.
When a players first two cards are a pair, the player has the choice to split them up and have two separate hands. The player will bet the same on each hand and play each separately. If the player has a pair of Aces, after they split the hand, if they get a 10 or face card, it only counts as 21 points, not as blackjack.
With double down, a player has the choice to double his bet on the original hand and take only one more card to improve the original hand.
When the dealer's up car dealt is an Ace, the player has the option to take insurance. This is a bet that is only half of the original bet the player placed. If the dealer gets a blackjack (by having a face card or 10 facing down), the player would win the game with a 2-1 payout. If it is not blackjack, the dealer wins.
While this blackjack rule is not permitted everywhere, the player, when the original hand is dealt, may choose to give up the hand and instead of losing the whole bet, the player would only lose the half of it.
A hard hand is considered a hand without an Ace in it. For example, if you have a hand of a 10 and a 9, your hand is considered to be a hard 19.
A soft hand, on the other hand, is a hand with an Ace. If you have a hand with an Ace and a 9, it is considered to be a soft hand. If you were to draw a 10 in your next card, you still would not go bust. However, your hand would then be considered a hard 20.
When you visit a casino, you'll often find there are many blackjack tables to join. The game of blackjack, due to its popularity, is often the most sought after game, so you'll find more tables of blackjack then any other game in the casino. To help you choose a table to join, you'll often find a sign that states the minimum bet at the table, as well as any variations of a blackjack rule.
When playing blackjack online, the major difference is that you are playing against a virtual dealer. The rules are generally the same as casino blackjack and the cards are dealt using a Random Number Generator to make sure the hands are dealt at random.
The History Of Poker
Poker is a card game with many theories about its history and many debates about its origins. Poker may have been around for more than ten centuries in the form of other card games. It is believed that the word 'poker' was derived from an underworld slang word 'poke' - this was a term used for pickpockets. When card-sharks cheated somebody out of their money they boasted about having 'poked' that person. An 'r' was added to the term 'poke' so that the sharks could refer to what they were doing in front of their victims, who would be none the wiser!
While there seems to be no clear ancestor to the game, for the United States at least, Poker has a definite history. Poker began in New Orleans when the French settlers introduced poque in the 18th century. This was a card game which involved betting and bluffing and there are many game historians who believe that this is where poker originates. There have been many modifications to the game, including 'stud poker', the 'draw' and the 'straight' which became popular during the Civil War. Slowly 'poker', as the game became known, spread to other states via steamboats, wagons and trains.
Poker initially began with a deck of 20 cards, and eventually evolved into a deck of 32 cards. During the 1830s a 52 card deck became the norm. In 1875 the joker was introduced as a wild card. At the end of the Civil War poker reached the towns of the Old West. It wasn't long before they realized that easy money could be made from playing (or perhaps cheating at) poker. Legends were created involving the potent mixture of saloons, poker and guns. Brave gamblers in the old west towns of Dodge City and Deadwood could be found taking their chances with their backs to the walls and their guns at the ready.
By the end of the 19th century, gambling and poker had spread throughout both the United States and the world. American states and cities began to see an opportunity for raising money. They taxed the gambling dens to raise money for their communities.
Nowadays casinos have taken over from the saloons and the game is strictly regulated by gambling laws. It is played more than any other card game in the world and has even become a sporting event, offering very rich pickings for the serious player. Finally, there is no doubt that poker has a rich and interesting history.
How To Spot A Poker Tell
Tells are one of the most important aspects of poker. They are a big part of the game and very important to get clues and hints about the cards that your opponents hold.
A good poker player knows that the amount of money that his opponent bets on has nothing to do with his cards and that in order to evaluate his opponents situation he must spot tells.
A good experienced player can gather lots of information from tells. Tells are signs that reveal information in many different ways, good players know how to spot them and how to use the information that they revealed for their own benefit.
Another important advantage of knowing how to pick up tells is the ability to avoid giving away your own tells. If you know how common players reveal information by tells you can try to look at yourself while playing and to notice what kind of tells you give and by that to learn how to monitor and avoid it.
There are many tells that experienced poker players can read. Tells are very idiosyncratic so in order to know exactly how to read a player's tell you have to play with the specific player for a long time. In the long run you'll realize that you're familiar with your friend's tells and that you can read them like an open book, but if you're playing against new opponents in all sorts of poker rooms, here are some of the things that you should look for.
The first thing that you have to look at is the eyes. If you'll watch professional poker tournaments you'll notice that many poker pros are playing with sunglasses or visors. This is because the eyes can reveal lots of information about one's cards.
Take a good look at your opponent's eyes, learn how he reacts to different situations and you'll now how to read his tells.
You can also learn a lot from the facial expression on your opponents' face. You can tell if a player is nervous or eager if he has specific facial expressions or 'tics' and you can look for specific smiles or concern if the hands are good or bad.
Look for certain body gestures that can hint on a specific hand. Look for signs of anxiety or distress. There are stimulus responses that even the most experienced players cannot hide, so try to look for those physical changes and to study how the other players respond to different situations.
Try to look for eye pupil dilations, signs of dry throat, sweat, trembling hands and flexing of muscles and changes in the body gestures.
Other things that you have to look for are a repetitive glance at the player's chips which might indicate a subconscious reaction to different situations at the poker table. Another thing is that you have to look for is the way the players stack their chips. If you notice a different pattern of stacking it might indicate that the player is under pressure or eager to make his move and win the hand.
There are many different tells that can indicate different reactions to situations at the poker table, but you must remember that you cannot count only on tells and you should use other poker strategies if you want to be a better player. Tells can provide valuable information, but serious players know that this is not enough for the game.
Poker Betting Moves
If a player wants a call, he'll be very careful not to frighten you. In players mind, overly forceful or exaggerated betting moves will make his hand appear strong.
The key to interpreting your opponent's hand by the manner he bets is not so hard. If the move is too dynamic, you should suspect weakness. If it's quiet and smooth suspect strength.
When a player couples his wager with the words, "I' bet," or something similar in an optimistic tone, there's a good chance he is weak or bluffing. If he says nothing his bet is a negative tone, figure him for a strong hand.
In a sense, the whole science of interpreting betting moves run contrary to what you might at first expect. You've already learned that players who are bluffing or weak often try to blend it with tablecloth after betting. Then shouldn't you expect a player who's bluffing to bet in a very sedate manner so as not to call attention to himself.
No. The reason is that bluffers try to disappear only after their bet. At that times they're not required to do anything but sit and wait their fate. While waiting, they try do nothing that might trigger your call. But while betting, they don't have luxury of doing nothing. No matter what they might desire, they know theey're sure to call attention to themselves while placing the bet. Hat's why they revert to trying to disguise their hand and strong when weak.
Betting with extra emphasis is an attempt to appear strong. It means weak. Betting casually is an attempt to appear weak. It mean strong. A casual bet is frequently accompanied by other overt signs of pretended weakness: shrugging,sighing and negative tones of voice.
Mets Yankees Column
At this point in the season, both the New York Yankees and the New York Mets have nearly identical records, but it is the past that makes these two franchises so different.
The eyes of the baseball world will be on the old and decrepit Shea Stadium this weekend. The two New York baseball teams will meet for the first time in 2006 as interleague play begins.
Ever since interleague play was introduced back in 1997, this cross-town match up has been the highlight for New Yorkers and a curiosity for the rest of the baseball world. No city can boast as much passion and emotion for their respective baseball teams as the Big Apple can.
Speaking from the perspective of a Yankees fan, if one was heading to the Sportsbook to make a wager on these games and wanted to pick the team that has proven itself over the years and one that is always in contention for the playoffs, your choice should be the Yankees.
Bronx Bomber fans have always hated the Boston Red Sox, but the hatred of Mets fans is more tempered with a little bit of sadness, as the team has not done anything significant since winning the World Series back in 1969.
Ok, Mets fans -you did make the World Series in 2000, but you lost to the Yankees. Does losing in a World Series really count for anything? Beyond that, the Mets have wandered woefully through many losing seasons and have suffered because of some inept management and decisions at the general manager level.
A good majority of Mets fans will have to agree that New York is a Yankee town, and the back page of the NY rags will attest to that on most days of the baseball season. I will say that I still enjoy that apple that pops up in the outfield at Shea on the occasion of a Mets homerun.
When these two teams hook up in the regular season, it does become a battle of NY. There is a pointed difference in the hatred for our rivals from Boston as compared to the boys from Queens.
In Yankee fans' minds, the Mets do not represent much of a threat to take over the town. They have always been the step-cousin or the out-of-town uncle that comes and goes in your life with little regard paid to them. They are more of a curiosity than a constant threat.
But are things changing for the Metropolitans in 2006? They come into this series with the Yankees standing alone in first place in the National League East with a shiny record and a new team full of big money stars and a renewed sense of pride.
Everything is in place for these two local rivals to heat things up again for the next several years. The Mets have Pedro Martinez, a gentleman Yankees fans will have no problem hating. Plus, the payroll and the superstar quotient of the Mets almost equal that of the Yankees.
The Yanks have a rising star in Robinson Cano, while the Mets can counter with 3B David Wright. Carlos Delgado is the Mets big bopper, while Alex Rodriquez holds that title in the Bronx. Pedro has the scandalous background as does Jason Giambi, and both bullpens feature a large amount of money invested in closers.
This weekend's tilt between the two teams will feature large crowds and will be important for the Mets, much more important than that series with the Atlanta Braves.
The Mets now have a good GM, good personnel, and a couple of players in the farm systems that have the potential to be great, if they are not traded away. They must now consider themselves frontrunners and shed the image of being the second most important team in a baseball-crazy town.
At one point in the winter, the Mets were a 12-1 pick to win the World Series, and now, that has been lowered to 7-1. The gap is closing between the Yankees and Mets, but in the end, it probably will not be enough. The Mets were the hot team last year, but faltered at season's end. The Mets might still be a year or two away in the National League, having to overcome the powerful Cardinals and the flying Phillies.
Either way, the Yankees and owner George Steinbrenner know how important this series and the final set of games back in the Bronx are. It is all about image, and until the Mets can prove year after year that they are contenders and can win down the stretch, New York will always remain a Yankees town.
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